What has been intriguing the last 2 years is the emergence of brands and businesses, with little to no money. Despite this impediment, they have, launched to great success.
By prioritising where their money had to go and utilising the free resources available, they demonstrate, getting through a proof of concept for a brand/business can be very affordable. (Of course, the exception being pharma or anything with a high degree of R&D.)
Therefore, I want to look at the more affordable ways to attract customers by layering your marketing activities.
Traditional marketing mix theory
There are the classic 4 Ps of marketing which have been expanded to the 7 Ps*. As there are plenty of free articles online, I won't go through them. But what is an important theme is the inter-relationship of these. You can't just work on one alone. They have to work in concert with each other.
What social media has done, is helped to conduct this concerto of marketing activities. You can build your layers in a way that can work for you and your brand identity. They can all link together, not always explicitly, but a dotted line at times.
Note: I have left out websites on purpose. Even if you don't sell through one, you should have a digital basecamp. A place to summaries who you are and what you do/sell. Especially if you don't have a physical store. Plus, by owning your domain, someone else can't pretend to be you.
Though there are some businesses that happily don't bother with websites. Due to the fact that a Facebook page or Instagram account suffices. This can be fine as well. It is about finding instruments that work for your opus. OK, enough with the orchestra puns:).
So, lets dive in. The illustration above is a type of cheat sheet, of the various channels to consider layering for your marketing strategy. It might be you pick elements from each groups. Or only feel you want to focus on a couple of groups. But either way, social media will be key.
I'm going to give a high level overview with some examples to consider:
Social Media - being on one platform is often not enough. Each platform has its own pro's and con's.
For example, Twitter can be a toxic. However, there are loads of twitter handle hours. You can be promoted to virtually thousand of people. E.G., #SBS Sunday a UK hashtag run by former Dragon Theo Paphitis.
So, check out the #'s trending on a daily basis and pick out the ones that fit with your brand. It might be that you end up building up your business network.
Pinterest has been quietly driving sales. Plenty of consumers like to plan out their Wishlist's and shopping list via images. So why aren't you getting pinned?
Any of the video platforms, see the greatest click through on unboxing videos.
Finally, even if you decide not to use a channel, do register one, to ensure no one can pretend to be your brand. Also, make sure you are consistent with your handle names.
Influencers - The traditional sales associate has gone online. The vast majority work through affiliate links and paid promotions. But they do need content. So, gifting may be enough to get featured. Try to avoid starting off with paying for promotion. First, offer a gift with an affiliate link to encourage them to drive sales for a commission. Negotiate.
Word of mouth - Don't ignore the power of your customer. Social media has made it far easier for customers to spread good and bad reviews. How you deal with a bad review is as important, as liking and sharing a good review.
Plus, be clear on the tags you want use, so that customers can tag your brand properly. Then like the post and feature in your reels/stories. Customers want to get a like:).
Finally, a mailing list. Keep within GDPR rules. Having a list of customers and followers is a great way to increase your reach. For example, offering a friends and family special offer. That customer could potentially pass to 50 people. I once worked in a company, who's HR department would compile brand codes and circulate to the entire organisation. That was 10k eyeballs monthly!
Packaging - Bringing a little theatre to the buyer's journey is not bad thing. With ever more creative packaging, there are plenty of green options. You want to encourage customers to film unboxings. I had one brand that got 250k views on Tik Tok from one unboxing video. So, think of the ways to keep the engagement, post-sale.
Also, think about the functionality off the packaging to be repurposed. Cloth bags for example, can provide free advertising when popping down to the shops. That is why cosmetic brands give free makeup bags. It is a daily reminder to the customer and their friends will see it when out and about.
Pop-ups - There are a variety of ways to meet your customers. Go to where they frequent. It can be markets, events, festivals, the gym. getting a rail in a shop for a week etc. Talk to your local council, they often have very low-cost pop-up options. Even some corporates like to do truck shops after work for their team members.
Press/media - Paid magazine advertising is the obvious option. But consider gifting to editors. So many publications are now online, they are constantly looking for new products to feature as part of their content.
I have had a few clients get featured for free. Some didn't even have to send a gift. They just sent a strong email. Focus on the story and the benefits of your product(s). Don't email everyone. Target the experts and respected journalist that make sense for your brand.
Try to avoid gifting events to influencers, I hear nothing but negative stories from brands. Put that £600-800 on SEO, Google ads and direct influencer marketing.
Quality Control - the foundation of any great business is a product that people perceive to be worth it's price. Social media has made it far easier to get instant feedback and to act on that quickly.
Some feedback will be spiteful, but engage with customers to find out what they like and dislike. Manage expectations. If the cost of producing in a certain colour is 20% higher, tell customers that. They will soon stop complaining about the colour:) Or will offer to pay more. Be receptive and analysis what is sensible for your business.
Wrapping it up
There is no magic formula to getting the mix right. There will be some experimentation. Your own personality and skill sets will impact on what works. You may need to outsource some activities or get team members to pitch in.
Part of this re-mixing could be the frequency of mailing lists and the type of content changing for example. You may find you are getting far more sales in the USA, so why not amplify your efforts for that market?
Throwing money at adverts can have a very low return on investment. Often resulting in you having to work extra hours in another job to cover the cost. Therefore, weigh up what you can do yourself to help grow organically and build up customer loyalty.
*Product, Price, Place, Promoting, Physical evidence, Process and People - credit E. Jerome McCarthy 1960