Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, UK marketing budgets have been slashed. And who knows when they’ll recover.
According to the IPA Bellwether Report from The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the net balance of marketing budgets in the UK fell to -50.7% in Q2, down from -6.1% in Q1. So, it’s crucial that organisations can still get the word out about their products or services, even if there’s not much in the way of spend.
Let’s look at five simple ways you can still produce valuable marketing materials for your business even on a shoestring.
1. Boost your website traffic with quality content
A great way to generate traffic for your website is by creating quality content. Provide your audience with solid business value in the form of:
- Blog posts
- Industry reports
One of our team wanted to test out whether you can actually start a podcast on a shoestring. So, he tried it. And it wasn’t too bad—no, we’re not posting it here—as experiments go. I mean, as a podcast episode it was obviously dreadful. That’s because he created it in about two hours. The costs were his time (2 hours), a company mic (£80 approx.), sponsorship (£0), script (included in his 2 hours), audio software (£0), podcast platform (£0).
So, for about 80 quid cash, plus a few hours of your employees’ time you can put together a company podcast. And really take it as far as you want (we recommend trying to make it good).
Recommending social media is the most obvious move in the world. Especially since you are (you reading this) most likely in marketing. So, ‘choose social’ seems pretty redundant. Instead, how about truly focusing on your best channel?
Firstly, do you know which one that is? Understand what channel meets your objectives, and with your reduced budgets or personnel, develop a clear focus on really building and engaging on this one channel. Understand the strengths you are bringing to this medium and really try and understand what your audience is looking for.
3. Land a guest spot on a popular website
Guest-blogging is another great way of generating website traffic. Inbound and outbound links can help build your authority as you begin to work on your digital presence.
Now is the time to create content partnerships with reputable brands. Not only a great way of generating domain authority for your website but appearing on guest blogs will expose your content to a wider audience—which can only be beneficial. (See, we follow our own advice)
4. Revive old content
Although we’re talking about creating content, don’t assume you’ve got a lot of writing to do. Updating older content doesn’t take a lot of time and it can contribute a lot to your SEO ranking: people are more inclined to read blogs that have been posted in the current year, so even just casting a quick glance over a past blog piece and changing the date posted can help revive a post (even if that does seem a bit lazy).
You’ve also got a great opportunity to update and optimise your keywords when you review old content. Plus, the details might have changed! We’re in a dynamic world of high-flying business, aren’t we?
When you’re creating your content schedule, you should always include plenty of ‘how-to’ guides and other evergreen content. You’ll see the most return on content you can update and repost regularly. But that’s not to say you can’t update content about a specific event or time in your lives—the sweet allure of nostalgia, anybody? Here’s something of a cheat: just changing a post to the past tense and summing up a list of what you learned can make it suitable to repost (sounds easy).
5. Reconnect with your customers and leads
Email campaigns are one of the key tools in a marketer’s arsenal. If you send a personalised email at the right time to the right person, you’ve got an excellent chance of converting a lead into a customer. Not only that, but you already have a list of customers you know you’ve had success with previously waiting in your email management tool. Don’t let them go to waste!
Make sure to also look for opportunities to tie your content and your current email list together. Creating topical content that addresses the current conversation (whether it’s your industry or a broader topic, like COVID-19…gross) is important to show you’re a business with its finger on the pulse and that your content isn’t just pumped out by robots.
- Is there an annual event that’s coming up you’re attending or can comment on?
- Have you seen any interesting content on LinkedIn that you have opinions on?
Value is still the key to standing out
It might feel impossible to stand out amongst all of the ‘unprecedented times’ emails that have flooded everyone’s inboxes. The key is to offer value.
Don’t just send an email for the sake of reminding your customers you exist. Offer them something they want or need. A guide to the latest industry solutions. A ‘how to’ guide for a tricky task that is common to your field. People are interested in content that will make their lives easier, so create something that shows your audience that you know what that is. Pretty easy, right? And it can be done on a shoestring if you do it right.