Spending huge sums of money on marketing is pretty old-school. Are you looking to market your SME without spending your life savings on it?
Here are 8 cost-effective ways to growth hack your SME in the digital space:
- Build relations with influencers
A good way to establish an online presence is by helping influencers. Influencers usually have millions of followers and you can imagine the significance their words will have in the digital world.
So how do you win these influencers? By helping them even before you ask for their help.
- Connect a client and an influencer.
- If you discover a new website and think the influencer might be interested in it, pass on the message.
- Actively and thoughtfully comment on their posts and give honest opinions.
- Share anything that they write with your community.
- Find a problem on their website and offer to help; could be SEO or content related.
For example, if you find a new product about which the influencer might be interested in writing, pass on the message to them. Let’s take an example from my startup Hiver: we once connected a tech influencer with a new SaaS website which was looking to connect with influential bloggers. These guys did a few posts together, and later, the influencer published a great review of us on an A-rated website. Everybody wins!
- Use affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing is indeed a smart move for businesses on a low budget; it runs on the idea of performance-based marketing.
If you don’t have enough budget to market, then you can get people to market for you and all you have to do is pay them a percentage of each customer you gain.
Websites like Hasoffers can help you arrange these affiliate programs and get people to market for you. This way there is very low risk, and you don’t need much launch money either.
- Search optimize like it’s a life-saver
'Content doesn’t win, optimized content wins’ - Li Evans
First off, have you even checked if Google has indexed all your pages? For a SME to successfully market itself online, SEO and Content marketing must go together.
Some points to remember:
- Understand that SEO is a long-term game. Patience and planning is the key.
- Sometimes SEO doesn’t show results for a long time, but you must keep religiously practicing it.
- SEO is not a one-time task. You must keep revising it to stay in sync with the trend changes on the internet. You can’t optimize and then forget about it forever.
- Run a search audit every 6 months at least.
- An important aspect of good SEO is good user experience. At the core of good user experience are key factors like good website design, mobile optimization, interactive websites, web analytics etc.
- Guest blog
Share your expertise with the world. Become a thought leader in your own right.
Guest blogging (Here’s a how-to article on guest blogging) is a cost-effective way to obtain great online reach. The idea is to basically make your content each a newer audience. Here’s the catch - unless you have quality content, most blogs won’t let you write for them.
So, sit down and write some great well-thought out articles in your field of expertise, and cold call other blog owners.
Most blogs accept guest posts gracefully, as long as you meet their standards.
- Write expert roundups posts
Shortlist a few meaningful questions and send them over to other SME founders - questions such as ‘what advice do you have for upcoming SMEs, ‘what are some things every founder should know’, etc.
Most founders will be happy to answer your questions; collect all these responses into a single post.
Here’s why this will work - most readers will never skip an expert roundup post. Everyone is eager to read what a founder of a SME has to say about their struggles, and the wisdom nuggets they have to offer.
All you have to do is shoot out a few emails, and well, cross your fingers for their response.
Here’s a story of how one good expert roundup post let to 20, 231 views in the first 6 days.
Well, all SMEs are struggling to get to the top, so why not give each other a push? You can collaborate with another SME and give promotional offers on their website, and you can do the same for them. Costs no money, but will sure bring results.
It doesn’t have to be only with other SMEs, you can also try to form alliances with the big guys in the industry. For example, Uber promoted Grofers and many other SMEs during the Christmas celebrations last year.
A few ideas:
- Collaborate on a webinar series.
- Create how-to videos to post on their websites.
- Create online communities to discuss and organize such co-promotional events.
- Answer queries on platforms like Quora
I can’t even begin to emphasize the importance of this strategy. Most of us do content dumping on the internet - you cannot say for sure if it is bringing proportional results and two, it is annoying for readers.
Instead, seek to help people directly, and the best way to do this is to visit forums and Q&A websites, and offer advice/solutions to the queries people pose. This is a very smart way to use your content where you directly address people’s problems, and hence, are making a strong presence online.
Don’t forget to include your company name and profession in your signature.
- Use the power of creative marketing to go viral
Viral marketing can indeed be a very powerful tool. Really! According to a report from Sharpe Partners that shows that 89% of US adult Internet users send content to others.
One good video ad, an engaging vine, a funny dubsmash, a catchy infographic can immediately boost your online presence. Many companies, such as Uber, have used creative viral marketing to expand their brand.
Here are some tips to great viral marketing:
- Creativity is the key. You are allowed to get as wild as you wanna!
- Partnering with other SMEs can save costs.
- Your work, be it, an ad or an infographic has to be aesthetically pleasing.
- Humor and sass can take you a long way here.
“To accompany the four Ps of classical marketing, marketers would do well to instill the digital four C’s, around conversation, collaboration, culture and compensation.”
- Zaid Al-Zaidy