A while back, we wrote a piece covering the best low-cost marketing strategies for tech teams on a budget at the time.
With the current COVID-19 pandemic in effect, marketing budgets have become especially tight as businesses rein in spending to ride out this storm.
As such, we think now is a great time to revisit those past strategies — and give an update on the most effective budget-saving marketing strategies to try in the weeks, months, and year ahead.
5 Low-Cost Marketing Strategies for 2020
1. Blog Refresh
Blogs topped the list of low-cost marketing strategies featured in our old piece — and continue to do so this year.
But with a catch.
This year’s focus should be on refreshing your existing blog content. That isn’t to say you’re going to halt the production of new content.
Rather, in addition to new content, you’re also going to spend time breathing life into your old blog posts.
The reason? To increase the ROI of all the incredible efforts you’ve already made with your blog.
Now, before you dive in, keep in mind that a blog refresh isn’t about picking random posts to update. Instead, it requires a strategic approach that homes in on your best-performing posts.
To get started, we recommend doing a content inventory of all your blog posts to date. To do this, you can either manually catalog your posts in a spreadsheet, or export your blog data directly from the analytics software you’re using, such as Google Analytics. The latter is much easier, particularly for blogs with numerous entries.
Once you’ve exported your data, have a look at the performance numbers. You should be able to easily identify your best-performing pieces (based on readership, conversions, etc.).
Next, with your top blog pieces in hand, it’s time to perform the refresh.
To do this, begin by reading the post and identifying out-of-date content areas that need to be replaced, such as:
- Old links
- Dated stats
- Any commentary or information that dates the piece
You’ll also want to look at the analytics behind each post to help identify additional areas for optimization.
For example, say a blog piece received high on-page reading time, but a high bounce rate. It might be worthwhile to create a new CTA and provide different recommended reading options.
From there, it’s simply a matter of replacing the old content with new information. And just like that, your old blog post is brought into the here and now, ready to impress new readers.
Takeaway: Don’t let your old blog posts go to waste. Reviving old blog posts with current information is an easy way to boost your SEO rankings with minimal effort or expenditure.
2. Blog Content Pillars & Clusters:
Content pillars and clusters are another blog-related low-cost marketing strategy this year.
Created by the SEO masters at HubSpot, content pillars and clusters work like this:
The content pillar (or pillar page) is a web page that provides broad coverage on a specific topic. Related blog pages (called clusters) are then created that dive deep into specific aspects of the pillar page and include specific keywords related to the focus of the piece.
Hyperlinks are then placed in both the content pillar and the cluster posts to link the pieces together.
So, what’s the point of all this?
According to Hubspot, search engines like Google reward sites that organize content by topics.
Here at TPM, we employed this approach with our client, DirectRFP® — an online procurement platform. As part of our strategy, we started by developing an extensive pillar document that outlined the 22 steps involved in the typical RFP procurement process.
Once this guide was in place, we created a series of related cluster blogs that examined various aspects of the 22-Step Guide in further detail.
(Sample cluster blog post that points back to DirectRFP’s main pillar document)
Each of these blog posts included hyperlinks that pointed back to the original pillar page.
Takeaway: Using pillar pages and clusters are a great way to match search engine preferences for content organization, which in turn will help you rank higher for queries made by your potential customers.
3. Paid Facebook Ads:
Advertising on Facebook continues to be a hugely popular way of reaching and engaging audiences on the world’s largest social platform.
Not so long ago, organic advertising provided marketers with good traction on Facebook. However, due to the ever-changing Facebook algorithm, success with organic marketing has become increasingly difficult.
As such, understanding how to effectively use paid Facebook ads is becoming an increasingly critical component of a brand’s social media strategy.
Not keen on paid advertising?
Don’t run away just yet. Keep in mind that roughly 80% of all global internet users also use Facebook.
In other words, there’s a good chance your customers and prospects are on Facebook.
And the benefits of Facebook ads are plentiful and include (among many others):
1. Targeted advertising:
You can advertise to exactly who you want (based on age, interests, location, and more).
Here is a sample targeted Facebook ad that we created for our client Multapplied Networks. These ads targeted Multapplied’s prospects based on job title, industry, and job seniority.
2. Budget friendly:
Facebook offers one of the most inexpensive forms of advertising around.
Unlike other forms of advertising (like radio or print), Facebook advertising placements are immediate. Meaning if you place an ad today, your customers will also see it today.
MOI Big Commerce FB Paid Stats:
- Total Leads: 111 Leads
- Leads from Lead Ads: 107
- Leads from Landing Pages: 4
- Total Clicks: 1,494
- Total Impressions: 169,089
- Average CPC: $2.81
MOI Big Commerce LI Stats:
- Total Leads: 7 Leads
- Leads from Lead Ads: 4
- Leads from Landing Pages: 3
- Total Clicks: 184
- Total Impressions: 64,940
- Average CPC: $13.73
Multapplied stats – March 2020
- Impressions: 89,518
- Clicks: 452
- Leads: 14
- Lead Form Opens: 311
- CPC: $9.93
- CTR: 0.50%
- Spend: $4,488.54
Takeaway: While organic Facebook growth may be on its last legs, paid ads on the platform offer an effective and inexpensive way to reach new audiences with your message.
4. Use Lead Gen Ads: Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Searches
Another low-cost marketing strategy topping our list this year is lead gen advertising.
For those of you not familiar, here’s how they work.
When a prospect clicks on a lead gen ad (run on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google Searches) their profile information is automatically populated into a form that they can click to submit.
(Here are a few sample Facebook and LinkedIn lead ads that we created for BigCommerce’s MOI campaign)
The true genius of lead gen advertising is that it removes the need for prospects to manually fill out a form (a major barrier to traditional online conversions). Further, because the form is embedded directly into the social media ad, brands no longer need to create a landing page that typically houses the traditional lead gen form.
We’ve been experimenting with lead gen ads for several of our clients and have been seeing some exciting results. For example, a short lead gen ad campaign we recently ran secured our client four new leads. Further, these leads were gained with very little overhead — just over $200 each.
Takeaway: Lead gen ads are an exciting new approach to lead generation that increases conversions by eliminating user friction.
5. Public Relations
Last up in our list of low-cost marketing strategies for 2020, is the tried-and-true staple: public relations (PR).
While social media continues to transform the way businesses reach their audiences, PR continues to be one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing strategies for tech companies on a budget.
PR is especially effective for brands (and its execs) looking to position themselves as thought leaders in a specific area. Such positioning can be achieved through op-ed pieces, magazine articles, LinkedIn posts, and press releases.
Big brands like Hootsuite use LinkedIn as a means to position their executive body as thought leaders and build engagement with their audience.
There you have it: our top five low-cost marketing strategies for 2020.
Looking for more ideas to improve your marketing efforts? Have a look at our post: How to Improve Your Reach With New Marketing Technology in 2020.