Small business owners looking for a high ROI are often deterred from extensive marketing, thinking that it’s costly. And sure, sometimes, digital and traditional advertising can be both expensive and ineffective.
However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any legitimate options for those on a tighter budget.
As with any other business strategy, marketing requires planning, discipline, and consistency. When these three requirements are met, it can very much turn into the wind beneath your business’ wings.
As marketing budgets increase over the board, it can be difficult finding the exact tactics worth investing in. Plus, competition can often drive prices up, which is less than ideal.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of high ROI marketing strategies that won’t break your budget. The following tactics are all well-worth considering and investing in, as they’re sure to boost your efforts and bring your business to the next level.
#1. Content Marketing
Producing high-quality content is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies, but it costs more time than money. Seeing that you can take the DIY route and still get excellent results, it’s definitely a tactic worth investing in.
If you’re just getting started, then the best way to approach content creation would be through a company blog.
By putting together posts that educate and inform your audience, you can provide potential buyers with valuable information, reach new customers, and even build brand authority.
To get started, it’s not a bad idea to look at what your competition is doing. Are competing brands posting how-tos, buyer guides, or insights? Maybe they’re addressing common questions or putting together online user manuals their customers can turn to.
As an example of a brand with a stellar content marketing strategy, head on over to the blog section on GILI Sports. Their articles aim to educate customers of all skill levels, giving advice on how to get started, how to choose the best gear, and where to go if they’re interested in paddleboarding.
image source: gilisports.com
Of course, blogs are not the only type of content that works. You can also choose to create videos (like GoPro does), record a podcast (like Basecamp), or even encourage your buyers to contribute to your efforts with user-generated content in the form of social media posts or reviews.
#2. Social Media
Closely related to content (but still a category of its own), social media can be another one of those high-ROI marketing strategies that only require time.
According to Statista, the number of social network users worldwide was 3.6 billion in 2020. While that’s only 49% of the global population, it’s well over 80% of all internet users. These numbers testify to the marketing potential these digital spaces harbor.
Thanks to advanced analytical and targeting options on all major social media platforms, brands can implement low-cost or even free strategies that will reach a wide audience. Moreover, social media is one of the most effective ways for companies to invest in branding, especially when it comes to visual identity and company values.
If you take a look at what Runners Athletics is doing with their Instagram profile, you’ll see that each image represents the brand’s commitment to a type of lifestyle. What’s more, a website integration allows their social content to be shown on their homepage, ensuring visual consistency over all channels.
image source: runnersathletics.com
Another effective way to use social media with a bang is to make it an extension of your brand’s content marketing strategy. Whether your posts are made to be educational, informative, or entertaining, you can use them to connect and engage with your audience.
For example, if you take a look at the National Geographic Facebook page, you’ll see that each one of their posts includes an article from their website. In their case, the social media platform is used to share content and drive organic traffic to their website, as well as an excellent way for their followers to connect with the brand through comments and discussions.
image source: facebook.com
#3. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
If you only have time to do one thing from this list of high-ROI marketing strategies, then SEO is definitely the tactic to go with.
Aimed at getting your website to the top of search engine results pages, good SEO can ensure that your target audience sees you instead of taking their business to your competitors. On top of that, it can also help you overcome the biggest enemy of digital advertising – ad blockers.
To boost organic traffic on your website, you can do several things:
- Boost users’ experience by improving page loading speed, ensuring a secure connection, and implementing responsive design.
- Optimize website copy for keywords and readability.
- Post valuable content and create backlinks on authority websites.
- Use SEO optimization and research tools like Yoast plugins for WordPress and MOZ for keywords.
- Share, update, and re-use existing content.
- Avoid harmful practices that reflect on your website’s google ranking.
#4. Lead Generation, Nurturing, and Customer Retention
How much is each sale worth to your business? And how many times does the average shopper buy from your store?
If you’re looking to make data-driven marketing decisions, you will need to calculate the expected customer lifetime value (CLV) for your business.
Let’s say that you run an ecommerce store that sells baby clothes. Generally speaking, the people who shop with you won’t be likely to remain loyal customers for too long, simply because the children they’re shopping for will grow up. This means that the CLV will be relatively limited, and investing in customer retention won’t pay off nearly as much as pumping money into customer acquisition.
If, however, you run a supplements business and your clients are fitness enthusiasts who are likely to make monthly purchases, then the best way for you to make a profit is to nurture every generated lead into a returning client.
One way to boost customer retention is to create loyalty or referral programs. These will not only encourage your customers to shop and support your business, but they will also play to the fact that most people look to friends and family when looking for product recommendations.
Or, if an affiliate/referral program is too much work, you can try influencer marketing like Vivobarefoot, a minimalist shoe manufacturer. Their strategy isn’t to spend thousands of dollars on paid ads. Instead, they collaborate with influencers in the health and fitness industry, such as Breathe & Flow. This way, the brand reaches their target audience by exposing their products to large groups of people through social media.
image source: instagram.com
Alternatively, take a more traditional approach by investing in lead generation. Knowing that the average conversion rate for email marketing is around 15% in 2020, lead generation and nurturing promises a high return on investment, especially if you DIY your campaigns.
One good way of getting people to subscribe to your newsletter would be to offer free whitepapers or ebooks. This is the exact strategy for LFA Capsule Fillers. Their guide on making capsules is a valuable resource to health enthusiasts and supplements businesses alike. Additionally, it’s an excellent way for the company to connect via email with an audience that’s drawn to their products.
image source: lfacapsulefillers.com
While getting an article about your business published can cost a pretty penny, choosing the right publication might actually bring in high returns. For most companies, the best way to get a wide readership will be to go with a press release distribution network, such as PRNewswire. However, if you’re on a tight budget or targeting well-defined local audiences, contacting journalists in your niche/area might be the better solution.
Either way, make sure that you write a high-quality release, following the six essential rules of the AP Style Guide.
Of course, don’t forget that press releases aren’t a “set it and forget it” type of thing. You’ll have to do some work once they’re out in the open. So, make sure to share them on your social media profiles, including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit.
#6. Paid Ads
The last budget-friendly marketing approach on this list is one that’s often overlooked by small business owners as too costly.
Paid ads do require an investment, unlike the many other methods described above, but they can actually have the highest ROI. That is, as long as you apply a few budget-optimization hacks. The reason behind this is that both Google and Facebook Ads allow you to reach an audience already searching for your targeted keywords or, alternatively, people who visited your website but didn’t convert.
The main things to consider when setting up paid ads on a shoestring budget are the following:
- Only bid for high-performing search terms.
- Define your audience.
- Optimize your ad copy (and landing pages).
- Test and adapt accordingly.
As you can see, high-ROI marketing doesn’t have to require a big fat spending budget. Some of the strategies we’ve listed can be done completely free. Of course, a professional service may help you get more bang for your buck, but don’t be too quick to underestimate your own marketing capabilities. After all, no one knows your products and audience as well as you. Use that knowledge to your power.