Even if your business offers the best products and the highest-quality services. You still need to find a way to get the word out about them via marketing. The good news is that the Internet continues to bring down the cost of marketing. As long as you’re willing to experiment with new forms of digital marketing. Here’s a brief look at how to market your veteran-owned business on little or no money.
#1: Email marketing
Email should be the cornerstone of your digital marketing efforts. Primarily because the cost of developing an effective email marketing strategy is close to zero. To make email marketing work, you need to be thinking in terms of creating a sales funnel for your prospects. So that you can use emails to move potential prospects along the customer journey towards a final sale.
#2: Facebook advertising
Facebook makes it very easy to target potential prospects. Not just by demographic information (age, gender, geographic location). But also by psychographic information (their “likes”). For a veteran-owned business, this can be a real advantage.
It means that you can target veterans in your Facebook ads. And create the type of winning ad copy that will appeal to families of military members.
#3: YouTube videos
There are different ways to use YouTube videos for advertising. The most effective of these strategies is to use your YouTube videos as a way to promote and advertise your most popular products.
For example, some veteran-owned businesses use YouTube to create a series of videos. In order to establish their brand identity. Others have focused more on “how-to” videos that help to build overall brand awareness.
#4: Product page websites
If you have a clear “bestseller”, you might want to think about creating a dedicated product page. Add plenty of social sharing buttons. So that people visiting the page can share it with their friends. Also add customer reviews so that people will know what others are saying about it.
Then include a product video and plenty of high-resolution photos so that people know exactly what they will be buying.
#5: Affiliate marketing
The fundamental premise of affiliate marketing is that you are giving others a commission for driving business to your website. This can be a “win-win” for both you and your affiliate marketers. There are plenty of ways to get started with affiliate marketing.
In most cases, you only pay if a sale has been made. So you don’t have to worry about paying for a torrent of new web traffic when nobody buys anything.
#6: Free digital downloads
If you check out the websites of many veteran-owned businesses. You’ll notice that they give away something for free. In the old analog days, this usually meant that you had to give away a physical product. Then you’d have to mail it to the customer.
The digital era has changed all that – you can offer a free digital download. Like a case study explaining how your product works, or an e-book filled with practical tips and advice.
#7: Blog or podcast
A big buzzword in digital marketing circles these days is “content marketing”. Basically, it refers to companies using great content as a form of marketing.
In practice, it means creating valuable blog content or valuable podcast content. As long as your blog or podcast is covering topics that your audience is already searching for. Then you will have a very powerful tool for drawing in new potential customers.
#8: Workshops, courses, or classes
Have you ever wondered why home improvement stores host classes on the weekend? Or why stores like Williams-Sonoma host cooking classes on the weekend? It’s an easy way to bring in valuable foot traffic to a store. Moreover, these people are likely to buy something that will help them complete their project.
For example, if a home improvement project requires certain tools or materials. Guess where that person is going to buy them? You can use this same mentality to develop walk-in traffic for your retail business. Think about workshops, courses or classes that you can host on weekends or at night.
#9: Social media
If your veteran-owned business doesn’t have a Facebook page yet. You need to create one now. And you should also think about launching other social media channels. Such as Instagram or Twitter, to build up your online presence. There’s an old adage in advertising – “you need to be where your customers are”.
If your customers are on social media, then you need to be there also. Start small with just 1-2 social media channels, and then build from there.
#10: Product review sites
On the Internet, the voice of everyday customers is more important than the voice of experts. That means you need to make sure your products are mentioned on sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor. You can give customers incentives. Such as discounts and promotions – to get them to write the reviews.
Some veteran-owned businesses even include a special display at the checkout counter. Reminding customers to write a new review as soon as they get home.
#11: Prize competitions
Everyone loves a good prize competition. If you want to get the highest possible participation rate. You might want to make this more of a “random drawing”. However, if you have a very passionate fan base, you can think of making this much more of a skill-based prize competition.
#12: Event sponsorships
Often, there are ways to sponsor events without spending a lot of money. Every event, for example, has “media partners”. They get to have their corporate logos on events. Largely in exchange for helping to cover the event and promote it in advance.
And you can always volunteer at an event, or donate product samples. This is a great way of getting your company’s name out in front of potential customers.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to market your veteran-owned business on little or no money. With a little creativity and ingenuity. You’ll find that you can help to build brand awareness. Boost your customer base. And be spending much less in marketing dollars than you ever expected.