3 Places to Spend your Marketing Budget Other Than Paid Advertising
Many times, when taking on a new ethical branding client, I notice that companies have fallen under the misconception that paid advertising is the best use of their marketing budget. However, here at RISE Creative, we believe there are much better strategies to reach your target audience than paid advertising.
When asked about paid advertising, my honest, and completely blunt reponse, is that I think paid advertising is a waste of money. Today, all over the world, there are multi-million dollar companies whose marketing budgets reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. How can a start up or small business stand to compete with a budget like that? I like to use the analogy that you are throwing pennies into a fountain, and hoping someone picks up your lucky penny.
Google Adwords is a great example of this. When competing for a keyword phrase such as "organic t-shirts for sale," a company like Target can dedicate hundreds of thousands of dollars to monopolize that phrase, while a start-up organic t-shirt company throws money into the fountain, hoping their ranking reaches anywhere near Target, or even anywhere on Google's first page of search results.
Another example of this is Facebook and Instagram. If a small business is targeting only local consumers, I do believe that Facebook's local algorithims have a higher chance of reaching that business' target audience. However, if a new ethical brand is looking to take their company global and reach women between the ages of 25 and 45, who have an interest in sustainable fashion, again that brand is throwing their start up budget into a pot and hoping to compete with an ethical brand like People Tree who is targeting the same consumers with a much bigger budget.
Therefore, I truly believe dedicating a marketing budget to creative tactics other than paid advertising is much more beneficial for a growing brand. Some of these tactics include:
1. Influencer Relations
The power of social media today is truly incredible. We live in a world where we are lucky to have influencers and public figures who have done an amazing job at connecting with their audiences, and building trust with consumers. Investing in a sponsored post with an influencer whose target audience matches yours is a great way to be introduced to an entirely new group of potential consumers. Worth while collaborations include social media giveaways, influencer giftings that lead to social media posts or blog posts, along with sponsored blog posts and social media posts.
Using this strategy, giveaways and influencer giftings only cost you the price of giving away that product, and sponsored content ensures that your brand reaches the audience of that influencer.
How do you find the perfect influencer for your brand? Do your research! Many influencers who have a large following, or organize their platform like a business, often have a Media Kit which tells you exactly who their audience is and allows you to determine if their audience matches your target consumer.
2. Original Shareable Content
One strategy that I can not stress enough to brands is the importance of original shareable content. In today's world of social media, there is so much content that is reposted or re-shared, it often feels like nothing is original anymore. When you create an original piece of content, you are giving your audience something they have never seen before, keeping them engaged, and creating trust through your brand.
How do you create original content, you ask? Great question, there's a few different ways! Invest in a photoshoot! Tell a story about your brand using great visuals that you can share throughout social media outlets, newsletters and even blog posts. Recently RISE had the privilege of conceptualizing and directing a social media photoshoot for Symbology Clothing. The goal behind the shoot was to tell the brand's evolving story through new content.
Another great way to invest in original content is hiring a content creator to plan and write blog posts that will engage with your audience. Whether these posts tell more of your brand story or keep up with the latest trends, let me repeat that these blog posts will be content that has never been viewed, consumed, or shared before, engaging and growing your audience.
3. Consistent SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
This last strategy is one that confuses many people. First of all, the idea of crafting your site in a way that allows Google to read it and project it to your target audience sounds like a huge project. I promise you, it's not. There are a few easy steps that you can take, either on your own, or with an SEO strategist, to map out which keywords are the best fit for your brand. From there, you will learn to insert those words into places where Google can properly read them and filter your site to the right people. Consistency is key with SEO. The more words, pictures, URL's, and other pieces of your site that you've continuously optimized with your keywords, the more Google will associate your site with those topics.
The second part of SEO that confuses most, is Google Adwords. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, most Google-associated "experts" will try to sell you on paying money to try to monopolize certain keywords. However, I truly believe that competing with thousand and even million dollar marketing budgets is a waste of both your time and money. Know your target keywords, stay consistent in optimization, and your Google ranking will RISE (no pun intended, okay maybe a little pun intended.)
Creating a marketing budget for a new and growing business can seem overwhelming. However, dedicating that budget to strategies like these, will greatly benefit your growth and connect you with your target audience, without breaking the bank. For questions regarding creative marketing strategies, please feel free to contact RISE Creative, and get free ethical branding tips.
Written by Marisa Flacks, Founder of RISE Creative
RISE Creative was founded on the idea that small businesses, social enterprises, and non-profits don't always have the capacity to hire full-time staff to join in the efforts towards their incredible missions. We create extremely personalized ethical branding and digital marketing packages that fit your company's needs.