By now I’m sure we all understand the importance of marketing to a degree. We’ve discussed many things including marketing budgets and how that should be a key priority for a business that seeks growth. Just like marketing isn’t only advertising, not all marketing efforts require you to splash the cash. There are ways, sometimes ridiculously simple ways, to engage in marketing activities that do not cost the business anything. Alright, that may be a stretch. It is more appropriate to say they do not cost you anything more.

Keep in contact

Keeping in contact with your customers is the first method that requires no extra expenditure. The effectiveness of this depends on the product you offer. If you’re offering a one-off service or a fast-moving good this may be a little weird as compared to somebody offering a durable good or ongoing service. Customers appreciate the effort and it’s a good way to get feedback from a long term user. You may pick up tips on improving.

Do the little things

Grand gestures are great. I’ve seen businesses in Zimbabwe chase the big viral social media post that propels them to the stratosphere. Nothing wrong with virality but customers are more moved by little things. In the social media space, to continue the example, try being out there to answer questions people have about your product or industry. Small things like communication, packaging, additional options and other small gestures make a big difference to the people who put money in your pocket.

Share your knowledge

The example I gave above of answering questions that come up on social media related to your industry is a very good example of sharing your knowledge. It is not the only way. Consider making short videos, blogging, explainer posts and other content that shares knowledge around the product or industry. Just one thing to beware of here. I’ve seen many people try this and fail because they think from the businesses perspective rather than a customer and the content doesn’t reach customers and prospects. You must work from the customer point of view.

Social media

Up to this point, I’ve spoken about social media as a given. Social media is free and so it is something your business should definitely consider having. What doesn’t come free is getting social media right and I’m sure you don’t need any examples from me as to why this is the case. Firstly avoid the tendency to always be selling, that social before the media is there for a reason. Talk, connect and engage with people. If you need a rule of thumb 1 out of 5 posts should be your selling. Engage other people’s posts on relevant issues in your industry or market,  the more people see you interact the better. You will also be cautioned against posting too much, I would say if your content is relevant there is no such thing as too much. Make sure you post consistently, people settle into habits and seeing your posts, especially if they are relevant, regularly is great marketing.

Keep doing the work

Marketing is a continuous activity and depending on your product, market and industry it may take a while for the results of marketing work to show up in your sales. Expecting to post content today and get instant rewards with thousands of customers inundating your business tomorrow is at best a fantasy. You need to think of your marketing efforts more as seeds. Seeds don’t become flowers the moment you plant them. They need watering, go through germination, need fertilisers, need care, and gradually grow into a plant that will eventually sprout flowers. Know your industry and your customer journey and make sure you keep doing the work.

If you can add these ideas to your paid marketing efforts you are bound to see the results start showing up in your bottom line. A bonus tip here would be to please your customers by delivering the product. The best marketing device ever created was the happy customer and having more of those will do your business a world of good. And since you were going to serve the customer anyway it will not add to your costs.