How to Extend Your Marketing Reach Without Spending a Nickel

Jul 15, 2013 12:17 PM  By

The marketing, sales, profits loop works well in a good economy. More marketing increases sales, which in turn generate profits that can be used to buy more marketing. It doesn’t work as well in a tough economy. Fewer sales reduce profits and the marketing budget. Marketers have to find ways to extend their marketing reach without significant investment.

This is a good time to be a marketer because there are ways to reach more people without touching your budget. Before you start rolling your eyes, this is not yet another “social media is king and free” post. Let’s just agree right now that successfully using social media to promote your business is not free. The costs for tools and maintenance put it on the same level as other marketing channels.

Getting the most from your marketing dollars requires optimizing every channel and taking advantage of every opportunity to reach more people. There isn’t a magic formula that catapults your brand to the top. Consistent application of best practices and participation in partnerships creates the foundation that expands your marketing reach exponentially.

Here are seven ways you can get more exposure without investing money:

Optimize your presence in Google Local
Google is transitioning into a one stop shop for social, search, and solutions. Google Places has evolved into Google Local, a merging of maps, search, and social. Every company has the option to create a profile filled with information for customers and prospect. Optimize your presence by completing the profile using good keywords. You have options for photographs, videos, and much more. If appropriate, add coupons to encourage people to visit your business.

Participate in Google Offers
An extension of Google Local, Offers is a deal of the day program that delivers discounts from bricks-&-mortar companies. Members receive emails featuring coupons from local merchants. There is also a smartphone app that reminds people when offers are close to expiring. Participation is free while it is in trial mode.

Prepare for Facebook Graph
Facebook enters the search competition with Graph. Optimize your Facebook page to take advantage of the opportunity to reach new people. Complete all of the appropriate fields available in your profile using good keywords. Posts need to be optimized too. When creating new posts, place the most important part of the message at the top so it will show in search results.

Encourage and monitor reviews
What people share about your company is becoming increasingly important. Google Local and Facebook Graph look at reviews when choosing companies to receive preferential treatment. Respond to all negative reviews with solutions to the problem. This increases the trust factor and minimizes the negative effect.

Optimize email messages for search
Google is running a field trial now that pulls emails into natural search results for participants. This extends the life of an email to the length of time it takes the recipient to delete it. There is no word on when (or if) this will be rolled out, but the people who have opted in are using it now. Emails that consist primarily of images will not receive the benefits of the longer tail so make sure that text is included.

Partner with non-profits
Everyone loves a good cause. Partnering with non-profits allows you to show your company’s human side while introducing it to the people who support the cause. Choose an organization that has the same values as your company and attracts people that fit your customer profile.

Increase your marketing by one
Add one non-promotional email or post per week that shows people how to use your products or services. Information based messages are sticky and sharable. Be sure to optimize them for search because they will attract people seeking solutions.

Debra Ellis is the founder of Wilson & Ellis Consulting, which specializes in improving customer acquisition and retention using marketing, analytics, service, and strategic planning.