First and foremost, let me get this obvious statement out of the way: paid advertising, especially digital advertising, is the most effective way to get your brand out there. With that being said, not all companies have the capital to spend a significant amount of money on marketing. Hiring a third party to execute a paid ad strategy can be costly, and learning how to do it yourself takes time you might need to be spending elsewhere.
With all that in mind, I’ll go over 5 ways you can increase awareness of your brand with a digital ad strategy that doesn’t cost you anything.
1. Guest Blogging
When it comes to proving that you know your stuff, there are few better ways to get the message across than by putting together a “guest blog” which is hosted on someone else’s site. Generally speaking, the company who’s site you’ll be posting your blog post to won’t be a competitor, but will offer similar enough services that there would be an expected audience overlap.
Not only is guest blogging a good idea in the sense that it helps you gain additional exposure, but it also helps to boost your domain authority by using external links from a reputable site (i.e. an established website is linking back to your own website, which increases your website’s relevance within search engines).
If reaching out to ask about guest blogging on someone else’s site feels a bit self-serving, pay them back by asking them to write a post for your blog as well. Most marketers recognize this can be a mutually-beneficial opportunity.
2. Downloadable Content
In today’s over-saturated digital space, the best way to stand out is by offering something that has actual value for your audience. Ever attended an event and walked away with a coffee mug, shirt, koozie, etc.? The concept of swag (stuff we all get, if you never knew why it was called that in the first place) has stayed in existence for so long because having someone take your “brand” home is a great way to increase exposure.
Including some quality “downloadable” content on your website, and offering it for free, encourages users to return to your site the next time they need information. When it comes to making sales and generating significant revenue for your company, it pays to offer complimentary content as a way to get your foot in the door.
3. Building An Organic Social Media Strategy
Over the past five or six years, Facebook has slowly (but surely) made it much more difficult to reach large numbers of individuals without a paid component to your strategy. While your business isn’t going to gain a similar impression share as one that has thousands of dollars in ad spend budget to work with, you can still build a loyal and engaged following if you focus on putting out thoughtful, purposeful, and useful content.
Let’s be honest – most people are using social media for entertainment. Businesses that are able to create a “brand personality” that appeals to their target audience are going to have the most success in growing their following via organic posting. Don’t try too hard to sell your services on a platform that isn’t designed for that particular purpose (unless of course you’re a brand that relies on social media to push product). Having a hard time knowing what to post? Ask yourself what type of content would make you want to follow a brand on social media, and go from there.
Need some inspiration? Here are a few examples of brands who are killing it on social media.
4. Be Responsive On Social
One factor that helps you improve your standing with the algorithms on social media sites is your level of responsiveness when it comes to engaging with your audience. For example, if someone comments on a photo you upload, responding in a reasonably short amount of time will improve the chances that someone else will see your content.
Engaging with your audience should be something you’re doing already, as it helps foster the relationship between brand and customer (or potential customer). Even acknowledging negative feedback online can be beneficial because it shows your followers that you do care about delivering a quality product or service, and that you hold yourself accountable if something doesn’t meet expectations.
If you prove to your audience that you’re reachable on social media, they’ll respond positively. This creates a snowball effect which should result in more impressions, traffic, engagement, and ultimately loyalty to your brand.
5. Optimize Your Site for SEO
Without question, the most effective way to drive traffic to your site, which hopefully you’re able to turn into sales, is by taking SEO seriously. The factors that the internet’s most popular search engines (okay…Google) take into account are constantly changing, so it’s important to keep up with the latest optimizations.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a major uptick in traffic in the first couple of months after you’ve started to implement your SEO strategy. Experienced digital marketers know that it’s a marathon and not a sprint – but make no mistake about it, it will pay off to put time and effort into this aspect of your web strategy.
If you’re looking for some optimizations that you can start making today, begin by ensuring your site functions well on mobile devices, content is being updated regularly, and loading speeds are where they need to be to provide a good user experience.
Growing your brand via organic digital marketing takes more time than if you have a big ad spend budget. But, if you put in the time to execute your strategy according to your gameplan, it can be done. Don’t worry if you don’t see immediate results – persistence pays off and eventually you’ll cultivate an audience that is aware of who you are and what you do.
If your brand could benefit from some guidance in navigating the world of digital marketing, get in touch today for a free consultation.