Marketing ideas for SMEsIn the marketing world, bigger isn’t always better (SME owners, you can heave a sigh of relief). While big-buck global campaigns, outrageous PR stunts and glitzy TV ads are guaranteed to get heads turning, there are plenty of other, more low-key marketing ideas that have just as much impact, but cost next to nothing to implement.

It’s perfectly possible to master marketing without blowing your budget. Here’s a list of some of those ‘low-key’ tactics you can start using today:

Get social

Social media is your best bud when it comes to boosting brand exposure. Sign-up with the big players – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ – and any other sites you think will complement your business (i.e., if you’re an interior design business, you might want to use Pinterest to share photos of past projects).

Signing-up is only the first step. What follows is crafting a strong social presence. On each platform, you need to be sharing insightful, engaging content on a regular basis. You need to be interacting with your audience, starting discussions and joining in with them when you feel like you can add value. Only then will you feel the true power of social.

Become a video star

Time to don your best business suit and hit ‘record’! According to a report from Cisco, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017. Setting up a YouTube account is free, and videos are relatively easy to make once you’ve mastered the basics (where the ‘record’ button is, how to zoom, etc). You don’t need to buy yourself an expensive camcorder; a decent smartphone camera will do the trick. Take a look online at some video tutorials and have a peek at what your competitors are doing to get some ideas (but don’t copy them).

Videos that see the highest levels of engagement tend to be informative, instructional or funny. You could create a behind the scenes video of your business, a video to promote a new product, or a video giving expert insight on a relevant, industry-related topic.

Host an event

Hosting an event is a great way to get your name out there. Try making it industry-specific, as this will help you reach out to your target audience.

Your event will be a flop if you don’t promote it well, so leave plenty of time to spread the word. Social media is great for this, but you should bear in mind that not everyone digs social. So, you should utilise traditional tools too, such as posters and flyers, ensuring your brand logo is displayed nice and clear on the front for all to see.

Run a competition

Everyone likes a competition. And again, social media is the best platform to do this on. First, you need to get a prize together. The prize needn’t be huge, but then again it needs to be something people actually want to win (choosing a branded product as a prize will help to further promote your business). Then, you need to create the competition. One of the easiest and quickest ways to boost engagement is a simple ‘like and share’ competition, where people need to share your post – which should include an image of the prize – with their community to be in with a chance of winning.

Apply for awards

Most industries have awards – have a look on the internet and see if there are any your business is eligible to enter. Winners, and indeed runners-up, often receive badges which they can display on their website. This helps boost credibility and gives you something to shout about because, let’s face it, if you don’t big up your business, no one else will!

Publish great content

Finally, consumers crave high-quality content. Not the type of content that’s stuffed full of key words that jut out like a sore thumb. If you’ve got a quality blog, you’ll soon start to develop a reputation for it. If you write quality copy targeting engaging, industry-related themes, people will want to read it and, perhaps more importantly, they’ll want to share it. Your consumers will become brand advocates and market your content – for free! It doesn’t get much better than that, right?