Low-cost marketing tactics for small businesses under budget pressure

Stretch your marketing buck

COVID-19 has changed how we live, work and relate. In the small business world, it’s no different. With social distancing measures still in place, brands have downsized or completely scaled back marketing budgets. In the wake of COVID-19, nearly $50 billion globally has been pulled out of the advertising market.

But instead of killing marketing, the pandemic has forced a creative renaissance. Instead of relying on huge budgets and professional shoots, even big global brands are opting for self-edited, home-shot, DIY content. As a small business owner or new entrepreneur, you can take advantage of these new low-cost marketing trends.

Low-cost marketing trends are the new normal

Big budget commercial shoots have been nearly impossible to do under lockdown, and as a result, brands are opting for lower production value out of necessity. Traditionally, this would scare most big brands. But, according to one YouTube exec, these cheapy ads are actually outperforming many others on the platform.

And, this extends across the entire business landscape and is greatly influenced by the type of content published across TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram.

Less polished advertising has a certain appeal and makes even brands feel more human and authentic to their audiences. Here are a few ways your business can use this trend to create low-cost DIT videos, social media posts, and other marketing content.

  1. Create videos like you were sending them to a friend

Today, we have a lot of different platforms that cater to live stream videos like Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and Facebook Live. This style of video has become the norm and what we expect. It feels more relatable and down-to-earth.

You can apply this same style of thinking to your video content, whether it’s for a paid advertisement, a social media story or a post. Imagine you were creating a quick video to your friend about your business: what would you say and how would you say it?

  1. Crowdsource content from followers

Facebook’s “We’re Never Lost If We Can Find Each Other” ad ran throughout the lockdown. Essentially, this ad celebrates all the ways we were staying connected throughout lockdown, the footage that plays through this ad was all obtained from real people.

You’ll notice the production quality is much higher, but the idea remains the same.

Try to source content from real customers, aka user-generated content. This can show up in many forms, but here are some ideas:

  • Re-share stories or pictures that customers have posted about your products or business.
  • Add any user-shared stories or images to your Instagram Story.
  • Create a short video with your customers enjoying your products, shopping at your business, etc.
  • Go live on Instagram or Facebook and answer any questions your followers, clients and customers have.
  • Conduct Zoom interviews with satisfied customers about their experience working with you and share these across social media.

Related: How to ask for testimonials and reviews from your clients

  1. Use quick, off-the-cuff content

Great video and social media content don’t have to be extensively planned, shot, and edited. Overall, your goal is to create as much content as possible spread across as many different platforms as you can manage.

Best of all, this content is meant to be short and off-the-cuff, while still being packed with value.

Here are some ideas:

  • Screenshot your tweets and share them on Instagram Stories in Create Mode to create funny and consumable content.
  • Take a screenshot of your thoughts on a notepad app and share these.
  • Run polls to your Instagram and Facebook followers and share the results.
  • Take pictures or short videos with customers and clients and share these across social media.
  • Cross-post short video content across TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
  • Create daily Instagram Stories sharing your “thoughts of the day.”

Hopefully, this has helped you understand how low-cost marketing trends are forming in the new normal, and how you can adapt your small business to the changing marketing trends.