7 Simple & Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
It’s Time to Grow Your Business! Check Out These 7 Simple, Low-Cost Marketing Techniques
Channel partners want to set themselves apart from the crowd. ACS Cloud Partners offers some recommendations.
As a channel partner selling telecom and cloud services, you want — and need — to set yourself apart from the crowd. Doing that without much formal training can be tough. But that’s where some ideas for simple marketing techniques enter the picture.
Let’s be real, though. You’re up against a couple of big hurdles as you consider adding marketing techniques to your never-ending to-do list. One, you’re a small agency, maybe one or two people. That leaves you with little time to focus on making more people aware of your brand. Two, you probably don’t know a lot about the practice of marketing and don’t necessarily want to master it.
Fortunately, we’ve got a list of some free, or low-cost, marketing techniques you can use to get your business in front of buyers — and turn prospects into clients. Some of these recommendations require significant desk time while others consist of simpler, faster, and even face-to-face suggestions. If one or two of these items strikes you as easier or more natural to you, start there. Work on others in the background.
The goal, of course, is to turn the potential buyers you meet through the following marketing techniques into happy customers. Follow these suggestions and report your outcomes back to us!
1. Make your business card unique.
Stand out when handing out your company’s information. Maybe it’s not actually a card but a table coaster or a tool with your contact details. While many of these examples (here and here) may not apply to telecom and cloud services partners, who knows what inspiration will strike when you see them? Get creative. Get fun. Use an age-old business marketing technique to new advantage.
2. Optimize for search engine results.
This is one of the simplest — and free — marketing techniques. Every small business ought to be doing the SEO minimum to try to get their website to appear on Google’s first page.
Now, getting Google (because it’s the end-all-be-all of search engines) to place you at the top of relevant searches is tough. It’s a gigantic war small business people have a hard time winning without throwing a lot of money at SEO experts, and/or software, and super-targeted marketing techniques. And, of course, we’re talking here about not spending thousands of dollars on marketing.
One piece of wisdom before we proceed:
If you believe SEO would in fact connect you with the right prospects, and pay off accordingly, then it may be in your best interest to invest in a person or company that specializes in this esoteric, ever-changing science. You could put less money into another marketing effort to balance the scales if needed.
For our partners who don’t want to funnel that kind of money into SEO marketing techniques, there are still ways to benefit from the practice.
First, set up a Google Business Profile that also points to your website.
- Make sure to keep any special holiday or other hours updated throughout the year, as well as information such as whether you require masks in your office (if people come to you).
- Set a calendar reminder to repeat every so often so you return to your Google Business Profile and make any necessary changes. Take advantage of other local directories, too, including Yelp, Nextdoor, and your Chamber of Commerce.
Second, optimize your website. Do some research on keywords in your area of specialty and put them near the top of your home page and menu pages. Be aware, though, that keyword stuffing will backfire on you (part of Google’s SEO secret sauce to keep bad actors from overriding legitimate businesses). If you feel like investing a little money into this part of SEO, consider easy-to-use software such as Surfer SEO, Content Harmony, MarketMuse, and more. These platforms will score your existing website and offer guidance, including showing how that score changes as you edit for SEO, for improving your SEO ranking.
3. Use social media.
You knew this was coming. Everyone says to rely on social media for sharing your business message. And that’s because it tends to work, especially when what you say is more interesting, fun, funny, relevant, to the point, or otherwise engaging than the next guy. The biggest cost involved here is time, as platforms including LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok come with no financial investment. Just make sure you update your feeds frequently — share news about your company, products, services, and observations about your industry (if you blog on your website, make sure to share that via social media, too). In fact, the more you can position yourself as an expert without over-promoting your firm, the better.
Here is the drawback of a social media/content marketing strategy. If you’re a small shop, constant writing and posting will pull you away from sales and other brand-awareness activities. That reality deters a lot of people from pursuing social media in particular. But if you define and follow a specific approach, complete with establishing deadlines for posting content, you should be able to build an online brand that complements or even enhances your in-person efforts without too much sacrifice.
You are not out to be a corporately funded Instagram influencer who’s on camera all day. Rather, publishing interesting factoids or observations a few times a week is a great start. See where that takes you before you go all in on any onerous content marketing.
If you find you have the time, desire, and need for a newsletter, that’s another resource in your marketing toolbox. First, set up a call-to-action popup on your website so that when a customer or prospect visits, they can opt to subscribe to your newsletter. (This usually requires a specific plugin via your web host.)
You’ll have to produce a newsletter, of course, so stick to that strategy we mentioned about timelines. Again, effective content marketing is less about how much money you spend than how much effort you put into it (algorithms that push people to pay for advertising notwithstanding).
Keep your newsletters short, timely, and engaging. That should work best for you and your readers — for you because, with any luck, you won’t invest hours in the production process; for your readers because, in an email-saturated world, less is more.
If you stick to the formula (short, timely, engaging), you should see positive results in the form of more inquiries and email signups.
We know we’re preaching to the choir with this one. Channel partners love to network. Another marketing technique we recommend, attend local business gatherings, conferences, trade shows, meetings, and whatever social opportunity arises. Each of these goes a long way toward meeting new people who didn’t know they need your expertise or who know someone who does. Plus, consider these events as prime opportunities to distribute your unique business card. People will pay attention to something eye-catching and unexpected, and they’ll remember you and your conversation even more because of it.
“Ecosystem coopetition” represents the indirect channel’s next evolutionary stage. Trying to act as a standalone solution for each customer doesn’t really do the trick anymore. Organizations need holistic solutions, even if those come together through disparate parties working as one entity.
In addition to adopting the ecosystem coopetition mindset, join forces with other small businesses in your area to roll out joint promotions or events. This could look like a “get to know you” fair featuring all manner of local businesses or a one-time offer for a free consultation.
Find small companies such as yours that specialize in complementary areas — say, a reseller or system integrator that supplies customers with phones and desktop computers but who needs the help of a connectivity expert. That’s where you come in. Together, you and your new reseller partner (or even a third partner, if that makes sense) will deliver the range of services and capabilities your joint client needs. Ideally, that customer will enjoy such a seamless, stress-free experience because you and your ecosystem teammate are taking care of things that they’ll sing your praises to peers (more on that in a moment).
7. Ask for referrals, count on word of mouth.
Combine all of the above techniques, demonstrate valuable outcomes, and word-of-mouth referrals will probably turn into a significant revenue stream. Make sure to extend some kind of thank you to the people bringing you new business. That could come in the form of a discount for your services, a gift card, a fruit or champagne basket, or any number of possibilities. Just don’t overlook your word-of-mouth referrers. They are vital to your success.
Overall, implementing marketing techniques that give your business more exposure isn’t all that difficult, it just requires two key inputs: consistency and persistence. Try different ideas. Some will fail. That’s okay. Failure is part of the business. Others will soar. Either way, keep moving forward, experimenting, capitalizing on what works, and watch your business grow to new heights.
As a partner with ACS Cloud Partners, we help you build your business through countless resources like our FiberLookup™ and PricingPRO™ tools and dedicated sales support teams. Our partners also benefit with customized commission structures and marketing techniques to increase revenue. Because of our established relationships with providers, you are able to market the full portfolio of products to your customers.