5 Low-Cost, High-Impact Digital Marketing Campaign Ideas

By Travis Jamison - August 7, 2020
4 mins read time
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The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of letting up any time soon, and consequently, the world of marketing is slowly adjusting to what is now our new normal.

As brands are forced to operate with smaller teams and reduced budgets, marketers need to come up with campaign ideas that still deliver great results to their consumer brand clients, but at costs lower than pre-pandemic.

Let’s look at five digital marketing campaigns that can both be low-cost and high-impact.

1. Content marketing

Content marketing done right is always effective.

Yet doing it effectively can quickly accrue some significant costs.

When we know that it takes nearly four hours (or more) to produce the level of quality for which we needed about two hours just five years ago, it’s clear that content marketing demands a lot of investment.

There are things you can do to keep the costs lower, but the impact higher:

  • Ask others in your niche or industry to do a guest blog for you. Plenty of smaller influencers and experts will jump at the chance to work with a brand, especially if it gets their voice out there.
  • Repurpose and republish content. Take a look at some of your old posts. Revise and update the ones that have worked well in the past and that are still relevant or evergreen today. Use elements from your large older pieces to create smaller new ones.
  • Interview your staff or customers. This can be a faster way to get your hands on some quality insight, and you can publish the interview across different formats and platforms: video, audio, meme, blog post.

Buffer does this kind of thing well, as does Hubspot with their creative and in-depth posts that are often republished.

2. User-generated content and social proof

User-generated content is often considered an easy and affordable way to generate compelling content, yet you still need to go about it intelligently to generate good social proof.

Here are a couple of ideas:

  • If someone has posted a great photo of your product, ask to repost it on your own social channels, and make sure to include a reference back to the original author. This will provide great exposure to smaller profiles, and most people will agree to it.
  • After making a sale, ask your customers to leave a review – you can do this via email, providing a straightforward review form.

A lot of brands do this kind of review-gathering, such as Juvia’s Place and Colorpop, who post user reviews with their products. Or you can create an entire review section on your homepage, like Zoma.
Brands like Kmart and Mazda, showcase visual user-generated content prominently to inspire and convince consumers to purchase, but also to share photos of their purchases on social media.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is still the most cost-effective marketing tactic.

Now that you can automate it almost entirely, it requires far less effort than content marketing, and it can yield incredible results.

Here’s how to make it work:

  • Segment your list well. If you send everyone the same kind of email, you won’t be making too much headway.
  • Personalize as much as you can. Go beyond the use of someone’s first name, and try to reference previous purchases, likes, etc. Offer recommendations based on items already purchased, send personalized alerts to new products, and so on.
  • Don’t be too pushy. Limit the number of emails you send out, and only email your leads when you have something to say, and not every time you need a sale.

You can also boost your email collection efforts by offering discounts, like Transparent Labs does, or just offer a very straightforward email signup option, like Podio.

On the other hand, you might want to forgo the OptinMonster pop-ups.

4. Referral marketing

Referral marketing is another cost-effective way to gather leads without actually having to go out looking for them.

The simplest way to do it is to partner with companies who are either complementary to what you do or adjacent to your niche. For example, if you sell sneakers, a brand that sells socks might be a good referral partner.

You can, of course, do some sort of affiliate program as well, where you will give a percentage of your earnings to a website that sends you converting traffic. Make sure you scale these percentages well, so as not to end up paying too much for low-value referrals.

Here’s an excellent example from Elemental Labs, which partners with gyms very intelligently – among others, the company chooses to work with martial arts gyms that are in line with their brand story and brand imagery.

5. Social media marketing

Finally, social media is always a great marketing strategy to reach for, and it can also be very cost-effective.

  • Make sure you use original and interesting imagery with your posts, as posts with images perform much better than those without, on any platform.
  • Try out networks you may not have thought of before: like Pinterest.
  • Boost the reach of your posts. Very little money can go a very long way on social media, especially if you target the right audience.
  • Keep your posts diverse. Make sure you come up with different post ideas and not keep posting the same kind of stuff all the time.

Dove has recently done some great things with their #ShowUs campaign (hint: user-generated content), and we all love what NASA and Disney+ are doing too.

Final thoughts

The thing about digital marketing is that it doesn’t need to cost much to be incredibly effective. What it will cost you is a lot of creativity and time to come up with ideas that will appeal to your audience. But remember, as long as you know what makes your customers and leads click, and if you can reach them there, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get impactful results.

Travis Jamison

Founder @ Smash.VC

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