It gets a tad tiresome seeing marketing and advertising watchers reward the same big companies for their amazing digital marketing and online branding. Each time we read those articles, you can almost hear the collective chorus of small business owners say, “Yeah, well, if I had that big advertising budget, I could do the same thing.” Buck up little campers — you can play the marketing game just like the big boys, and for next to nothing. We’ve rounded up some of the best marketing ideas from heavy-hitting brands and came up with ways to copy their campaigns on the cheap.
Get Liked like Corona Light: Last year, the lower-calorie version of everybody’s favorite chips and salsa beer launched a campaign to become America’s most “Liked” light beer. The company bribed beer drinkers and Facebookers alike with free merchandise and fancy trips — and it worked. The company has garnered nearly 300,000 Facebook likes under its belt. So while you might not be able to give away trips to get likes for your Facebook page, we’re sure you have something to entice FBers to like your page. From free cocktails to free tickets, every business has something to give away and we’ve seen small businesses thrive using the bribes for Likes model Corona popularized.
Tap into Radio Shack’s Superpowers: The electronics retailer made headlines with its campaign last year that turned Twitter followers into superheros with a sponsored hashtag — #ifihadsuperpowers. Followers sent in photos on Twitter and lucky winners were featured in a Radio Shack video and even got goodies. While sponsored hashtags ain’t cheap (about $15,000 and up), hosting interactive photo contests on Twitter is nearly free. A catering friend of ours had a Twitter photo contest with her followers where users sent in pics of their favorite dishes and the winners won free meals. She had over 100 entries! Not bad for a one-woman operation.
Give Old Spice the Rinse Off: Almost no small business owner I know can replicate the viral success of the Old Spice commercials. After all, that’s a pricey, carefully-orchestrated campaign. But everybody can make eye-catching videos if they have good ideas and a tiny budget. Hint to video success: Craigslist an ad for free or cheap filmmaker to help make your ad and you’ll be surprised how many young artists will work on campaigns just to help their portfolio grow. Plus, budding film auteurs know that a good viral project can put them on the map.
Mega-brand Marketing Synergy: Pepsi, Levis and the like all have these incredible digital presences that seem to cover YouTube, Facebook, email marketing and every other base imaginable. And this wide-reaching digital dominance is something your brand can definitely do! The big boys put links to their social media pages in the email newsletters and links to their blog on their YouTube channel while their websites have ways to reach all of the channels. Become your own Oprah and have your videos, social media and email marketing all working for your brand and website. All this requires is time spent, creativity, and a no-stone-left-unturned attitude.
Now get out there and start marketing like the big boys!