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9 Ways To Do Super Effective Marketing Without Spending A Lot

9 Ways To Do Super Effective Marketing Without Spending A Lot
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Are you overspending on marketing?

Most entrepreneurs and companies know they can significantly cut their marketing costs by implementing a few smart marketing strategies. With so many marketing tools to choose from, and self-proclaimed marketing gurus telling you different things, it’s hard to know what to do.

With years of experience in the marketing realm, from helping run Kickstarter campaigns that generated over $600,000 to being acting president of San Diego Digital Marketing Experts, I know the ins and outs of effective marketing. I didn’t start with a huge budget; in fact, I started with zero and worked my way up.

Here are the nine more effective strategies I used to be a marketing baller on a budget:

1. Run a Facebook sweepstakes.

hidrateme facebook sweepstake

    Facebook sweepstakes are an easy way to capture leads while creating a viral effect. They are my go-to for attracting new business. It doesn’t take much time to set up an effective sweepstakes, and if you partner with another business to give away prizes, you can take your marketing results up a couple of notches. The best part of running a Facebook sweepstakes is that it promotes word-of-mouth referrals to help increase brand awareness.

    If you’re looking for a more exciting way to grow your company, I suggest 22Social for your sweepstakes. 22Social is the all-in-one solution for tight budgets because it enables you to sell digital products, implement a referral process, create digital courses, hold podcasts, and integrate Facebook live Hangouts all for under $29/month.

    2. Encourage user-generated content.

    Promoting a hashtag on Instagram or Twitter can do wonders for your brand. This strategy helps build community, gives you great content to re-post, and generates more followers. To get a head start on seeing what hashtags you should be implementing, check out Topsy. The software allows you to analyze almost any term on Twitter while giving you detailed analytics on trends.

    Be aware that your followers won’t just use your hashtag because it looks cool. You need to give them something in return. This is why syncing user-generated content with a giveaway can be quite powerful. If not a giveaway, then you can re-post your followers’ content as a reward.

    3. Implement an easy referral process.

    One of the best marketing tactics that costs almost nothing is implementing a referral process. Instead of spending money on ads to acquire new customers, why not get your current customers to acquire new customers for you?

    By setting up a quick “Terms & Services” document and using a simple plugin like WordPress Affiliate or 22Social, creating a referral process can take less than a couple of hours. Moreover, your customers will be excited because it’s a way they can get something in return for sharing a brand they already love.

    4. Don’t spread yourself too thin.

    I see marketers lose most of their money because they spread themselves too thin. Instead of conquering Facebook, then Instagram, then YouTube, they try to dominate every social media channel at once. The truth is that each channel requires careful calculation and precision marketing.

    All you need is one steady channel of traffic that converts into paying customers for you to have a successful business. Social media is a complex world, and it’s much easier to understand when you approach it one channel at a time.

    5. Utilize brand ambassadors.

    Brand ambassadors can shoulder some of the marketing. By giving your ambassadors special bonuses to encourage them to advertise your company, you can acquire not only more customers but create an incredible community.

    Be selective when hiring brand ambassadors because they are the face of your company. A bad brand ambassador can turn even the most profitable company upside down. A great example of brand ambassadors is Apple Store employees. They are the Apple know-it-alls and live and die by the brand.

    6. Find your voice.

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    Chubbies shorts

      The biggest problem facing most companies is that they can’t differentiate themselves. In other words, they can’t find their unique voice. Instead of setting their brand apart, they copy what others do. Copying is easier, but it doesn’t leave a positive or memorable impression of your brand. Best part: being unique is free.

      Chubbies does an excellent job at making their advertisements stand out. Take a look at how the Facebook Ad above speaks directly to their audience.

      7. Use low-cost tools.

      There are many inexpensive and even free tools out there that can effectively run your marketing like an expert. Some of the best tools include a free MailChimp account for email marketing, a free SumoMe account for collecting email addresses, and a 60-day free trial with Basecamp, a project management software.

      If you’re interested in putting together beautiful images to post on social media, take advantage of using a free Canva account. Moreover, my favorite resource to find free stock photos is at AllTheFreeStock.com. A couple of more free tools include Grammarly, an editing tool that can clean up most of your writing mistakes, and CoSchedule, a top-notch headline analyzer for blog posts and email optins.

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      8. Don’t focus on too many metrics.

      If you’re focusing all your time on analyzing each and every metric, you’re losing out on serious business. The more time you spend analyzing numbers, the less time you devote to landing clients and creating value. To minimize your time analyzing, keep the metrics you concentrate on to just the click-through rates and conversions. Anything more, and you should probably add another team member to help you with your workload.

      9. Reach out to relevant influencers.

      Reaching out to relevant influencers to get them to promote your product in exchange for a gift can give you a boost in both credibility and customers. It’s as simple as sending a message on Instagram to an influencer in your niche to get them to use your product in an upcoming picture. They get the product for free, and you get an influx of traffic.
      Remember, never reach out with a what-you-can-do-for-me attitude. Always start with what’s in it for them. If you take this approach, you’re more likely to get responses. Two great tools for finding influencers are Topsy (mentioned earlier) and BuzzSumo. BuzzSumo has a free version that allows for limited search; the tool focuses on analyzing content, what’s trending, and what’s highly shared.
      Ready to start marketing on a budget like an expert?

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      Published on July 27, 2021

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

      15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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      During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

      But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

      Put the Pro in Professional

      After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

      1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

      The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

      Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

      2. Dress the Part

      While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

      Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

      For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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      Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

      3. Stage Your Workspace

      Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

      Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

      4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

      Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

      Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

      Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

      Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

      5. Arrive on Time

      In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

      Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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      6. Turn on Your Video

      Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

      If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

      Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

      7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

      Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

      Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

      Attend to the Pesky Details

      8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

      With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

      Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

      9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

      Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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      Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

      10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

      As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

      Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

      Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

      Talking Has a Time and a Place

      11. Chat Appropriately

      Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

      At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

      12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

      The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

      Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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      13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

      In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

      Manage Yourself

      14. Minimize Distractions

      While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

      Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

      15. Save Snacking for Later

      Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

      However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

      Final Thoughts

      Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

      Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

      Reference

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