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While much of SME online marketing tends to focus on building brand awareness though buying impressions or publishing display ads, here are hacks and tricks that can save you vast sums of adverting dollars in a, most likely, highly saturated marketplace.

Word-of-mouth / referral programme

Incentivise satisfied end-users to invite friends to book a demo, sign-up or buy a product – this could be in form of a discounted rate, cash-back, or extra service – and they will become some of your best brand ambassadors.  A friend’s recommendation carries more weight and is more compelling that costly advertising spends.

This tactic of building referral networks or strategic partnerships works well in the B2B space by targeting businesses which work with similar client bases and offer a complementary service that is not in direct competition to your own – effectively you can leverage their relationship with their client and use their introduction as a tactic endorsement. Leads could be exchanged as and when either you or your partner comes across a suitable fit – or financial incentives could be offered. Partnerships could also take the form of publishing content on each other’s blogs or platform and granting access to their client base e.g., through their newsletter or social media feed.

Podcasts / guest spots

Whether starting your company’s own podcast – perhaps interviewing other industry thought leaders or entrepreneurs – or being interviewed or taking part in a panel discussion, podcasts serve to cast you in the light of an industry expert thereby subtly promoting your service. Certain industries are over-saturated by podcasts so maybe worth either going very niche or seeking out invitations to participate in such discussions. In a similar vein, it could be work seeking social media influencers to review your service or interview you.

Create original, memorable content

Rather than typical content marketing, which aims to created useful, relevant content with addresses the questions, concerns or pain points of a particular niche. To make a memorable impression, think highly visual or interactive content that delivers an experience (rather than emphasises insight). Weave various themes into compelling story-telling narratives to encourage your audience to reflect on issues and difficulties they face, evoke strong emotions and take them on a journey involving parallel challenges to those faced by their business and, ultimately, offer a possible solution.

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