What can you learn from other savvy businesses on how to do marketing on a budget?

There are businesses that we know, love  and work with that come up with some ingenious ideas to spread word of their business on a real budget. Rather than get down in the dumps about not having big advertising budgets, they come up with more creative and budget effective solutions to make the world hear about their brand.
Inspired by this we’ve put together The Nurture Network’s round-up of 7 practical ideas to get your creative juices flowing, including some great tools to do it such as Brand Gathering :
People love free stuff
There’s a simple fact in the marketing world; people love freebies.  Everyday there are thousands of events and competitions going on and most will be after products or services which they can give away for free at the lowest possible cost to them, to their visitors or customers. If you’re a new brand, particularly one with a physical product to give away then be sure to tap into this opportunity, and if you’re stuck with who to approach, use Brand Gathering to find brands to collaborate with.
Cross promote activities online
Successful businesses build engaged communities around their brands and convert customers into brand advocates who amplify their brand and marketing messages to a wider audience. One of the most effective ways of doing this is via social media and a great starting point is by identifying who the ‘influencers’ are in your community and establishing how you can bring value to each others propositions. Consider how you could utilise opportunities like Small Business Saturday – a popular #hashtag on twitter – that can help you gain business exposure for free.
Be the good guy
Sponsoring events and individuals can be a fantastic way of generating press coverage on a budget. Just before the London 2012 Olympics, Team GB’s sprinter James Ellington had no funding and put himself up for auction on eBay. After falling victim to a hoax bid, King of Shaves CEO Will King stepped in and sponsored the athlete. The story resulted in hundreds of column inches and gave the King of Shaves brand global coverage, while at the same time a promising young athlete got to live his London 2012 dream.
Editorial coverage
Most publications are looking for great stories and thought leadership so why not write an article and send it out to the press. Recently the co-founder behind the popular beer company BrewDog turned heads in the marketing world when they shunned advertising and said they wanted nothing to do with traditional marketing methods. Instead they have focused on marketing the brand by making headlines rather than just buying advertising space and will soon be turning their attention to their own TV channel to promote their activities.
Exchange of goods and services
One of the most obvious and lowest cost ways to gain publicity is by considering exchanging products or services for marketing coverage. One example is Piktochart, a SaaS infographic service which recently ran a promotion offering a 6 month free contract extension for any existing users who would provide testimonials for their website and social media platforms. The cost implications of such an approach are minimal compared to traditional media and if the proposal is mutually beneficial many suppliers are likely to consider your offer.
Rewards for peer referrals
Healthy food brand Graze have created a unique URL for every Graze customer which can be shared with friends via emails, social media and printed token slips. Your friend gets to enjoy a free box and a further fifty percent off their next order while when they place an order you as the referee are given the option to choose between a discount on next delivery or to donate a pound straight to a charity.
Coverage for equity
One of high-growth organic baby food brands Ella’s Kitchens earliest strategic decisions was to form a partnership with the children’s television channel Nickelodeon whereby Ella’s Kitchen received advertising time on their television channels in return for revenue share. This can work on multiple levels, so if the national media opportunity sounds unachievable consider local publications or events with the right target audience for your brand and see if they would consider a coverage-for-equity deal.
 
Written by Christina Richardson, a business marketing specialist and founder of The Nurture Network: The on-demand marketing department for ambitious start-ups, and entrepreneurial SMEs  – bringing great marketing people into your team just when you need them.