5 Cost-Effective Marketing Hacks to Help Reach (and Keep) Your Customers

Looking for cost-effective ways to boost awareness? Simple marketing hacks that are based on real behavioral psychology may help you refresh your brand.
Author, Profit First
January 27, 2017

There's nothing like a new year to inspire new outreach efforts. But many of us don't have the cash lying around to throw at a fancy marketing firm. For those of us without a huge budget, marketing hacks can help us ramp up our marketing game without spending a fortune! 

Here are some of the marketing hacks I plan to employ in 2017:

1. Showing your customers how much you like them.

Most of the time, this is no problem for me; I genuinely do like my customers, and I feel honored that they give me their business. 

However, when I'm slammed with too much on my plate, it's easy to feel a little frustration at customers' special requests or demands on my time and attention. (I suspect this is a common problem.) 

If we believe that our friends patronize a business, we are more likely to spend our money there as well. The trouble is that many companies don't use the power of social proof.

But here's why liking your customers—and making sure they know you like them—matters: In Robert Cialdini's book Pre-Suasion, he explains a critical concept. Consumers are far more likely to buy from people we like, which isn't a huge surprise. What is surprising is the degree to which we place subconscious importance on whether we believe the person selling likes us. If we perceive that the salesperson likes us, we are far more likely to buy, at least in part because we believe that people who like us will look out for our interests, according to Cialdini. 

I resolve to get to know my customers, find out what we share in common and strengthen my personal relationships with them.

2. Leveraging social proof in a fun and novel way. 

If we believe that our friends patronize a business, we are more likely to spend our money there as well. The trouble is that many companies don't use the power of social proof. They typically rely on a tired testimonial on the last page of a website to convey their popularity. 

What I plan to do is find new ways to bring in and share evidence of my companies' relevance in my clients' lives. Whether you offer discounts to anyone who posts pictures wearing your logo T-shirt or you have a contest to see who can take your branded giveaways to the furthest vacation destination—with proof on social media, of course—consider finding a way to get your customers involved in sharing their love for your business. Getting your customers to market for you can be a great marketing hack!

3. Playing with your fonts. 

Roger Dooley's Brainfluence gets credit for exploring the importance of font to consumers' buying habits. As far as marketing hacks go, this can be an inexpensive yet effective one: You'd be amazed at the massive difference a simple font change on your website or promotional materials could make. 

If you're looking to elicit a simple action—"call for a consultation," "order now," "try our new product"—then you may be better off using a super-simple, clear font. People who feel bogged down by processing a hard-to-read font may be less likely to answer your call to action. 

Conversely, if you're selling a high-end, technical product, selecting a font that requires a little more work from readers can make them feel more invested in the experience of learning more. In turn, they may be more likely to purchase.

4. Growing your social media presence. 

I'm sure you've heard this advice thousands of times, but that's because it's so important. If you're not using social media at all, you may want to reconsider that choice. 

If you're using it a little, consider ramping it up. If you're already pretty active, try finding ways to actively target your specific audience better. 

5. Leveraging FOMO. 

When I first saw this abbreviation, I had no idea what it meant—but believe me, it's a phenomenon you're familiar with. Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) can help turn prospects into clients. 

Regardless of your industry or business model, consider using FOMO as one of your marketing hacks. Run a retail website? You could display a countdown that shows how much longer a customer has in order to get delivery by a certain date. Have a retail store? Put out a limited number of high-profit monthly specials, and make sure your customers know that when the items are gone, they're gone for good. Run an accounting firm? Offer a discount for clients who sign up for a new service before a certain date. I plan on making much better use of FOMO in the future.

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Photo: iStock
Author, Profit First