18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses

For small businesses, marketing is important but also can feel out of budget.

About one in five small businesses doesn’t use digital marketing, while about one in 10 doesn’t invest in any kind of marketing.

But this doesn’t have to be your small business.

About 47 percent of businesses spend less than $10,000 on digital marketing per year.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to make an impact with potential customers and brand yourself online.

The following are 18 low-cost marketing ideas for small businesses that you can try without breaking the bank.

Embrace social media for low-cost marketing

Social media is an excellent way to:

  • Express your brand’s identity
  • Create trusting relationships with your audience
  • Build up your online community
  • Establish yourself as an expert in your industry and/or community

All of these benefits can ultimately help you grow your small business. 

While all the major social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and so on) are free to create business accounts on and use, it’s worthwhile to analyze where your time and focus is best spent.

In other words, consider where your target audience is and what resources you have in your favor. If you’re not ready for a full YouTube video channel yet, for example, start with occasional live videos on your Facebook page to get your feet wet.

See our guide to help you decide where to start on social media.

Remember that once you choose where to start, you can use your social media to:

  • Promote any blog posts that can drive traffic to your website
  • Engage with your audience (such as responding to any direct messages or comments)
  • Request feedback, helping your customers feel heard and cared about
  • And more!

Just be consistent and active on any profiles/pages you’re managing.

Smaller but other low-cost tactics you can embrace specifically on social media include:

  • Tagging people (such as loyal customers) and other brands, which can help grow your organic reach on any platform
  • Using hashtags, which are particularly helpful on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok

Create your Google My Business account

If you’re a business with a fixed location that needs to appeal to local customers, a Google My Business account is critical to create and optimize.

It’s essentially a free online listing that helps your business appear on Google Maps, which is the local section of Google Search. You’ll also appear in the right-side knowledge panel for any branded searches, where an internet user is searching for you specifically.

To optimize your profile, be sure to verify your ownership of it first. (This is done through your Google My Business account.) Then, confirm that all contact information is correct. You also can upload photos, post an offer and encourage customers to review your business on Google.

Explore local SEO

Speaking of Google My Business, it’s important to pay extra attention to your local search engine optimization (SEO). Focusing on ways you can rank higher in local search queries in your target area is both low-cost and high-impact if done right.

You can start by:

  • Getting listed in online directories
  • Adding location-based keywords throughout your website and content

See our 11 tips for boosting your local SEO.

Commit to email marketing

While email marketing can be dismissed by some, it’s wise to embrace it. Why? To start, the return on investment is high. See 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Email is a great, inexpensive way to maintain relationships with your existing customers. It also can enable you to build trust with potential customers to the point that they will convert and purchase from your business.

Of course, it all starts with building up your email contact list whether you have a website or not. See our 12 strategies to capture more leads on your website or our six ways you can capture email leads without a website.

Then, once you have contact to send emails to, consider constructing a strong email onboarding sequence. Keep in mind that there are 10 parts in the anatomy of a marketing email that make it successful. Plus, email automation can help you engage with customers and leads at exactly the right times. If you’re considering “cold emailing,” check out our 11 tips to increase your open rate.

To dive deeper into email marketing, check out these eight recommended online courses.

(While not a traditional component of email marketing, keep in mind the opportunity to optimize all employee email signatures. Links that can be used include social media accounts, calendar meeting requests and so on.)

Focus on content marketing

Content marketing is all about attracting website traffic and social media engagement through the valuable content that you create.

While it’s always possible to hire others to create content for you, whatever you can do yourself will save you expenses on your budget.

Starting a blog is a great (and common) way to get the content wheel turning for your brand. Video content also is highly engaging. And repurposing your existing evergreen content is a great way to save on both time and money.

Remember that premium content, such as webinars or ebooks, can also directly help with lead generation.

Of course, the key to success is how you plan and promote your content. See our seven tips to level up your content marketing, and consider using a content calendar to stay organized. And if you are struggling with the creation, check out our guide on beating marketing writer’s block.

Get visual with infographics

Data lends itself to valuable content for your audience. While about 74 percent of marketing content contained a visual element in 2019, infographics specifically can increase website traffic by up to 12 percent.

Of course, hiring a designer to create infographics for you to publish and share can be costly. Fortunately, there are several low-cost and free graphic design tools that you can use to create your own for low-cost marketing.

If you don’t have any of your own data to use in an infographic, there are several open, public sources you can pull from, including:

Just make sure to credit the source of any data you use.

Claim available ad credits for low-cost marketing

Facebook, Google, Yelp and other digital advertising platforms occasionally offer free promo credits to encourage businesses to advertise with them. Whether it’s a discount or a free amount of advertising, it’s important to pay attention to these offers so that you can take advantage.

Read any fine print associated with available offers, and review our guide on the difference between cost-per-click and cost-per-impression advertising. Plus, check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget so that you can maximize whatever amount of money to do decide to spend (or get the most out of the advertising credits offered).

Apply for relevant business awards

Business awards don’t just happen. Whether it’s in your community or nationwide, there traditionally is an application and/or nomination process.

Either way, it’s worthwhile to engage in the award process because winning an award is low-cost marketing at its core, but you also can include a mention or badge on your website that acts as social proof of your authority and trustworthiness.

Awards can be industry-wise or community “best of.”

See more options to build up your social proof that can help drive sales, plus social proof tools that can help.

Get creative with guerilla marketing

Guerilla marketing is all about creativity over money. There is no limit to what you can do with guerilla marketing. Whether it’s sidewalk chalk promoting your business around the block from your location or placing stickers all over town simply to catch people’s eye.

It doesn’t take much, money-wise, but the important part is to be as creative as possible to get attention for your brand for this low-cost marketing tactic.

Partner up with other businesses

Just because you own a small business doesn’t mean that you’re alone. There’s strength in numbers.

Partnering with other businesses is about building mutually beneficial relationships, whether it’s for a special event, placing business cards in each other’s locations or something more. This can expose your brand to an entirely new audience and vice versa.

Make sure to research the business you’re considering partnering with, determine how you can best work together and clarify the expectations between the two of you for this form of low-cost marketing.

Encourage employees to be brand ambassadors

Another form of social proof, word-of-mouth advertising is both affordable and effective. Brand ambassadors are individuals who care about your brand and promote it personally to those they know. 

Employees, who have a natural interest in the success of your business, are great candidates for this form of low-cost marketing. An example of a brand ambassador campaign is an invite-only “friends and family” sale that your employees can promote among their social networks.

If you want to go a step further than encouraging your employees to be brand ambassadors, consider exploring influencer marketing. You’ll definitely want a plan that can keep overall expenses to a minimum, though.

Set up a referral program for low-cost marketing

Again, word of mouth is powerful. You can support this tactic by setting up a referral program for your existing customers.

About 77 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a new product if their friends or family recommend it.

Of course, you can decide the parameters of your program, whether it’s a free product, discount or something else to reward customers for referring others to your business. Make sure that your system has a way of tracking and even automating the referral rewards as much as possible.

Host classes or events

While hosting a class or event could easily break your budget, it’s also possible to keep the cost under control. Focus on your expertise and strength (as well as the needs of your target audience), consider whether there is a registration fee or not tied to the class or event and then promote, promote, promote to get the benefits of this low-cost marketing tactic.

Fortunately, you can share the event on social media in a number of different ways, including creating a Facebook event and/or building an entire “countdown” campaign to generate excitement. While low-tech, clear and eye-catching fliers can be effective when placed in areas that are well seen by your target audience.

Start small, and with each class or event, you can pivot and improve each time.

Create a contest or giveaway

Everyone appreciates winning a prize. The important part about hosting any giveaway or content is to determine what is appealing enough as a prize that will draw engagement and attention in this low-cost marketing method.

Your prize doesn’t have to be very expensive, and ideally, it should be a bit of a wash on your budget. Depending on the user, even some branded swag could be enough. Just think through it because every brand is different, and what would appeal to your target audience can vary.

The goal is typically lead generation, brand awareness or both, so think through the type of contest/giveaway that can help you achieve your goal. For example, you could host a business card drawing using a fishbowl in your business or post a social media style contest. It all depends on what works for your brand and resources.

Then, be sure to include relevant terms and conditions for your giveaway that satisfy local legal requirements tied to operating a contest or giveaway in your state or country.

Consider affiliate marketing

Affiliate marketing is about creating additional revenue streams for your small business, where an affiliate (you and/or your small business) earns a commission for marketing another’s products.

More than 80 percent of brands have affiliate programs, so there are a lot of opportunities out there. 

And affiliate marketing is especially low-risk (and a great method of low-cost marketing). Either you’re successful and generate a commission or you’re not. There is no upfront cost (outside of your time and effort spent marketing the affiliate offer). As long as you find the right fit for your own brand and audience, there is a real potential for achieving additional revenue.

Dive deeper with our affiliate marketing tips that can help you get started.

Tout your expertise

Whether you’re speaking at an event, appearing on a panel or guest writing for publications and/or blogs, seeking opportunities to get your name (and the name of your business) out there through appearances elsewhere both in-person and online can expose your brand to new audiences.

You also can answer questions on platforms like Quora, joining HARO or being active on online forums that are relevant to your industry.

Sharing your expertise is a form of low-cost marketing.

See our 10 tips to build your personal brand and grow your business as a result.

Offer free trials, samples or other types of coupons

It might sound counterproductive to give a service or product away, but free trials or samples are a great way to help convert potential customers in this method of low-cost marketing.

It falls into the category of “try before you buy.”

Of course, there also are platforms like Groupon that you can explore as well if it makes sense for your brand. You’re essentially being paid for leads that are then up to you to convert.

Start your own podcast

While an initial investment in equipment might be needed, starting and maintaining your own podcast is more about time than money.

Perhaps you already have an idea of the type of podcast you want to create and are ready to jump in, but beware: It’s estimated that there are at least 1.75 million shows already (and they’re definitely not all delivering on the invested time and resources). 

Learn more about how to start your first podcast.

For more tips overall, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you’re exploring low-cost marketing methods, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Premium content: What it is and how you can leverage it in your marketing

If content is king, then what would premium content be?

Content marketing itself is increasingly important for businesses to embrace in a digital world. Think of your website (or even your social media accounts) as a planet. Your content being the gravitational pull that generates traffic and engagement. 

Then, of course, we leverage that traffic and engagement to fuel conversions, which equates to sales and boosting our bottom line.

The most common types of content include:

  • Blog articles
  • Graphic illustrations
  • Videos
  • GIFs

What is premium content?

Premium content then is original information that is valuable enough for website visitors (or social media users) to provide their contact information to get it. 

To be more specific, premium content:

  • Answers common questions you encounter in your industry
  • Dives deeper into a topic to deliver knowledge
  • Offers tips and advice that can be acted on
  • Addresses challenges that your customers and potential customers face
  • Is relevant to the needs and wants of your customers and potential customers

How you package your premium content can vary. Some common types include:

  • Webinar, which is a video web presentation typically hosted by an expert in the industry sharing a presentation slide deck. It can be presented live and/or recorded and available long after the webinar is over.
  • eBook, which is a PDF that’s usually about a few dozen pages long. It’s very visual with professionally designed pages (including a cover). It’s ideal to include your pitch and contact information at the end of an ebook.
  • White paper, which is an in-depth evaluation of a topic in PDF format that includes expert research and is usually six to 12 pages in length.
  • Template, which gives customers or potential customers frameworks for creating something (like a content calendar, for example). This is usually offered in PDF format.
  • Interactive tools, which help measure or assess something (like a special calculator, for example). You might need to do some programming for this type of premium content.

Of course, to access premium content, visitors should fill out a web form with their name and email address at the very least. But it’s up to you if you’d like to collect more information up front, such as company name, profession, phone number, zip code, etc.

Just keep in mind that the more information you require, the lower the conversion rate of your premium content (no matter how appealing it might be).

After submitting the web form, users should immediately receive the premium content through a link or email.

5 ways to leverage premium content in your marketing

Beyond the tips below that are specific to marketing your premium content, check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing as well.

On your website

The homepage of your website is prime real estate to promote your premium content and is often the most trafficked page of many websites.

You also can use pop-up or slide-in ads on your website. The advantage of these is that they can appear on any of your web pages after a set amount of time.

Plus, very simple in-line links within other content can also be helpful. You can highlight and feature selected portions of your premium content in blogs, for example.

No matter how you promote on your website, make sure that your call-to-action button is bold and attention-grabbing.

Email promotion

Depending on your goals, email promotion may or may not make sense. If lead generation is the goal, then you would be promoting your premium content to contacts you already have.

But if it makes sense to do so, you can share teasers of your premium content in your regular email newsletter and other marketing emails.

Social media

Organic social media posts are a great way to promote your content to potential leads you’ve never come into contact with before. You can even encourage your staff to share the premium content link on their social media channels. And paid social media campaigns can help you target your ads even further to those who are most likely to engage with you.

Google

You can use Google AdWords to target the promotion of your content to internet users based on their search intent. 

In addition, you can try Google Display Ads, which allow you to target websites, apps and videos that are part of the Google Display Network. 

Print advertising

It may sound archaic, but there might be some print advertising opportunities to explore, depending on your target audience.

We recommend including a QR code in your print ad so that those interested can easily give you their contact information and download your content. 

While you’re exploring how to best promote your premium content, consider leveling up your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 things fitness professionals should know about marketing

Joining the fitness industry typically means that you’re passionate about helping people.

It doesn’t always mean that you’re a digital marketing genius.

Whether you’re the best personal trainer, group trainer and/or gym owner, you must be able to get the word out about your facilities, services and skills. Otherwise, your fitness business is only going to go so far.

Especially when you’re already contending against the natural industry trend of high turnover. About 50 percent of all new gym members quit going within six months.

So, while you’re honing your fitness expertise and becoming the best trainer you can be, take note of these six things every fitness professional should know about digital marketing. Embracing any or all of these tips will only strengthen your fitness business.

Know your target audience

This recommendation expands far beyond just fitness professionals marketing themselves and/or their gym. 

It’s imperative for successful digital marketing on any medium and with any campaign.

The obvious temptation when it comes to answering the question, “Who are you trying to reach?” leads to the answer: “Everyone.”

Resist this temptation. 

Striving to reach (and appeal to) everyone is generic and will yield lackluster results. When you’re trying to engage everyone, you might as well reach no one.

Why? A few reasons.

  1. You likely already have a specific niche within your own fitness expertise.
  2. Potential customers want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them and the problems they’re looking to solve. If your message is more of a broad stroke than a targeted bullseye, you won’t stand out from the noise they’re exposed to daily.
  3. No one converts “everyone.” So, step out of that mindset. You’ll find more success targeting a specific group of people. 

Now that we’ve addressed the “everyone” temptation, you need to ask yourself: “Who am I really trying to reach?” If that’s a difficult question to answer, then ask yourself: “Who is my ideal client?” 

Of course, the characteristics could cover age, gender, average income, geographic location, whether they have children or any other lifestyle demographics. If you already have an existing client database, dive in to find out more about who already is paying you. If you’re about to launch your fitness business, think about what makes your services stand out and go from there.

Knowing your target audience for your fitness marketing also will save you time and money because you’ll only invest resources in the methods and mediums that make sense for who you’re trying to reach and convert.

Embrace social media

Whether you like it, love it, hate it or can simply co-exist with it, social media is a must for fitness professionals. Millennials and Gen Z now make up about 80 percent of gym goers worldwide.

That’s right.

And not surprisingly, most social media users also are Millennials and Gen Z.

So, if you’ve been lagging on your social media presence, now is the time to recommit. 

Of course, there are a number of social media platforms. Instagram and Facebook are obvious choices to focus on. If you need help deciding where to start, check out our guide.

But no matter what platform you focus on, quality content rules. It’s your personality, authenticity and expertise that will set you apart from the noise.

Plan out your content ideas in advance, using a content calendar if possible to stay organized. Ideas can include fitness tips (keep it simple yet visual), exercise or workout ideas, Live broadcasts, AMAs (Ask Me Anything posts), behind the scenes content and so on.

Social media is truly the space where you can project your expertise and set yourself up as an industry thought leader.

But the most important aspect of your content is that it reflects you. People can’t connect with you if you’re hiding behind a brand or pretending to be anything other than who you are.

Then, commit to a publishing frequency that works for you. You can also increase it if needed.

Yes, email marketing is a thing

Assuming that email is a marketing tool of the past? Think again.

In fact, we have 48 email marketing statistics that show this method is alive and well. Plus, the benefits are undeniable. Email marketing is affordable, easy to do and measurable.

Whether you’re creating and sending out a weekly email newsletter with fitness content or something else, you can start collecting email addresses even without a website (although a website can be very helpful).

If you do have a website, check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying your visitors

Remember that you want to offer value in every email you send. That could be educational content or even promotional content (such as a limited-time discount).

See the anatomy of an effective marketing email so that you can make an impact from the start.

Consider offering premium content

While it might seem counterintuitive to offer premium content for free, it’s a fantastic way to generate client leads and establish yourself as an expert in the fitness industry.

Premium content can include ebooks, whitepapers and so on. It typically features a deeper dive into a topic and is of high value to your target audience.

Offering a 30-day nutritional challenge ebook, for example, can be appealing to your target audience, and giving it away as a free download can capture more email leads that you can follow up with.

No matter what, it will only boost your brand’s value.

Feature your credentials

The fitness industry is a crowded field with a lot of competition. Reminding your audience of your certifications and credentials as often as possible will help you stand out.

You’re not just another Instagram face in the crowd. You have real expertise through any number of certifications that you’ve worked hard for. And this knowledge can better help your clients achieve their goals.

Of course, your website can help feature those credentials, but you also can include relevant mentions in your social media content and social media bios.

Get creative! Your expertise (and the perception of which) is built on that foundation.

Have a fitness marketing strategy

Posting inconsistently without a thought-out plan is not going to help you achieve your fitness business goals.

It’s important to sit down and think through:

  • Who am I trying to reach?
  • What platforms are they using?

Then, think about what type of content they’ll find engaging (images, videos, articles, etc.) and what problems or needs you can serve with your content.

Start off slow and simple with your plan and measure everything along the way. What’s working? What’s not? Then, you can use those insights from the data to further inform your plan and overall strategy.

As you get more comfortable, you can add in more frequent content and additional platforms if you like.

As you’re exploring digital marketing for your fitness business, check out our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

Then, consider the strength of your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation capabilities, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Competitive analysis: What it is and how you can start yours

How often do you perform a competitive analysis for your brand?

If the answer is “not often” or “never,” your business is missing out on valuable insights. 

About 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies practice some form of competitive analysis regularly.

A competitive analysis is essentially a strategy where you identify your competitors and research their products/services, sales and marketing strategies. Of course, your analysis can be as simple or as complex as you need to satisfy your goals behind it.

For example, perhaps you’re only interested in how your competitors are approaching the overall design and usability of their websites. Or, you want to evaluate a more broad look at their overall digital marketing strategies.

It all depends on what you’re hoping to discover with each analysis.

Researching your competition can help you:

  • Discover new trends
  • Anticipate shifts in the market
  • Find successful tactics
  • Stay on the cutting edge within your industry

A true (and effective) competitive analysis is more than just surfing the social media accounts of your competition and subscribing to their email lists. The following are seven recommended steps you can take to start your first competitive analysis as it relates to marketing specifically.

Step #1: Identify your competitors

You likely are already aware of your top two or three competitors. But if you’re struggling to fill out a list of six to 12 for the most effective sampling in your competitive analysis, consider searching on Google, Amazon and/or even Alexa for products or services that are similar to yours.

Just make sure that the competitors you choose:

  • Have a similar business premise
  • Sell similar products or services
  • Target similar audience demographics
  • Range from well-established brands to newcomers in the market
  • Are within a relevant geographical location as you (if you are a hyper local business)

The more similar you can find, the more relevant your analysis will be.

Once you’ve identified your competitors, label them either “direct” or “indirect,” where direct competitors offer a product or service that could pass as a similar substitute (like Coca-Cola and Pepsi) and indirect competitors offer products that are not the same but could satisfy the same customer need or solve the same problem (like Walmart and GNC).

This will help you weigh the insights and data you gather in your analysis. While direct competitors are a higher priority, you can still learn a ton from your indirect competitors as well.

Step #2: Create a spreadsheet

Documentation is a must but can be organized in a very customized way, depending on your preferences. There are various tools and templates available online that can help get you started.

However, key pieces of information about your competitors that could include are:

  • Target customers
  • Main “claim to fame” (or market differentiator)
  • Key features or benefits of their products/services
  • Price points for their products/services
  • Website features, which include the design, layout, search tools, imagery and so on
  • Customer experience features, including how customers can check out, overall customer support, any mobile apps and so on
  • Social media approach, such as the platforms used, posting frequency, overall engagement
  • Content marketing tactics, such as blog and/or vlog topics, content types and so on
  • Overall marketing tactics, such as the types of promotions being run, types of discounts (and their frequency) and so on
  • Customer reviews

Again, every competitive analysis can be different, depending on your goal. If certain information is simply not relevant, leave it out.

Step #3: Determine exactly what your competitors offer and at what price

It’s important to understand the range of what is offered by your competitors and at what price (and discount).

During your research, be sure to ask:

  • What is their market share?
  • Are they pricing differently for online versus brick-and-mortar?
  • How are products and/or services distributed?

Because discounts can be at the heart of many marketing campaigns, do your best to nail down how often your competitor runs sales and how much is discounted. On the flip side, rather than a discount, perhaps perks are thrown in from time to time. Either way, it helps to understand the different promos being offered to your potential customers.

Step #4: Evaluate your competition’s overall marketing efforts

Auditing the websites and social media profiles of your competitors is one of the best ways to understand the scope of their marketing efforts.

Questions you should be asking:

  • Do they publish a blog?
  • Do they post videos or webinars?
  • Are they offering premium content, such as whitepapers or eBooks?
  • Do they have a podcast?
  • What sort of visuals are they using? Stock photos? Infographics? Custom content? Something else?
  • Do they have a FAQ section?
  • What about a media kit or case studies?
  • Any online or offline advertising campaigns running?
  • What social media platforms are they using?
  • How are they using social media? Are there different tactics being used on different platforms?
  • How big are their social media followings?
  • Are they responsive on social media? 
  • What coordinated campaigns can you find?

The more you can understand about the scope of their marketing practices, the better. But keep in mind that you’ll never have an “insider perspective” of the overall strategy. However, the benefit of being the outsider is that you’re likely only able to find what any other potential customer can find, and that’s incredibly relevant.

Step #5: Dig deeper into your competitors’ content strategy

Content is like the lifeblood of a marketing strategy. You competitor could be posting a new video every day, but if the quality is lacking, it’s simply not as impactful as it could be.

Take note of:

  • How accurate the content is
  • Any visible bylines (and whether those appear to be in-house or from contributors)
  • Whether spelling or grammar errors can be found
  • How in-depth the content is
  • Any internal or external links being used
  • Any images that are engaging or eye-catching
  • Whether you can identify a singular tone that’s being used. If so, what is it?
  • If content is readable and/or skimmable (easy to digest)
  • Specific keywords being used and how

Step #6: Understand the level of engagement visible on your competition’s content

By getting a sense of the average number of comments, shares and likes (or reactions) on your competition’s content, you’ll see if:

  • Users respond better to certain topics
  • The engagement actions are positive, negative or a mix
  • Certain calls-to-action work better than others
  • The images used help drive engagement

Of course, this research will largely focus on social media platforms, but be sure to check all published content for comment threads and the like.

Step #7: Round out your competitive analysis with a SWOT analysis concurrently

Yes, this basically means you’re doing two analyses at once. But don’t worry. A SWOT analysis is nothing more than a simplified look at your competitor’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

In essence, your competitive analysis will result in SWOT takeaways.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your competitor doing well? Any advantages over your brand?
  • Where is the weakest area for your competitor? What advantage does your brand have over the competitor?
  • What could your competitor do better with?
  • In what areas is your competitor a threat?

You can keep this SWOT strictly to marketing strategies or expand to your businesses at large. But the takeaways are something that you can then easily incorporate into your own digital marketing strategy moving forward.

See our Digital Marketing 101 to-do checklist that will help your business.

Once you’ve executed your first competitive analysis, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways to market your fitness blog

Whether you’ve already started a fitness blog or are considering it, there’s more to success than just writing and posting.

Blogging itself is definitely a valuable strategy for your fitness business, whether you’re a personal trainer, gym owner or influencer. In fact, about 80 percent of companies that use blogging as a part of their marketing strategy said they acquire customers through their blogging efforts. And about 82 percent of businesses say that blogging is critical to their business success.

But what can you do to ensure the success of your fitness blog (and therefore your business)?

The fitness industry, in general, is full of tons of people and companies offering their take on how to lose weight, live healthier and so on. It’s a noisy arena that you must cut through to find and grow an engaged audience.

First things first

Of course, key considerations to have a quality fitness blog to promote in the first place include:

Understanding your audience

Who are you writing for? What problems or obstacles are they facing? What do they care about?

Determining your niche

A fitness blog that tries to be everything for everyone is going to connect with and engage very few. What is your expertise? If you’re a nutrition expert, for example, what unique angle can you focus on? Meal planning for families? Paleo eating? Something else? Don’t be afraid to get specific. The more uniquely you can leverage your expertise, experience and even personality, the better.

Establishing your target keywords

Once you know the niche you’re pursuing, it’s time to start researching relevant keywords. Don’t get distracted by the most popular keywords. Big websites are already targeting those. Focus on long-tail keywords that might have a lower search volume but also are more easy to rank for. Need help? Check out our list of 11 free keyword research tools.

Committing to a consistent publishing schedule

Inconsistent fitness blogs will struggle to gain traction. Set a schedule that you can stick to. You can make this easier by planning topics ahead of time (i.e. a content calendar). A general rule of thumb is to strive for at least three posts per week, but ultimately, the commitment has to be something you can keep. Feel free to refer to your competition for how often they are posting and use that as a gauge as well.

Quality over quantity

While you should be posting consistently, you also have to be hyper aware of the quality of content you’re offering. In the fitness world specifically, you have to be extra cautious about offering health advice. We recommend that either you’re an expert (with a diploma or certifications) or you focus only on sharing your experiences as they pertain to health and fitness (like how you lost weight, for example). Of course, you can always hire or interview experts as well. With every post, ask yourself: “Am I helping my audience overcome their problem(s)?” The goal is to create content that is as good or better than what’s already available online.

It’s important to take your time on each of the above factors because even the best marketing strategies in the world are only going to take an unengaging, unfocused blog so far. 

The following are six ways that you can market your fitness blog.

Your SEO matters

Great search engine optimization (SEO) will reward your fitness blog with organic website traffic.

There are loosely three types of SEO techniques:

  • Technical SEO, which involves the indexing and crawling settings of your website. It’s about search engines being able to read and index your website properly. Check out our 13 tips to get Google to index your website faster.
  • On-page SEO, which involves making your web pages search-engine friendly. This involves page titles, page descriptions, text formatting, mobile optimization and so on.
  • Off-page SEO, which involves everything that’s happening outside of your website. For example, other sites linking to yours and even social media posts directing users to your fitness blog. Check out our nine tips and tricks to boost your off-page SEO.

Learn more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO, and see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Just remember that great SEO takes time and consistent effort. There are no worthwhile shortcuts that will serve your fitness blog in the long run.

Promote on social media

This method is likely obvious. Most fitness bloggers share their content on social media platforms.

Where to post

The trick is to optimize your presence on the social media platforms you’re already on, prioritize those existing accounts by where your target audience is (and is engaging with you) and decide if there are any platforms you should be on that you aren’t on yet.

(On the flip side, are you wasting your resources on any given social media platform? For example, Twitter isn’t the best platform for every business.)

We can help you determine the best platform(s) for your fitness blog promotion and goals.

How to post

As far as posting, go beyond the simple sharing of links. Identify opportunities to promote your content with visuals, whether they’re eye-catching photos or designed graphics. Canva is a free tool that can help even the self-declared non-designers design compelling images.

Just as you want to be consistent with publishing your fitness blog, you also want to be consistent (and engaged) on your chosen social media platforms. Remember that social media is a space for conversations, not just broadcasting links.

These 11 social media management tools and seven social media automation opportunities can help.

Consider an app

Creating apps for iOS and Android devices is a great alternative way to get your fitness blog discovered. While there’s definitely competition, you’ll find that it’s not as intense as the intense noise you’ll find on the world wide web.

Be sure to connect with a knowledgeable app developer that can best reflect your needs and branding.

Another bonus of this method is that anyone who downloads your app can be notified when new blogs are published.

Email marketing a must

Creating and publishing consistent content naturally leads to the need for establishing an email newsletter that website visitors can subscribe to.

Email marketing is a powerful tool. Simply refer to these 48 statistics.

Treat every email you send as an opportunity to engage with your subscribers and deliver on the promise of value your newsletter offers.

Here’s a breakdown of the anatomy of an effective marketing email. And if you’re in need of building up your subscriber list, here are 12 strategies that will help you capture email addresses without annoying all your website visitors.

Once you solidify your email marketing rhythm, consider any sale opportunities that can be mixed in. Refer to our 14 best practices for email drip campaigns for inspiration.

Look into trust badges

Because of the noise in the fitness content space, any sort of verification you can obtain to reflect the quality of your content will build trust with website visitors (who will be more likely to return if they trust you).

Regarding health and fitness specifically, consider working with Health On The Net, which is an independent nonprofit organization that promotes transparent and reliable health information online.

While trust badges won’t directly grow your fitness blog traffic, they do boost the perceived value of your website and better establish your authority in the fitness industry.

Find out more about the types of trust badges you can embed on your site

Explore what the competition is doing

The best digital marketing strategies are constantly evolving, and the fitness industry changes at an equally fast rate.

Take the time to follow your competition and other thought leaders in the fitness industry. 

How are they promoting themselves and their content? What appears to be working for them? What doesn’t seem to be working? In addition, take note of:

  • Top-ranking websites on Google in your niche
  • The type of content the top sites publish
  • How often new content is published
  • The average length of blog posts
  • What they share on social media (and how they share it)
  • Any multimedia assets used (video, images, etc.) 

This type of competitive analysis will only help inform you on alternative ideas and tactics that can influence your own fitness blog marketing.

Being engaged in your niche industry is a great way to stay on top of trends and continue to be creative with your own blogging.

To more efficiently conduct your competitive analysis, tools like Buzzsumo and Semrush can help.

In conclusion

While you’re looking to better market your fitness blog, consider DailyStory. Our digital marketing platform integrates with MindBody and Rhinofit to better serve fitness studios and gyms and offers such features as SMS text message marketing, email marketing, automation, dynamic audience segmentations and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

What is social proof? And 9 ways to use it in your digital marketing

When digging deeper into the idea of “social proof,” just remember that humans are definitely pack animals.

Psychologically speaking, humans want to fit in with the rest of the crowd, and this can affect us in many ways, particularly our consumer behavior.

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

Businesses can leverage positive social proof to influence consumer behavior and generate more sales.

About 91 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds trust online social proof reviews as much as recommendations from someone close to them, while 63 percent of consumers indicated they are more likely to purchase from a website with product ratings and reviews.

Of course, social proof is even more powerful when it comes from someone the potential customer knows. About 82 percent of Americans say they seek recommendations from friends and family before making a purchase.

The following are nine ways you can use social proof across your digital marketing channels to persuade potential customers and grow your sales.

Highlighting positive reviews

Online reviews might be the first thing you think of when it comes to social proof. You’re definitely not wrong.

Consider Yelp. Are you more likely to try the restaurant with a lot of five-star reviews or the one with none? About 88 percent of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and consumers often check at least two or three review sites before making a decision about a business.

Be the business they want to try, not the one they want to avoid.

You can do this by paying attention to more than just one review site. In other words, if you’re only focused on Yelp, you’re missing key opportunities. Google, FourSquare, even Facebook are all platforms where reviews can be made and viewed publicly about your business.

Then, highlight any relevant five-star reviews on your website, landing page or even some social media posts, depending. The more you share, the better! Don’t be shy.

To help boost your share of positive reviews, don’t be afraid to ask your customers for a review on their favorite site. This can be done with follow-up emails, signs posted in your business or even links shared on your social media. Keep your ask simple: “Support our small business by sharing your experience with us on Yelp” or whatever review site, for example.

Engaging with negative reviews

Granted, we can’t assume that all reviews will be positive. When encountering a negative review, read it thoroughly and respond. Yes, respond. Do not ignore. Acknowledge the issues or problem your reviewer encountered with your business (no matter how relevant or not). And offer a solution to his or her problem. This can be a gift card, discount or other incentive to come back and give you another shot. And this offer does not have to be worked out in a public back-and-forth. At the right time, you can say that you’ll message them directly to further resolve the problem. But it’s the initial engagement publicly that can help save a negative review from completely preventing a potential customer from considering your business. 

The better you engage with the negative review, the better you will look in the eyes of others. In fact, about 89 percent of consumers read businesses’ responses to reviews in general.

Make sure you know about these eight types of negative SEO while you’re at it.

Sharing customer testimonials

It’s one thing for you to say that your brand is the best. It’s something entirely different when people outside of your brand say that you’re the best.

About 92 percent of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.

Testimonials are positive experiences and/or anecdotes from customers who have used your product or service. They help establish credibility for your brand.

Be sure to regularly solicit happy customers for testimonials that you can update your website with and/or share in social media posts. Encourage them to be specific about the product or service they used, the problem it helped them solve and even how they felt before they came to you and after.

You can make the process even easier by including a Google Form (or another embedded form on your website). 

Partnering with celebrities, influencers

Influencer marketing has only been growing in recent years, and it’s easy to see why, especially when considering social proof. Consumers clearly trust public opinion more than brands themselves, so the word of people with influence falls into that category as well.

In fact, content from influencers generates more than 8 times the engagement rate of content shared directly by brands.

The key is that you identify an influencer who is relevant to your industry and jives with your brand.

Dig into these seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Onboarding brand ambassadors

Similar to influencers, you can recruit brand ambassadors, which are essentially brand evangelists and loyalists who will promote your brand to their networks. Brand ambassadors can range between average people who love your company to micro-influencers with some clout online.

This type of program can be managed in a range of ways, where you can offer anything from commission to discounts to branded swag.

The appeal here is that brand ambassadors can humanize your brand even further. Just remember that brand ambassadors can be an easy avenue of getting more user-generated content (UGC) that features or includes your product out on various online channels. UGC can definitely play into social proof by piquing the interest of the potential customers it reaches.

Growing your social media following

First things first, we don’t want you to fall into a rabbit hole of obsession with growing your followers on social media. It’s just not the ultimate measure of success that some brands think it is. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the size of your following can be a type of social proof. It’s that herd mentality again. When a consumer sees a large number of people doing (or following) something, they’re more likely to try it, too.

Resist the temptation to buy a ton of fake followers. This practice will never serve you in the long run. Social media success thrives on authenticity, and creating the illusion of social proof is exactly the opposite. Focus, instead, on sharing engaging content and building a genuine social media following.

Leveraging your customer count

If you have an established customer base, it’s worth considering leveraging those numbers as social proof. Whether it’s customers, subscribers or any other type of consumer who is using your product or service, sharing that will help show that your brand is valuable and trusted.

Think about how McDonald’s says “Over 9 billion served” on its signs. But this can be done on your website and/or social media profiles as well.

Keep in mind that you don’t want to simply boast about your numbers. Make it an invitation: “Join our 500,000 satisfied customers,” for example. It gives a feeling of belonging to consumers.

A slightly different angle on this front is leveraging any of the big-name customers you might have. You can do this by highlighting their logos on your website. Just make sure that you’re highlighting the brands that your audience will recognize.

Showcasing any awards, recognition

Awards and recognition aren’t just great types of social proof, they also act as evidence that your brand is, in fact, trustworthy. There’s a validation there because they come from a third party. 

Beyond just listing awards your brand has won, you can use award logos embedded on your website and even feature the logos of websites your brand has been mentioned on.

Again, it lends to your credibility.

Creating a blog

Before you think, “Not another blog,” remember that blogs are a great way to establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.

The idea is to offer potential customers with insightful, problem-solving and actionable content. Tying this content into your products or services is great, but keep that approach in balance.

Showcasing your value to your audience is more important than getting yet another sales plug in. In the end, you’re ultimately creating and sharing content to build up your trustworthiness in the eyes of potential customers. It’s less about the hard sale.

Check out these seven tips to level up your content marketing.

Be aware of social shares

Adding social media share buttons next to various content on your website can sound like a great type of social proof. And it can be.

But if your social shares are typically low, this can actually backfire on you.

Website visitors seeing only a handful of shares can give them the impression that your content isn’t very valuable.

So, before using this approach, do an audit on your average amount of social shares. If it’s typically a high number, then the social share buttons are worth including to boost your social proof.

While you’re boosting your social proof, consider improving your digital marketing process with DailyStory. Features include automation and dynamic audience segmentation. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Struggling with marketing content? 7 tips to beat writer’s block

Beyond just writing, the goal of copywriting aims to create engaging marketing content that persuades your audience to take action. So, when you’re experiencing writer’s block, it can impact the success of your business. 

No pressure, right? 

Writer’s block is often referred to as the inability to form words, and there are entire scientific studies behind it.

Fortunately, the following are seven tips to help beat writer’s block so that you can effectively represent your brand, engage your audience and help grow lead conversions.

Maintain a content calendar

If your writer’s block centers on the lack of ideas for the content itself, creating or maintaining a content calendar can help you keep the momentum going. 

It’s all about having a plan.

If you’re just starting out with a content calendar, aim to plan out one month ahead at a time. You can make note of both national holidays and social media “holidays” (like National Puppy Day) that are relevant to your brand and your audience. Look ahead for any other events or product launches as well. Then, you can start brainstorming content around these events, holidays and so on. 

Once you get comfortable with maintaining your calendar one month out at a time, you can start increasing it. Ideally, the further out you can plan, the better. That way, you won’t find yourself in a day-to-day rut trying to figure out what kind of content you should be creating each day.

Keep a backup list of ideas

As great as advanced planning can be, it’s always possible to not be inspired by the topic you originally planned to write about. Or, perhaps the topic no longer works for when you planned it.

That’s OK!

As you plan out your content calendar, be sure to maintain a list of the ideas that don’t make it onto your calendar. Think about your target audience. What problems are they facing? How can you help them overcome those problems?

This can be a great resource of back pocket options to potentially inspire you when you do hit that writer’s block.

Lean on your colleagues

Brainstorming alone can get difficult and (honestly) a little soul-draining at times. If you’re looking for some inspiration, ask a colleague to brainstorm ideas with you.

Better yet, pull in your team.

Group brainstorming sessions can bring up ideas that might have never happened on your own. Just make sure to document all the ideas flying around. Even though they aren’t all going to make it onto your content calendar, they could easily end up on your backup list of ideas for reference later.

Revisit past content to defeat writer’s block

Just because you’ve covered a particular topic before doesn’t mean that you can’t revisit the topic in a new or more in-depth way.

Remember that you can easily break up various angles of a topic across different and separate pieces of content.

For example, if you have a past list of tips, is there one tip that you can spin off with? The possibilities are endless.

And of course, for an SEO (search engine optimization boost), be sure to link related pieces of content to each other. While you’re thinking about your SEO, see if you’re making any of these 13 common SEO mistakes.

Don’t just write … read

Any good copywriter isn’t just writing constantly but reading, too! 

It doesn’t matter what:

  • Industry-related publications
  • Various blogs
  • Your competitors’ content
  • Local or national news

Doing so regularly will naturally inspire you with topics that will likely be relevant to your audience. Always record those ideas as soon as you have them, whether you’re in planning mode or not.

Write out of order

In the simplest sense, know that you never have to write the first sentence first. Whether you start in the middle, with the conclusion or whatever aspect is inspiring you, you do not have to write in order.

Sometimes, even just roughing out a loose outline first can help funnel your thoughts.

Mix up your approach

If you have all the right ideas, but the words still aren’t flowing, try mixing up your approach to beat writer’s block.

You can work in a different place, at a different time, for different lengths of time and so on.

In fact, simply taking breaks and doing something else briefly can make a world of difference as well. A break might sound counterintuitive if you’re on a deadline, but think about how much time is wasted when you’re facing writer’s block. A break of any kind doing something else can be just what you need.

Beating writer’s block will help you reconnect to your audience and boost your brand’s presence, so be patient with yourself and work through your process.

Take your content to the next level with these seven content marketing tips.

Then, consider leveling up your digital marketing process with DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 FOMO techniques you can use in your digital marketing

While the term “FOMO” might be new to you (or not), using “the fear of missing out” is nothing new to effective digital marketing strategies.

It’s about leveraging the fear we all have of losing out on amazing opportunities, experiences and so on, no matter what they might be.

FOMO taps into our human nature. As a species, we are typically risk-averse, especially when it comes to our purchases. We don’t want to spend money on a product or service that doesn’t measure up to our standards and expectations.

However, on the flip side, it’s this same risk-avoidance tendency that leads to the possibility of regret in the future for not having taken an opportunity.

For example, you could be browsing a shoe website and spot a pair of boots that piques your interest. After some browsing of the product description and customer reviews, you move on. But you later see an ad for those same boots, except this time, it appears with a limited-time discount. This is exactly what could trigger your FOMO about this product and can potentially persuade you to finally make the purchase.

With the right FOMO techniques, such as the following nine, you can further persuade your audience to jump on the opportunities you’re offering.

Your messaging matters

Always look at your messaging and ask yourself if there is a sense of urgency.

Strong verbs and an active voice are important components of this. Think:

  • Time’s running out
  • Last chance to buy
  • Don’t miss this

It’s about persuading your potential customers to act now, not later.

Set time limits

Deadlines naturally put pressure on all of us. Setting a time limit for the availability of a product or a particular sale is critical for many consumers to finally act (even if somewhat impulsively).

Just make sure that your deadline is absolute. While the occasional extension can be effective, doing so too often will dilute the effectiveness of all of your time limits. Your audience will simply get used to your extensions.

Consider using a countdown clock on your social media, website, so on to instill that looming deadline for your offer.

Share social proof

Social proof essentially boils down to sharing what other customers think of your product or service or simply how others are purchasing from you.

Testimonials appearing not just on your social media but along the purchasing journey on your website is a common tactic for social proof.

It’s the idea that if others are trusting your brand and having a great experience, you could miss out by not making that purchase, too. This makes consumers more likely to purchase from you.

Find out more about social proof and nine ways you can use it in your digital marketing.

In addition, there are several social proof tools, such as True or TrustPulse, that can integrate with your website and show visitors stats like how many people have purchased a particular product on your site, for example, etc.

Work with influencers when possible

Nothing quite induces FOMO like a celebrity or influencer endorsement. So, even simply featuring a quote from one can help boost your sales. 

Consumers have a range of trust when it comes to celebrities, no matter how big or small. Once you have an influencer endorsement, be sure to share it across channels, including your website.

Find out what you should know before diving into influencer marketing (or even any influencer partnerships).

Use user-generated content

While celebrities and influencers can be great, regular people can be even more trustworthy to your audience.

About 55 percent of consumers trust UGC (user-generated content) more than other forms of marketing.

Why not leverage that by soliciting photos and/or videos of happy customers using your product in some way? 

You can run a UGC contest with a prize. It can be an organic hashtag campaign, where you seed the hashtag with some great content of your own to get the ball rolling for your users.

For example, jewelry company Iz&Co (@izandco on Instagram) shares images of clients’ personal stories (such as weddings and proposals) in addition to their more branded content.

Create bundle opportunities

What’s better than purchasing one product you’re excited about? Getting another one (or two) with it at a discounted price, of course.

Bundles are a great way to take a selection of your products or services and offer them at a discounted price. The complementary items are something that can create FOMO for the consumer. 

It’s also a way to upsell your potential customers.

Play your social media channels against each other

Your audience on Facebook likely differs from your followers on Twitter, and so on. 

But you can leverage FOMO here strategically by broadcasting that a special behind-the-scenes video, for example, will only be shared via your Instagram Story on your other platforms.

The FOMO from this cross-posting tactic could lead some of your followers to follow you on other platforms as well. 

Just be sure to spread the love around. You don’t always want to make big announcements on your Twitter, for example, and then leave the crumbs for your Instagram audience.

Learn what social media platform would be best for your company.

Of course, this could apply to app-only deals as well.

Leverage competition

Nothing can create FOMO more than the possibility of limited inventory. And someone else getting a product or service instead of you, of course.

You’ve likely noticed websites that say “only 1 left in stock” or that this hotel was “booked 3 times in the past hour.” 

Giving the sense that someone else could get what you might want can help drive FOMO and your ultimate decision to purchase.

Consider an exit-intent pop-up

Just as you’re about to lose that possibly interested consumer, an exit-intent pop-up could make the difference between disappearance and a purchase.

An exit-intent pop-up is a pop-up window that appears as a website visitor goes to close the tab or browser (that particular movement of the mouse).

It’s your last chance to make that conversion, so whether it’s a surprise discount offer or some other offer, it must be irresistible.

Check out our 18 exit-intent tips that can help.

In conclusion

While FOMO techniques can help boost your sales, it’s important to always be honest with your audience. Share offers that will resonate with them.

As soon as you’re deceitful about anything, your audience is going to catch on and (worst yet) tune your brand out.

Speaking of FOMO, don’t miss out on leveling up your digital marketing process. Consider DailyStory, with such features as automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

And check out our all-inclusive Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners!