A middle market company needs a robust marketing strategy. However, most companies in the midmarket sector don't have the necessary media budgets to effectively compete against the giant players in the industry.

Boost Your Marketing Strategy With 10 Low-Cost Tactics

Midsized companies can, however, use the following 10 low-cost tactics to boost and build their brand. Be aware, of course, that paying little or nothing is a relative idea; when you're not paying a lot of money, effort is still required.

In each case, consider your end goal. You might use a mechanism to attract new customers before using it in a second way to retain customers, a third to build relations with the communities in which you operate, a fourth to boost morale among investors, or a fifth to attract talent as potential employees.

  1. Killer customer service. Your brand is really the encapsulated expression of what it's like to do business with you. The cheapest and best way to build a brand is to make your company one that people enjoy using and telling their friends and colleagues about.
  2. Press releases. A 300- to 500-word write-up about some newsy aspect of your company has been standard fare for a long time, but the strategy behind press releases has changed. They still offer a way to tell your story to the media, but there are two additional uses: Search engine optimization to generate click traffic to your story, and providing information that customers, prospects or even potential employees will find interesting and compelling. In each case, make sure the release says something important and isn't only focused on self-promotion.
  3. Awards. Organizations and publications give awards and then publicize winners' names. The winning companies typically get to boast their accomplishment, often in passing through advertising and PR. You want to focus on awards that mean something to the audience you're trying to reach. An environmental award might appeal to one group of possible customers and employees, while something focusing on good governance could be attractive to investors. Choose the right opportunities, and make sure the correct people hear about it.
  4. Promotional videos. Videos show the emotion of a story and get a point across more powerfully than words alone. For an impressive, humorous example, check out Will It Blend? Blender manufacturer Blendtec wanted to convey how powerful its devices were, so the company filmed a series of brilliant videos, hosted on YouTube, that show its blenders pulverizing an iPad, paintballs, a toilet plunger and more.
  5. Your blog. Blogs may seem old hat to some, but they are great communication platforms for supporting a marketing strategy. Have people write different types of posts, such as industry commentary, information about new products or general company information.
  6. Other people's blogs. Blogs have become a respectable form of publishing, and some, such as Gawker, have huge audiences, while other lesser-known blogs focused on niche topics have smaller, devoted audiences. Find some that would appeal to your core audiences and see what kind of relationships you can build. Consider putting together a "blog tour" that generates concentrated company exposure in areas you want to appear in.
  7. Social media. Customers, employees, investors, partners, and people who have never heard of you are all on social media. If your company isn't, you're wasting a chance to use valuable tools and generate opportunities. Interact with audiences, present useful and interesting information, and combine words, images and video on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
  8. Join online discussion groups. Similar to social media, there are places online where people with similar interests congregate and discuss. Find topics directly related to what you do, and have employees monitor discussions and offer insight and knowledge. Make sure you don't simply promote yourself, however.
  9. Charity events. Do some good in the world, and make a name for yourself as a bonus. You can simply donate money or offer up your company's goods or services to help the organization achieve its goals. Charities typically provide a degree of exposure roughly equivalent to the amount of support they get.
  10. Use reporter query services. Reporters often use services such as Help A Reporter Out (HARO) or ProfNet to find experts and companies that fit particular criteria or that have insight into a specific topic. Some of these services are free and some aren't, but either way, they can help you become a frequently quoted source and get your name in front of more people.

Any other good ways to get solid exposure without heavy expense? Let us know what you think by commenting below.

Erik Sherman is an NCMM contributor and author whose work has appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, the Financial Times, Chief Executive, Inc. and Fortune. He also blogs for CBS MoneyWatch. Sherman has extensive experience in corporate communications consulting and is the author or co-author of 10 books. Follow him on Twitter.