As crowdsourcing evolves, brands are getting more creative about using it as a tool for marketing. For a small fee, businesses can rely on the power of large groups of consumers to make their campaigns successful. By working directly with customers, brands build real audiences for their products, with those audiences likely passing the word to their own friends and family members. Here are a few ways you can utilize the power of crowdsourcing in your own marketing campaigns.

Gain Broad Exposure for Events

Imagine if you could sign everyone you know up to post about your campaign on the same day. Thunderclap allows you to do just that. In the days leading up to your product launch or special event, invite online followers and customers to sign up for your Thunderclap campaign. On the designated day, tweets and Facebook posts will automatically execute, allowing you to reach a wide range of people with one big push.

You don’t have to have an enormous online following to be effective. In fact, a small group of extremely loyal followers is often more effective than a large group of vague acquaintances. The free version of Thunderclap requires a minimum number of signups for the campaign to go live but a paid version has no minimum, at a cost of only $45.

Get Fresh Perspectives

If you use one go-to designer for all of your logos and packaging design, you may be missing a great opportunity. Through the use of sites like crowdSPRING and Elance, you can get a new perspective on your existing branding efforts. If you’re looking for a way to reach a different demographic, this is a great way to completely refresh your look.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to crowdsourcing design is its affordability. An individual designer will often charge significantly less than a firm, which usually must pay for office space and other business costs.

Test New Ideas

When you release a new product, your first concern is connecting effectively with customers. Crowdsourcing allows you to get feedback on your marketing campaign long before you launch it. You can also learn how customers perceive your product and branding.

UserTesting provides audio, text, and video feedback from a specific target audience to give businesses an in-depth look at how customers interact with their products. The service allows A/B testing and longitudinal tests to show how customer reactions change over time.

Generate Buzz

The best thing about crowdsourcing your marketing is that it generates buzz. You’re reaching out to a wide base of customers, whether through your own social networks or through customers who have signed up to participate on a site. Those customers will learn about your products and tell others.

For best results, make sure your campaign is one that generates buzz naturally. A product that solves a universal problem or gains attention through its uniqueness is more likely to make its way around the crowd than a product that blends with the many other products on the market today.

Crowdsourcing is still evolving, but true innovators can make use of the tool before everyone else discovers it. These tools are a great way to get started on building buzz for your new marketing campaign without spending a fortune.