If you run a new startup or own a small business, chances are you’re probably working with small budgets, and looking to cut costs wherever you can. But don’t let your marketing efforts be any less effective just because you’re working on a shoestring budget.
It is difficult to churn out top-notch ideas all the time, especially when you’re already stressed about having to make things work with limited capital. Our minds are so preoccupied with other things that coming up with new and creative ideas all the time to promote our business can become challenging.
To help you with that, here are a few smart marketing tips for small businesses operating on a budget.
Take Business Networking Seriously
When we talk about networking, the first thing that pops into our mind is social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, even though there are several other platforms out there. Yes, there are, and you need to tap into them and exploit the social media fully to use them to your advantage – very budget friendly!
But that’s not all there is to online marketing. Ever heard about one of those online network groups and forums that discuss a variety of topics related to particular industries? Do make it a point to become a part of such discussions and talk about your business.
Additionally, you would do well in attending the meetings at your local chamber of commerce and getting to know fellow entrepreneurs. This will go a long way in helping you market your business at the local level.
Remember, the connections you make are important and invaluable. Network the right way and you’re sure to win people over and set tongues wagging about how charming you are!
Hand out Your Business Card
Although an old-fashioned technique, distributing your business card is one of the best ways of marketing yourself and your business when under a budget. Because you’re going to be hobnobbing with others like you anyway, might as well leave them with a little something that results in creating brand recall for your business.
The purpose behind handing out your business card is to encourage people to think of you when they need your services. And even if they don’t, they can pass it on to someone who does, thereby increasing your customer base. So, ultimately, it’s a win-win for all.
Build Referral Partnerships with Other Businesses
It is a good idea to rope in a local firm whose products/services complement yours. You must be aware of such businesses in your vicinity. Get in touch with the owners and see if you can work out a referral service/partnership with each other.
If you own a cosmetic brand, for example, you could consider having a tie-up with a local beauty salon. Again – easy, cost-effective, and mutually beneficial.
Create a Website and a Blog
Use cyber technology effectively – cloud-based software, mobile apps, website domains, anything that gets you traction.
Positively get yourself a fully-functional and mobile-optimized website, because we live in times when having no company website is considered equivalent to a non-existent business entity. Make sure you have a user-friendly and modern user interface.
Include a blog on your website, which you can use to brand yourself as an expert in your field and dish out your two cents every now and then.
Guest blogging is another option. When doing so, however, do frame your ‘author bio’ very carefully based on how you want to be perceived by customers. Add links to your website to direct traffic to it.
Build Customer Loyalty
Want your customers to keep coming back to you? Formulate loyalty programs. You will have to come up with a system where your customers earn points each time they buy your products/services. These points can be collected either in paper or online and should be redeemable for rewards after they’ve reached a certain limit.
Do make sure that you set a realistic limit, and the reward you offer is appealing and in keeping with your business offerings. It need not be expensive, but should resonate with your customers.
Send out Emails
Once your website goes live, you can start using it in more ways than one and turn it into a platform that does more than help your customers find you online. It would be good if you use this medium to present a newsletter subscription option to start building an email database.
These newsletters can be sent on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, through which you inform them about your latest products, services, innovations, interesting content, contests, and so on.
Do make sure you create a subject line that makes your customers curious and gets them engaged.
Furthermore, do not forget about signing off with an impact. Do add an eye-catching email signature to everything you send out. Include links in your signature for a free marketing tool that will generate traffic towards your website.
Let Your Customers Market You
Providing outstanding after-sale services creates pleasant and memorable experiences for customers, who in turn, recommend you to others. Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways of brand building and has time and again proven to be a powerful marketing tool. Plus, it doesn’t cost you anything.
Do work on making your customers happy, but not at the cost of losing business or damaging relationships with other customers. Remember, it is your business so you have to keep the show going. Always be polite and professional in your approach, regardless of how difficult the customer may be.
Marketing is important if you want to create awareness about your company and have people talk about your products and/or services. It is the key to building a strong presence for your brand and making that presence felt among your competitors. It aids you in moving and shaking the market to your tunes, which in turn determines what your market share will look like and how much you will grow. Do keep the above points in mind, because for small businesses, the right marketing tactics can help them hold their own, even in front of the biggest players.