Marketing is probably the most important activity that a business can perform. Good marketing will bring increased loyalty from existing customers, as well as attracting and retaining new ones. For your business to grow, it has to communicate with its market and build relationships with customers. Unfortunately though, most people consider marketing to be an expensive exercise, and are reluctant to spend money on trying out new marketing activities. This doesn’t have to be the case. Here are some tips for new and small businesses that have a small marketing budget.
- Have you tried direct marketing? Posting letters, making telephone calls and sending emails can be some of the most cost effective ways of getting your message out there. For this to work though there are rules that have to be followed: make sure you are marketing to your key target market; make sure the data is accurate; make sure you have a good offer that is relevant to that market; and make sure the marketing material discusses the benefits of using your service or purchasing your product. You'll also need to include a strong call to action. Using direct marketing to keep in touch with existing clients (company newsletters and e-bulletins) is also a great way of increasing sales activity.
- Make the most of the Internet. The internet can connect your business to most people on the planet, so you should be able to find some new customers through it. Use it as a medium for making yourself known as well as a way to study your customers and your competitors. Write new content, news articles and/or blog posts and place them on your website. These are the type of thing that search engines love and will help improve your website ranking.
- Encourage word-of-mouth marketing. You could provide your current customers with incentives, offers and special deals if they help to promote your business to their friends and colleagues. A word-of-mouth referral strategy is not only cheap to implement, but it often generates the best type of business, as most companies find referred enquiries are the easiest to convert into new customers.
- Show off some testimonials. People are cynical and used to businesses providing a poor service. Build confidence in the marketplace by broadcasting what your satisfied customers have said about your business. Stick these in your brochures, on your sales letters, in your newsletters and on your website for everyone to see. The bigger and more well-known the client, the better. Just make sure that they are happy with you quoting them.
- Get out there and network. Making friends and acquaintances in the business world can be very beneficial. A lot of businesses are just waiting to be a supplier or customer for your business. Sign up to breakfast meetings and get to know other businesspeople in your area, you could build strong strategic alliances that are valuable for years to come.
- Try Public Relations. Taken on a new members of staff? Won an award? Launching a new product? Write a story about it and send it in to newspapers and magazines. Readers often consider editorial as more important than adverts, and are more likely to trust what is being said. If however you do not know how to write a story well, or do not have the confidence to contact journalists, then it will be worth investing in the services of a PR firm.