Big brands usually allocate thousands of dollars for their marketing and advertising, but for small entrepreneurs and businesses, big budget cuts are not possible. For them, each dollar counts and their investments need to pay off in real and immediate ROI. When you’re dealing with a small budget, marketing might be the first expense you think to cut. While traditional marketing is quite expensive, there are cost-effective, trackable marketing tools available for small businesses.
We’ve compiled some important points to help you make the best out of your small marketing budget.
1. Market Research:
This is an essential step for every business and you need to allocate some funds here. Market research requires a lot of effort but is vital in identifying not only your target markets but their characteristics as well. This information will help you:
- to target market efforts with laser-like precision
- Sharpen your marketing messages to lure and engage potential buyers
Another important strategy is to thoroughly understand what competitors are doing and come up with better plans. If you plan on going head to head with your competition in areas where they have a strong command, do not do that. This may result in a big loss. Instead what you should do is to spend time to pinpoint areas and gaps where the competitors are weak and target those areas. In this way, you will identify opportunities where you have the best chance to grow.
2. Email Marketing:
Email marketing costs around $20 to $50 per month so you can use platforms like Constant Contact or campaigner to market your brand. The reason that email marketing ranks high in our compiled list and that is that it really works. Whatever kind of business you own; marketers across the world suggest email marketing as the tactic that leads to high returns on marketing dollars invested.
According to ExactTarget.com for every dollar you spend, you receive an average of $44.25 return of investment, so why not try it.
3. Optimize for Crowd Appeal:
Business owners usually count on word of mouth to be their primary form of marketing but this should not be the case. It is estimated that about 81% of consumers make big purchases online rather than going to a store. They might even gather information for two to three months and then make their decision before purchasing something online.
The internet is usually the starting point for any type of consumer. Users view products of their interest over the internet and this research then leads to buying decisions. According to a Mobile Search report, almost 55% searches resulted in conversations within the hour. The point we’re trying to make here is that the more mobile-friendly your website is, the more the chances of attracting clients.
You need to do effective keyword research and tailor your website accordingly. A better search engine optimization will likely have a more favorable placement in any search engine. More SEO friendly websites get more traffic on their sites as their business listings will fall in the path of potential buyers.
4. Craft an elevator pitch:
You need a compelling pitch in order to market your brand and you also should market it wherever you go. The average span for humans ranges from six to eight seconds that is the time you have to grab their attention. If you are successful in engaging them in those precious eight seconds, you have only about a minute or so to really sell your service or product. You need to have adequate research to craft a killer pitch.
5. Leverage your community:
When you’re starting a new venture, you don’t necessarily need to think big in terms of marketing. Focus on the local market. What is going on in your community? A good idea would be to sponsor a little league or maybe a 5-6K charity event. Have some bookmarks printed and send them to your library. You need to make an effort to really get to know your customers and see where it is that they like to spend time. After that search for opportunities that can help you market your message to these customers.
You can put together a list of small synergistic and non-competitive businesses and collaborate to promote each other’s businesses. This cross-promotion can be done through coupons, fliers, bundled promotions or via social media platforms. In this way, you will be able to expand your customer base because you will have access to newer people.
If you have strong networking skills then there isn’t a better way to build a business by going out there and building connections. Networking requires a lot of commitment and it is a strategy that does not lead to instant gratification. But a strong network is one of the greatest assets that any business needs.
8. Create buzz:
Technology has significantly changed business today. Small business owners can accomplish quite a lot without hiring a proper team. This can be done by looking for small media opportunities or utilizing major media outlets. Advertising through these outlets can help your business more than you think.
9. Ask for referrals:
Ask your customers for customer referrals. A vast majority of people actually do refer people to new businesses but very few take the initiative on their own. So, we suggest you not be shy in asking your satisfied customers for referrals. If you aren’t asking for referrals you are actually missing out on a lot of new customers.
10. Build Relationships:
Getting a new customer is much easier than keeping a customer, and a lot of effort goes into keeping that customer. Therefore, establishing strong relationships with your current customers is quite essential for you. One way to keep in touch with customers is by using email marketing. Share informative, helpful and professional messages that customers will look forward to.
11. Offer coupons:
Coupons are also a great way to attract new clientele. People using go out of their way to use coupons as research proves, so this method may be quite successful in expanding your client net. They can also help in generating return visits.