Strategic, effective marketing is an integral part of running a business. While big companies often have big budgets to throw at marketing campaigns, smaller companies usually have more limited resources. However, just because the budget is more modest it doesn’t mean the impact of the campaign has to be. There are steps small businesses can take to maximize their reach, engagement and conversion rate, without breaking the bank. With a big helping of creative thinking, bargain hunting, and effective targeting, small companies can now attract new leads and expand their client base and their businesses. Here are some marketing ideas.
These days it is very unusual for a business, however small, not to have a website. It’s a simple, easy way to encourage people to check out your products or services, and it doesn’t have to be costly. Nowadays it is possible to have a smart, professional-looking site for next to no money (or to design it yourself!). And if you’re on a really tight budget a page with contact details, a company logo and links to your business’s social media accounts (see below) is really all you need – use your website as an elegant stepping stone to more in-depth content and online marketing materials.
As old school as it gets, but also still relevant and effective, having interesting, unique, professionally printed business cards and other printed material is a must for any business. Such is the demand for bespoke, well-designed print that top quality has become gradually more and more affordable. Having a business card that really stands out is a sure-fire way to make a good first impression on a potential new customer. And the personal nature of placing your card, brochure or other literature into someone’s hand makes it highly effective – a simple, tried and tested technique which isn’t going anywhere fast. For the more ambitious a vehicle wrap can turn a company car into a billboard which will expand your reach into whichever area you choose to park it in. Printed material allows you to flaunt great designs and tell your company’s story in the process – an engaging and inexpensive way to reach out to your customers and beyond.
A great place to start for companies looking for cheap or free marketing solutions. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and many more are ubiquitous features of our online landscape and have proven to be one of the most effective ways to forge communication with your customers and to foster contact with new potential clients. The back and forth nature of social media, its interactivity, means that you can connect personally with customers around the world, hitting a personal note that simply isn’t possible with old school techniques. Remember to cross-link all your accounts for maximum exposure and promotion. Younger customers are more likely to engage with social media marketing than ever before.
Although fast becoming part of the old school as video, social media and viral marketing campaigns become firm fixtures, email marketing still holds up as one of the most effective lead converters out there. Although there are ever-changing regulations and legislation to prevent data sharing and unsolicited messages being sent, if you can successfully encourage individuals or businesses to opt-in, effective marketing strategies can be deployed. Email clients such as Gmail are free platforms that make email marketing simple, or for those who can afford it, there are dedicated systems (Email Service Providers – ESPs) that can handle campaigns with delicate complexity. Combined with excellent copy, snappy subject lines, and great design, email marketing is the perfect way to stay in touch with your customers, as well as being effective in appealing to new clients.
Word of mouth
If you have a great service or product to offer, and grateful, loyal customers who repeatedly buy from you, there is potential for highly effective ‘word of mouth’ marketing. Nothing is more sincere than a warm client review, and asking your customers to refer your business to others is something that they will happily do, provided your service has been second to none. Best of all, it won’t cost anyone involved a penny!
There are many ways a small business can avoid being eclipsed by higher budget marketing campaigns by bigger companies. All that is required is a bit of creative thinking, using a budget smartly and maximizing the potential of all your materials and platforms.