When budgets are tight, marketing is often the first expense that gets cut. But it doesn’t have to be. While traditional advertising methods are costly and hard to measure, small businesses have never had greater access to more cost-effective and trackable marketing tools than you do in the digital world of marketing. The best way to market your business might be a lot more accessible than you think. But how do you go about marketing your small business when you have limited budget? The first part of this question gets a little easier to answer once you learn the basics of marketing, which is what we are going to try to do in this article. Of course, this being a very broad subject let us approach it from the angle of limited time and budget.
When you’re working on building a successful business, it’s tempting to think that you need to spend money in order to make money. But how do you know how much to spend? Where should you invest those resources? These are the questions that we help small businesses answer each day. In the spirit of ‘paying it forward,’ we’ve compiled some ways to market your small business on a budget—for less than the price of your Starbucks each day!
Without a doubt, customer service is one of the most important aspects of any business. In fact, happy customers make or break every business in its first few weeks, because happy customers spread their experiences with your company to their friends and family. No matter what type of business you have, take time to thank your customer for shopping with you. Make it a point to address each question or concern thoroughly and promptly. If you are open and honest about your mistakes and truly sincere about doing anything in your power to remedy them, people will see it as an effort by you to do business fairly and openly. They’ll appreciate that their patronage was a priority to you. An amazing experience with a company is impossible to keep a secret, Customer Service superiority is you number one secret weapon. Delight them and they will send other. Word of Mouth is a silver bullet and best of all it is FREE!
If you keep up with our weekly blog posts, you’re probably familiar with the concept of “going where your customers are.” If you’re a business owner, you should be. You should really go everywhere your customers are in order to reach them with ease and precision. But that strategy only goes so far. Your audience is no longer just where they shop or work. They’re on social media, they’re on their cell phones, they’re online watching videos, they’re reading eBooks and blogs. And even if they were still only present in two or three places, how would you keep up? How would you know which site or app will have the best results for you as a business? You need a way to go after your customers seamlessly and in all places at once. The key is to understand how your customers live their lives and through looking at their needs, keeping them in mind when making decisions about features, ask yourself two questions: “How do they live their life as a customer?” and “How can my product support their day-to-day lives?”
You should be marketing all the time wherever you are. Therefore, having a compelling elevator pitch could be a powerful tool. Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about six to eight seconds. That’s it. You have that long to grab someone’s attention. If you can successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft an effective elevator pitch that can’t be passed on. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.
You don’t always have to think big when it comes to your marketing. But try to think locally. What’s going on in your community? Sponsor teams or charity initiatives. Something as simple as printing bookmarks, brochures or pamphlets and making them accessible around your community. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time. Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.
Of course, without question, social media is possibly the most popular costless option when it comes to marketing. Most social media platforms are free to use, and many offer low-cost advertising options in addition to organic posting. When it comes to using Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn for your business, make sure you create on-brand posts, share regularly, and engage with your followers. Get creative with a mix of in-feed and stories posts to diversify your content and keep followers excited.
So, what’s most important is keeping consistency across your marketing materials. Basically, you want to make sure your brand aesthetic shines through, no matter where your potential clients look. That means not getting lazy in your written content just because the audience is different. It also means that if you’re flexible on some design elements (like color), you should be consistent about being flexible on them across the board—otherwise it may seem like a hodgepodge of ideas and messages. The most important thing is to keep your own style and branding at the center of anything you create, from a humble Facebook post to a twenty-page full-color e-book.
So how can a small business owner on a budget get their name out there? The answer is 3-fold. 1) Connect with your audience by providing exceptional customer service and listening to what they want. 2) Be everywhere that your target audience are (Facebook, Twitter, etc. 3) Be consistent with your branding by always having fresh content on your website and/or blog and making sure to keep up on commenting. It may sound difficult but if you stick to it, you’ll be surprised at the results. And if you find it’s too time consuming, give Crunch Fource a call. We’ll be happy to help!