Most small business owners see the expense of marketing as an unnecessary evil, particularly in a challenging economic climate. In this article, I take a look at five quick wins that won't break the bank.
1. Brand yourself
Your business may be small now, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look professional. Be proud of your name and use your logo in a professional manner. For example, get slick corporate clothing that fits the tone that you want your brand to portray, and so your staff can proudly wear your company on their sleeves (literally). But, keep it tasteful, an over the top approach could come across as cheap.
Brand your vehicles in eye-catching graphics that align to your corporate identity; you now have moving billboards.
Keep vehicle branding simple, it's not a brochure, as people on the move don't have time to read five bullet points, let alone a paragraph. Your logo and a contact number are all you need, but how you apply this could be the difference between standing out and blending in.
Related: The marketing planning process: Marketing strategy and example guide
2. Create marketing content
Fresh and helpful content engages readers and attracts leads, and can even convert to sales. The first step is to get your brand on the right social media channels and to have a brand-aligned website. In today's digital environment, video content is king; static visuals don't have the same impact anymore.
Don't know what to say? Sure you do. Share what's happening at your company, in your industry, or you could answer commonly asked questions, or even create a "how to" guide.
Smartphones make it possible for everybody to shoot and edit quality video content today, just remember to keep it short and simple and use this content to update your social media outlets and website regularly. It helps boost your site on popular search engines, and you'll get more website traffic.
3. Develop a referral program
Sign-up to your local business chamber and take advantage of its networking and marketing opportunities. Networking is a perfect marketing tactic for small businesses because it can yield significant rewards. Association with a chamber will make you more credible, and you can use its network to find new partners, clients, and discover opportunities.
Another idea is to run an industry-relevant workshop that taps into your existing customer base to open new doors. With this, you can offer benefits linked to referrals, such as a discount or giveaway.
4. Know your target market
Do youreallyknow your target market? What media do they consume? What are their interests and where do they mingle?
It is important for business owners to drive marketing based on what customers need. Start by describing the person most likely to want/need your product/service. Then ask: Why should people buy it? Once you know their motivation, you can be more specific with how you target your customer base.
From here you can define your product correctly and therefore how you position it. Just because your product is good doesn't mean it will sell. It must be positioned correctly - and that's what marketing does.
Related: 12 Free marketing tools and tips for your new start-up business
5. Show that you care
Say ‘happy birthday’, and when you do, why not include a discount coupon, share a special offer or a suggest a product they could treat themselves to. In the age of digital communication, take the time to send a handwritten holiday, birthday, or thank you card. It only costs a bit of time, but the impact is effective and memorable.
Give your clients something back as a thank you for their business by implementing a loyalty program to encourage future purchases. This is an excellent way to build business sustainability.