Times are tough—no one is going to argue that. Unfortunately, this often means that small business owners will reduce their marketing efforts to cut business costs. After all, there are fixed expenses that can’t be negotiated, right? You have to pay employees, rent, taxes, and all operating expenses. If you don’t, your doors won’t be open for long.
However, reducing your marketing efforts will only make matters worse: The less you broadcast your offerings, the fewer customers you’ll have. In other words, if you don’t remind your existing customers about your services and products, they are less likely to patronize your business.
So, how do you market effectively without busting your budget?
Tips and Tricks to Marketing on a Budget
1. Do Something Every Day
It can be easy to put marketing on the back burner, but neglecting it day after day can eventually lead to the worst thing for your business: no marketing at all. Instead of going this route, make it a point to do something every single day, even if it’s just calling a few clients and reminding them about your services. Remember, a lot of small actions can eventually amount to a large marketing effort.
Another option is to take a look at your statements from two to three years ago, and make a list of every client who has stopped doing business with you. Then, take an hour a day and call them. Not only will you reconnect with old clients, but you might learn some things about your business that could help you improve it.
2. Think Long-Term
Did you know that a marketing target usually doesn’t take action until the fifth time that they hear your message? This knowledge can go a long way in helping you eliminate wasteful marketing efforts, and instead concentrate on “groupings” of efforts that will produce more results.
For example, rather than becoming a one-time sponsor for a racing event, sign up for multiple events in hopes that the same people will see your message many times. Need to spend less money? Take a look at local social media marketing and ongoing email marketing campaigns, where, if done correctly, the success rate can be impressive.
Just because you need to contact targets a minimum of five times doesn’t mean your efforts have to cost five times as much as a typical marketing initiative. With the use of technology, you can invest in one concept and then tweak it just a bit every time you send it out.
3. Stay on Top of the Results
It’s senseless to spend money on marketing that you aren’t even sure is working. That’s why it’s important to constantly monitor your return on investment (ROI). Be relentless in your analysis of your marketing efforts. If something isn’t working, find out why and fix it. Then analyze it again in a couple of months, and if it’s still not working, get to the bottom on it or cut it out completely.
4. Keep it Interesting
As your budget allows, keep adding variety to your marketing mix. Consumers are more likely to act on marketing messages that they see from a variety of sources.
For instance, combine your email marketing campaign with a Facebook business page promotion and a telephone campaign. None of these marketing methods will cost a lot, but if you target the same consumers with all three your business name will likely be at the forefront of their thoughts when they need your product or services.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to get the word out about your business—even in tough economic times. Don’t just sit back and wait for the business market to improve. Instead, get out there and tirelessly promote your business. After all, how will people know that you’re still ready for business if you don’t tell them?
What other affordable business marketing strategies can you suggest?
Photo Credit: ntarainteractive.com
Suzanne Kearns is a small business owner and contributor for Money Crashers Personal Finance, a site that shares tips about saving money, investing in stocks, and finding the best small business credit cards.