So you want to promote your business, but you don’t want to spend a fortune doing it – well join the club! It seems to be the order of the day. There isn’t always a silver bullet, but the good news is that you can promote your business without spending a fortune if you know how. You need to get smart and strategic and have some real direction with where you are heading and what you want to achieve.
If you want to save yourself from spending too much on marketing, you need to plan it that way. If you don’t, you will inevitably end up randomly spending and wondering where your budget is going. You can waste a lot of money, potentially with low returns, if you don’t have a plan that you are following.
So ask yourself; do you have a Marketing Plan/Strategy? A real one. (i.e. not in your head). It doesn’t have to be a huge document – but is does need to be documented in some form. If it’s written down, it will make you more accountable. Does it set out what Marketing and Advertising you are going to do, how and when? Have you decided what types of marketing will work best for your business and what combination you are going to implement? Does it specify where you are going to place your advertising, if any? Do you intimately understand your customers, their demographic, geographic and psychographic; where they live, work, their interests, needs, desires, problems, objections and what form of marketing they are likely to respond best to? You are most likely to have more than one type of customer and within each group have sub groups. Have you got a clear message for each group? Are you using your database tactically? Throwing out a big net hoping to catch a few may result in missing most of your audience. Your best approach is to target your potential customers with a clear message. Remember, none of this so far has cost you a cent. It is only time and effort.
Once you have established this, then you can start to plan how to promote your business without spending a fortune. Now consider all the types of marketing methods available to you; such as advertising, direct marketing, public relations, website, brochures, networking, trade shows – just to name a few.
If you are strictly driven by budget then you might as well start with that as there is no point over spending and finding you cannot pay for it. However be realistic; you will probably need to spend something, that’s just the law of the land. But you can control it more if you have planned carefully and you may already know what is likely to work better for you. Sure it would be nice to have an elaborate marketing campaign, but if you start with your budget, and manage it accurately, then you should increase sales and therefore you will have more money to put into your future marketing campaigns. You have to start from somewhere – it’s a bit like an organic garden, carefully nurture what you have and it should grow well. Then use those rewards to build on your next phase. Test your efforts and revise your plan constantly allowing yourself to be flexible to fine-tuning if required. Write down your plan and budget for whichever timeframe works best for you such as 3, 6 or 12 months.
During tougher economic times some businesses make the mistake of ‘hunkering down’. It is evident from research that you must protect your position in the market as it is much more expensive to rebuild your market share than it is to maintain it. So if budget is tighter than usual it’s the perfect time to get smart and think about all of your marketing options; some clearly costing less that others. Find the best way to have a solid, integrated mix that compliments your business and your budget. Open your mind before you open your wallet.