Marketing Smart Beats Marketing Shotgun!
December 4th 2012 | By Sarah McInerney
A marketing budget should never be looked upon as an added expense, more an investment. When customers are harder to keep, and new business is harder to find, it’s never been more important to invest in marketing. But it’s all about setting a budget and making the most of it – marketing smart rather than shotgun.
Here we highlight our favourite smart marketing methods that really won’t eat too much into your bottom line:
- Know your customers. Communicate with them. Conduct research and find out what they want more of. It’s never too late to start doing this. Don’t make assumptions that customers who have been with you for a long time will stay with you, as their needs may change. Look after your current customers and they will hopefully recommend you to others. Referrals are the cheapest form of marketing.
- Use publicity. It’s free and is a great way to build awareness of your brand. When done correctly, publicity can raise your profile within your industry. Got something to announce? Won an award, raised money for charity or a local cause? Shown support for the community? Realised an important business milestone or won a lucrative contract? Received celebrity endorsement? Got some amazing photos of a job well done? Write a press release and send it to a targeted media list, chances are they’ll give you some column inches. Another way of gaining press coverage is to conduct a survey and publish the results – the media loves statistics!
- Keep your website up to date. Your website is your shop window. Make sure it continues to present a true picture of your brand and offering as they are now. A badly maintained website can be damaging to your profile. Investing a little in maintaining it – keeping the design and content fresh and news up to date – can make an enormous difference.
- Keep in touch. Email marketing continues to be one of the cheapest forms of marketing for many small businesses, providing the best return on investment. By regularly emailing your existing customers you will show you are thinking of them and can use the opportunity to cross sell services or products they may not have been aware you provide.
- Network online and offline. People like to do business with people they know. Engage with your customers regularly on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but socialise with them face to face at industry or social functions too.
- Outsource when you’re unable to do certain things yourself. By outsourcing to other small businesses, you will avoid paying full-time salaries and yet work with like-minded people with specialist skills. Also by working with other small businesses, you may gain more referrals as you help each other out.
- Monitor, review & measure. Make sure you know what is working for you marketing wise. This can reveal that you may be spending a lot of effort and budget on certain initiatives that are in fact wasting your time and resources. Review and make changes, this is the best way to make the most of your marketing budget.
Follow these tips to help your small business focus on what’s important and make the most of your small business marketing budget. If we can help in any way on an outsourced basis, please get in touch.