Unless you happen to be the VP of Marketing for a Fortune 500 company, odds are the marketing budget for the business you own or run is tight, and every dollar counts. Small businesses need immediate return on their investment, and every new strategy played can be a risky one, depending on the market you are in. However, with a good strategy and a few tips, you may be able to narrow your marketing budget down all the way. How does less than $100 sound, too good to be true?
Here are 5 ways that will yield real returns for your investment, and all for $100 or less!
1. Utilize the brand recognition of established companies.
Marketing Cost: $0
Entrepreneurs with little to no marketing budget can and should utilize this strategy when first starting out. Establish informal partnerships with other local or synergistic businesses and start cross-promoting each other. It won’t cost either of you a dime and can be one of the most powerful marketing techniques known to date.
2. Identify your ideal customer.
Marketing Cost: $0
This can be a little counterintuitive for new business owners because our instinct is to advertise to the largest possible amount of people that our budget can’t afford. Unfortunately this “shotgun” marketing strategy will likely only reach a portion of your target market. By spending more time researching who your ideal customer is, the more specifically you can advertise, saving you money and increasing closing ratios dramatically.
3. Utilize SEO and internet marketing.
Marketing Cost: $9-10 per month
In recent studies, researchers have found that most customers have already made it all the way through the sales process before ever talking to a sales person. In other words, they have a pretty good idea what they want, and what it should cost. The combination of the internet and smart phones has given consumers the ability to search for a business as soon as they have a need to fill. Therefore, if you want to stay competitive in your local area, your company website must be somewhere near the top of the page when some searches for the products or services you sell.
4. Shift the majority of your advertising dollars into email marketing.
Marketing Cost: $20-50 per month
Email marketing is, hands down, the best marketing strategy for entrepreneurs and startups for many reasons. This may sound a little scary to some of you believers of more traditional methods, but the truth is, email marketing is great for a lot of reasons. Email campaigns through platforms like Campaigner or Constant Contact can be laser targeted to the perfect audience and there are no limits to the number of emails that you can afford to send and the returns are incredible. Also, potential customers are far more likely to hand out an email address than a home address or phone number.
5. Stay in contact with your customers.
Marketing Cost: $0-100 per month
Social media is not a phase and it’s proven now that it is not going away anytime soon. Managing a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn account can help customers feel more connected with you, which helps them trust you. Not to mention, this is a great way to get feedback for continual improvement! And how about the good ‘ol fashioned phone? Some customers are happily surprised to hear from you, so make it a point to check in with a phone call at least once a month.