Marketing doesn’t always have to be expensive. There are lots of ways to market your business that needn’t cost the earth. It’s always more effective when it’s strategically done, very targeted and, where possible, underpinned by solid insight into your target market’s needs and requirements. You also waste a lot less time and money on advertising and marketing that doesn’t work! Here are a few easy, simple inexpensive marketing ideas that you can incorporate into your marketing activity calendar to get you started:
- Good Old Fashioned Sales letter – with so much email and digital marketing people don’t get as much in the mail as they used to so sometimes a good inexpensive sales letter sent via snail mail can get some good cut through. Develop a letter or series of letters that you can easily tailor and send out to promote your products/services. Adding a testimonial can also help creditability or make your direct mail piece a bit more exciting by including some promo item that ties in with the concept. Test a couple of different versions both short and long copy but make sure it is easy to understand, have key benefits highlighted and promote a clear compelling Call to Action. A good database will help response rates too but if you can’t afford to buy a list then start creating one yourself or use a cheap freelancer from somewhere like ODesk to help you. You don’t have to do a big, expensive mail-out all at once, remember you can stage the mailings so you can manage your time, costs, follow-up and any subsequent leads. You don’t want to churn and burn the leads you just paid for.
- Your Website– A good website becomes your sales and marketing team 24/7. A place to advertise promotions, broaden your market, communicate your expertise, encourage engagement, capture leads and opt-in to your database. Make sure your website is easy to use, engaging and a good brand representation of your business as first impressions count on the web. Make a promotional calendar for yourself of different offers you can use on your website and change them regularly. As much as possible use a landing page for the offer as it will provide targeted relevant information, funnel prospects through and track your results. Promote your website wherever you can, including through content, online directories or through other business contacts linking with you to help improve SEO and drive leads. Consider online advertising on sites/e-newsletters that reach your target audience, also SEO and paid advertising like Google Adwords/Facebook Ads/LinkedIn Ads
- Social Media – Currently there are over 13,400,000 Australians on Facebook and 3,900,000 LinkedIn users each month (http://www.socialmedianews.com.au/social-media-statistics-australia-august-2014/), which provides some pretty powerful word-of-mouth marketing if you can get it. However, it’s important to remember that like all marketing you still have to be strategic. Don’t just assume if you build it they will come because they probably won’t. You need to pick the right social media for you (don’t just do everything as you will never maintain it), be practical and start in a way that you can maintain because it’s essential to keep the content fresh. Allocate a person to do the posting or outsource if you don’t have time. Make yourself a list of topics and develop a monthly calendar of posts. Try to tie in with appropriate events and activities that are occurring throughout the year. Utilise a social media (SM) platform to post in one spot to all your SM sites (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) and be able to track the responses and analytics from your sites.
- E-Newsletters – retain customers, engage prospects and sell more to your existing database with a newsletter. Keep in touch and stay on your customer or prospect’s radar by sending out regular communications with interesting and useful information relating to your business or industry. Make sure the content is relevant and addresses your target market’s needs. Don’t forget to add your latest promotion or offer. Lastly track open rates and click through rates then strategically tailor your next newsletter based on the results.
- Competition – Everyone loves a freebie. An easy and cost effective way to generate some visibility for your company is to organise a product/service giveaway rather than pay for print advertising. For example a lot of the women’s magazines charge over $10,000 for a print ad but have a section promoting giveaways for their readers, where you only pay for the giveaways. Other competition ideas could include a charity raffle prize, business card draw at an event or slogan competition entry on your website. Be clear on what you want to achieve ie free publicity or to build your contact database etc, and design your competition around maximising your goals.
So, what are you waiting for? You don’t need a big marketing budget to promote your business. It’s time to start putting ideas into action!