One of the most important tools in getting a new business off the ground is marketing. Unfortunately, most startups do not have endless marketing budgets available to them. Resources are, more often than not, extremely tight and entrepreneurs need to figure out how to stretch their advertising dollars as far as they can possibly go. Blindly spending money on expensive marketing venues does not automatically generate profitable leads. Think of your marketing expenses as an investment, not an expenditure. The smartest move to make here is to shift your focus to the most efficient marketing techniques available and cut out what isn’t performing well for you. To get the most out of your marketing budget, consider the following:
TAKE OUT THE TRASH
Find out what you are spending money on that is not bringing in new leads. Whether it’s printing flyers to put on car windshields or a television advertisement that runs at 3:30 in the morning, if it is not boosting your numbers but it is costing you money, scrap it. You tried an idea, and it didn’t work. Now you can keep that money in your budget for something more effective. Most new companies are operating of small business loans and cannot afford to waste one single cent of that money if they hope to succeed.
IF IT’S FREE, USE IT
Social media sites can give you some of the best PR there is. Make sure your company is taking advantage of sites like Twitter and Facebook. Accounts like these are extremely helpful when it comes to building a positive relationship with your customer base. Social media is also an invaluable tool when it comes to getting people talking about your business and your product or service. Word of mouth advertising, even with all of our modern technological advances, is still one of the absolute best ways to have word about your company get passed around. More than half of B2B marketers feel that social media advertising is a “very” or “somewhat” low cost ad option. Make sure that your startup is making the most out of social media.
You might also consider writing a press release and sending it into a local, well read newspaper. If all goes well your press release could get picked up by a journalist, who in turn would write something about your business and your product or service. The article would then be published in the paper giving your business a nice little boost that cost you absolutely no money whatsoever.
GET A WEBSITE
If your small business does not have an accessible website then it is in your best interest to make one. Immediately. Websites can be designed by you or a professional for anywhere from free to less than $100 a month using a template system. Or if you want an affordable custom website design Red Spot Design can help with this. Having a company website makes your small business look more professional and more credible. Having a website is especially important if you are running a home-based business since you do not have a storefront to work from to promote your products or your business. Your site can also act as a means for you to showcase your work, whether it’s products you have for sale or your portfolio for customers to look through. It will also allow you to keep your clientele informed, makes you available 24 hours a day, and makes it possible for you to target a wider audience.
SPREAD THE LOVE
Getting your staff or just yourself, as the case may be, to volunteer with local organizations is an excellent way for you to get your fledgling company’s name and logo out there and have it associated with something good. In addition to shining a positive corporate light, volunteering together offers opportunities for team building within the company and can serve to enhance employee/employer relationships. Most importantly, the main benefit (besides helping others, of course) that your small business will receive from volunteering with local organizations is an arena for networking, which leads us to…
WORD OF MOUTH
85% of small businesses get new customers through word of mouth advertising alone. Word of mouth marketing generates a buzz in which one customer who has had a memorable experience with your company tells a friend or two about it. In turn, that friend tells one or two of their friends and so on. This form of marketing is also essential because it is 100% free. No matter if it is via a telephone conversation or a post on a social media site, word of mouth is also vital because consumers trust their friends more than they trust advertising.
Marketing is an important part of any business operation, and one that cannot afford to be overlooked or taken lightly. Admittedly, it can be a challenge to find ways to get your company name out there without tearing through your meager marketing budget. Plan strategically so that each dollar you spend has a purpose and is being used as effectively as possible. Sit down and create a comprehensive marketing plan to help keep you focused and keep your finances on the right track.