Small businesses can benefit greatly from improved marketing plans. Many small businesses owners don’t see the need for a cohesive plan; they think marketing is expensive and for larger companies. Let’s look at low-cost marketing ideas that can really boost your small business.
To make this work, remember that in the past, every small business bought yellow page ads. The yellow pages are dead, but good marketing replaces the exposure.
Here are some low-cost small business marketing ideas
1) Create and maintain a good functioning business website. Your website is you’re online office, your virtual spot for donations, the first impression many potential customers have of your business, and yes, it is your new yellow page ad. Your website should also be an information resource for your products and services.
2) Develop a new brand identity. This low-cost marketing idea may be easier than you think. How long has it been since you’ve updated your website? Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look and redesign your image to take advantage of the digital domain. Customers and prospects respond to new ideas and information which has been optimized for the internet.
3) Survey existing customers. How do your customers feel about your products and services? Stay in touch through informal lunches or a professionally-coordinated survey campaign. A survey is an excellent method for taking the pulse of your audience. The survey should include detailed questions about your products and services and how they directly benefit the customer.
4) Make a list of your strengths. This can be another low-cost marketing idea generator. Are you the low price leader? Is your business the most experienced? Do you have the highest quality product or service? Try to list between 50 and 100 different and measurable strengths. This is a great exercise to develop new ideas for your campaigns.
5) Now time for an easy, low-cost marketing idea – one you need to do now! The customer is always right… always. The time to prove this statement is when the customer experiences a problem with your product or service. Make a point to take responsibility and solve any problems that a customer might have immediately. Satisfied customers turn into repeat, long-term customers.
6) This next tip is a low-cost marketing idea if it helps you with the previous two ideas. Take a major customer out to lunch. Now is the time to ask a reliable customer out to lunch. Touch base with them to see how your company is solving problems and meeting their needs.
7) Establish an annual marketing budget and stick to it. A good rule-of-thumb estimate for your budget is 3% to 5% of annual sales. Retail businesses need to budget 7% to 10% of annual sales for their budgets. Your budget should include a breakdown of all costs including printing, social media, website maintenance and advertising placement.
8) Here is a low-cost marketing idea, but arguably the most important you can consider. Be positive in your outlook. It’s important to feel good about yourself and enjoy what you do for a living. If you have a positive attitude about your job, you will succeed by transferring that enthusiasm to other employees, customers, and prospects.
9) Always look at social media. Did you know that YouTube is the second most popular search engine? Have you established and maintained active Twitter and Facebook accounts? Have you considered Pinterest? Have you fully updated your LinkedIn account on a regular basis? You can create an account for free with all of these social media outlets.
10) We talked about your website, but another low-cost marketing idea is to have a very active blog attached to your website. A blog can establish you as an expert in your field and helps with search engine optimization at the same time.
11) Learn how to connect your website, blog, and social media into a network. Learn how to use back links and directories. The more you work on your online presence, the more your small business will benefit!
12) Here is your top low-cost marketing idea; in fact it is the most important idea you will hear. In order for anything we have talked about to truly succeed, you need to develop a solid marketing plan! You need a road map, a plan to keep you on track to sustainable goals, and a ruler to judge your success. Part of this plan should include your established budget and an ongoing record of each facet of your plans success to determine what worked and what to rethink. All low-cost ideas are successful if you learn and grow from them.
Bonus Low-Cost Marketing Idea: Consider hiring a company to help you with a complete formula, if marketing is not your thing. A firm that does marketing for lots of companies can often deliver a great campaign at a very low cost. But be careful, there are firms that claim to know what they are doing; hire a firm that trains you to maintain your marketing plan.
BizCentral USA is a one-stop small business resource center focused on helping entrepreneurs grow their small business with over 30 expert services. Be sure to check out our last blog “The Fundamentals Of Social Media Marketing”