Many new start-up businesses and small businesses often cannot afford to invest in external forms of marketing. However, there are several marketing methods that can be achieved in-house and on a budget.
Here are a few simple do-it-yourself marketing solutions that will not drain your bank account or your time.
Approach your customer base. No matter what your business offers, you will have repeat customers. These customers are ideal marketing tools. There are several ways these customers will be able to help you promote your business.
- Ask for customer testimonials for your website
- Undertake a customer survey
- Offer a customer referral reward program
- Ask for reviews on Google
Surveys and referrals are cost-effective and can be undertaken in a short amount of time. When asking for referrals there a few guidelines to remember
- Only ask satisfied customers for referrals.
- Make it a regular habit to ask for referrals.
- Don’t continually ask the same clients for referrals. They may be time-starved, find it irritating and they may consider placing their customer elsewhere.
- Don’t let hot leads get cold. Follow up on all referrals immediately.
- Keep questions open-ended. Let your customers tell their story.
- Always be open to accepting constructive criticism.
Incentivising customers can assist with participation in surveys and feedback. Showing appreciation with a thank you or a small gift often helps if you are looking for further assistance in the future. Customers appreciate your gratitude.
Focus on your existing customer base in preference to attracting new ones. It is a well-known fact that it costs 5 to 10 times more to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one. It, therefore, makes sense to market to those who you already have a connection with you. It is key to let your existing customers know all the services and goods you have to offer. Whilst they already buy from you, don’t presume they know everything you offer and are able to provide them. Offer a package deal – the more services/goods they have the better the deal. Considering offering a loyalty/repeat customer scheme.
Social media is an ideal vehicle to shout about your business. You can encourage friends, family, customers and suppliers to like and share your posts and content.
Quality and consistency are key to ensuring you have a successful social media following. Whilst social media is 24/7 it does not have to be time-consuming. Here are some social media marketing tips
- Choose your social media platform carefully. Only set up social media accounts on channels where your target audience is likely to be. Consider what you will be posting and the platform it is best suited to.
- Start your social media marketing with one or two platforms. You can then assess whether to spread to further platforms.
- Use a scheduling tool like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule posts on your behalf. This way you can schedule your content on a regular basis and monitor who is mentioning you, following you and talking about you
- Use Paid Ads to get directly in front of your target audience, and no one else. You set the amount to spend and your social media channel goes to work putting your information in front of the people who most likely need it.
You may like to find out more about the different social media channels on our posts “A guide to social media, part 1 and part 2” – https://insights.justcashflow.com/2016/08/10/a-guide-to-social-media-part-1/
Another tool available is video. Businesses now have access to great DIY options and software that won’t break the budget. Between shooting video yourself of your products and services, why not video a customer case study. You can then use Facebook Live or YouTube Live to air a broadcast, and using one of the many online video editing tools, the options for affordable, professional-quality video are endless.
Our final suggestion is to think carefully about your sales pitch. You should always be ready to talk about your business so it is imperative to ensure that what you are saying is succinct, precise and leaves your audience wanting to know more. So why not practice your pitch on your employees, family and friends. Ask for their opinions and find out how you can improve it.
As you can see you can start your marketing campaign on a budget. You don’t need to a lot a corporate-sized budget, commit a lot of time or be a marketing expert to effectively start promoting your business. With a minimal investment and a little planning and effort, you can set your small business marketing in motion, and focus more on what you do best.
Once your business is growing you can a lot a marketing budget, speak and instruct an expert suited to you and your business who will guide you through your marketing to grow your business even further.