When it comes to marketing your small business you don’t need to spend a fortune; there are some simplistic solutions that are completely free and just need a little common sense applying to them. The range is extensive, you may want to consider using an auto dialler to improve call efficiency and effectiveness or a site like Freedcamp can enhance your project management skills.
Marketing a small business isn’t rocket science but different needs and styles apply to different businesses. Before embarking on any form of marketing ensure you know your four P’s (product, pricing, placement and promotional strategy) before spending any money.
For those with little (or no budget) these three marketing avenues may provide some helpful ideas on how to maximise profits by investing little money (but ensuring you invest time).
You may want to stick with traditional routes to market. Every time you send outgoing postal mail make sure you include a marketing brochure or flyer, it doesn’t increase the postage spend but could appeal to a potential or existing customer. Similarly writing a blog or a newsletter to your existing customers provides an easy opportunity to increase revenue streams from your current client base.
Word of mouth is an exceptional way to discover new clients, every time you finish a piece of work ask your customer who else they know that would benefit from your service and then pick up the phone and make the call; citing your customer as an introduction. Asking for written testimonials to use on your webpage or LinkedIn are also powerful marketing messages.
For sole traders and business with less than 10 people simple still works, advertising in local magazines relevant to your business or trade will still create a revenue stream. Take the time to research which publication is most relevant to your industry, product and or service offering. Ensure the copy is well written and your contact details are easy to spot.
If you have a webpage ensure you include the details so your prospective customers can find out more about you. For return on investment ask each enquiry how they heard of you so you can track the amount of business received against advertising spend, hence ensuring it is worth the cost.
Work with local media, if you can get publicity via a news story it creates positive PR and free advertising. Look at what your business is doing within the local community, any charity work etc and send out a Press Release giving an outline of the details
Social Media is a new, exciting online resource for marketing your business. Many companies make the mistake of hiring a junior administrator to manage their social voice when in reality social media works best when it comes from seasoned industry professionals and business owners.
Ensure your website is clean and user friendly and highlights where-else you can be found. LinkedIn and Twitter are the most popular business tools currently but Google+, Pinterest and Facebook are relevant for certain types of business.
Twitter can be used to post links to relevant industry articles, offer discount vouchers to engage the audience, just make sure you listen to your stream and speak to other people offering advice and conversation, if not people will ignore your tweets and see them as spam.
In LinkedIn join groups that are relevant to your product or service and network, offer comments on other group user’s questions and post tips and questions of your own. If you treat a LinkedIn group with the same level of respect that you do an offline networking group you will get positive results. If you ignore answers, don’t thank people for their time and walk off midway through a phone conversation you will find this an unsuccessful tool.