Businesses of all sizes have to carry out marketing to survive in today’s competitive world. Small businesses often lack the budget and resources to carry out large advertising campaigns, so alternative methods of promotion are required. Even if your small business has been around for years, there’s a threat your customers will go elsewhere if you don’t stay in touch.
Smart marketing is an effective way to reach out to new customers and grow your business. Many small business owners don’t think they can afford to carry out marketing activities, but there are lots of things you can do with a very small budget. Some activities have no financial costs at all.
The following article offers practical tips and advice for marketing a small business on a budget.
1) Have a plan and objectives.
It’s essential that you know what you want to achieve with your marketing activity. Having clear objectives will help you to understand the best tactics to use. Write a simple plan and stick to it. You may need to adapt your plan over time, but avoid changing your approach too often, and remember what your objectives are.
2) Consider what makes your business different.
Understanding why your business is unique can help to define the types of customers you want to attract. It makes it easier to write marketing communications if your business has a clear identity, and this is the foundation for building a brand. Do you offer unique products or manufacture them in a unique way? Does your business support environmental or ethical causes?
3) Set a budget.
Most forms of digital marketing involve very little cost, but a budget should be set aside for website maintenance, printed materials and other expenses. If you haven’t marketed your small business before it’s worth investing in the design of a logo. Having a marketing budget set aside means there’s less risk of cutting back on activity if business income fluctuates during the year.
4) Define your target audience.
Understanding the customer profile of your business helps to focus your marketing activity and get the best value from it. For example, if your customers are regular Facebook users this could the ideal platform for communicating with them. The age, sex and interests of your average customer are important factors, but building up a more detailed picture means you can refine your marketing strategy even further.
5) Use Social media marketing techniques.
Widespread use of tablet computers and smartphones has accelerated the popularity of sites like Facebook, and social media marketing is now firmly established. A Twitter account and a Facebook page are quick to set up and easy to maintain. You can promote your social media accounts on your website and in more traditional forms of marketing, such as your business cards. Choose social media platforms that complement the industry sector you trade in.
6) Have a website.
Owners of bricks and mortar businesses often question the value of a website, but it’s something you must have in today’s digital world. Research indicates that many people will look for your business on a search engine before dealing with you, and it can raise concerns if they don’t find a website. If you don’t plan to sell products or take bookings online your website only needs to have a few pages and to give basic information about your business.
Marketing activity should be a part of the day to day running of your business. Without sales and marketing you’ll have no customers to offer your products or services to. Using the methods described in this article means you should have high customer retention and regular sources of new business.