Marketing is central to any business. Without it, it will take longer, to get the word out to the detriment of your business' health.
Are you looking for some inexpensive marketing strategies? Here are some to get you started.
1. Social Media
Social media is among the most important tools that can spur the growth of your business. With social media accounts on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can then reach your clients easily and quickly and at little cost.
It gets better. Aside from placing adverts and promotional material, social media allows you to engage with your customers.
Here, they can ask questions, take polls, and leave reviews.
For this to be effective, however, ensure that your accounts are updated regularly and that all queries are responded to in the same manner as they would in-store.
While these platforms allow you to let loose and show your personality as a business, ensure to remain respectful and professional in all interactions. It's also essential to have a clearly communicated social media policy.
2. Start a Blog
Starting a blog is probably the cheapest long term marketing tactic you can use.
Ideally, your blog will go hand in hand with your social media handles, and the two should link back to each other.
The purpose of a blog is to entertain and inform your clients. Towards this end, you will need to create useful and actionable content that your readers will enjoy.
In a sense, blogs provide a more subtle way of selling. For example, if you sell blenders, you can create content on the importance of juicing, its health benefits, and other wellness pieces. In time, your brand gets known as the go-to for certain products, increasing brand awareness, and recall. Ultimately, you can convert this clout into sales.
3. Be Part of Your Community
The community you operate in will be your biggest source of clients.
Building some positive goodwill is, therefore, a worthwhile long term investment. And this does not have to be expensive either.
For example, you can sponsor a staffer or two to take some community service courses or an interested party in your locality.
These persons can then use this knowledge to enrich the community.
Another idea is to sponsor local events. If the cost gets steep, you can always partner with other complementary businesses in your area to pool resources and sponsor an event of choice.
Aside from the monetary donation, you get to have your brand prominently on display at the event, which is another way of making yourself known.
4. Referral Systems
Referrals bring an element of unparalleled trust to a business. Getting first-hand information from a relative, friend, colleague, or neighbour about a company gives it more credibility than an advert.
Let's face it; no one discusses a product's downside on an advert. The same is also true for poor customer service and engagement policies. Not surprisingly, many people take adverts with a pinch of salt.
However, when a client gets a direct referral from a friend or a family member, they are more likely to trust the business or product.
As a business owner, your hurdle becomes encouraging your existing clients to refer others. This is where a monetary or other incentive comes in. You should give a reasonable discount to each referee once each referred client makes a purchase.
A properly set up referral system can have a snowball effect on your sales, however you have to make people aware of the program at every appropriate opportunity, don't do what we have done so far and only have your referral program behind a logged in page, we thought this was a good idea until we refined it, however we are missing opportunities this way and there is always something more pressing to do than make it visible to all.
5. Join Forces
If you can build good relationships with existing businesses, you can use their popularity to build your brand.
To go this route, you will first identify a few complementary businesses.
You can then negotiate a system where you each give out each other's business information to your respective clients.
Say you own a gymnasium. You can cross-market your services with a juice bar, a health supplement retailer, a masseuse, and so on.
Granted, some larger businesses will find that this arrangement does not benefit them quite as much as it benefits you.
In such instances, you can have some add-ons like free gym memberships for a business' proprietors or a few members of their staff.
Remember that you will get more bargaining power as your business grows. Until then, this can be a cost effective way to get clients through the door.
6. Make a Splash
At times, it's the thoughtful things that people remember for a long time to come.
If there are large gatherings in your area, you can get attention by throwing down branded balloons. You could even attach some candy or bite-sized chocolates to the balloon ribbons before sending them on their way.
With any luck, people will take photos, bloggers will catch on, and curiosity will carry the day.
Either way, people will talk about it, and you can use the buzz to create more buzz online and on your social media.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cost-effective way to reach your clients and maintain long term business relationships.
Once you set up an automated email account, the next step is to try and create a client database. From here, you can send out emails about new products, free trials, promotions, and so on.
However, try and find the right balance when it comes to how many emails you send out within any given duration.
You want to provide information promptly, but at the same time, not bombard your clients with your company information.
Creativity is Key
As you can see, your marketing initiatives do not have to eat up a considerable chunk of your profits.
Once you know your audience, it becomes that much easier to design marketing strategies that will appeal to them, both directly and indirectly.
Throw in some creativity, and you have the opportunity to create a unique brand that will win you long term clients and give you enviable profit margins.