June 13, 2010
If you think the only way to execute your marketing plan is with expensive advertising, you’ll be pleased to learn there are other less costly approaches.
A good place to start is by spending some time researching your market. To better target your small business marketing plan, create a portrait of your ideal customers.
- What is their average age?
- What is their average income?
- Where do they live?
- What lifestyle choices interest them?
Set goals for your campaigns
The next step is to create a budget and set goals for your marketing efforts. For example, you could decide you want to boost sales of a particular product; increase traffic to your website; or collect a specific number of new email addresses for your online newsletter.
Be methodical to save money
Here are a few tips on how to optimize your marketing efforts and avoid wasting your money.
- Be logical and methodical in planning your campaigns in keeping with an overall marketing plan. Random marketing has little impact and can even lose you clients.
- Test your campaigns before launching them.
- Focus on the benefits of your product or service and what sets your company apart from the competition.
Use affordable marketing tools
There are a number of economical ways to convey your message. Choose the ones best aligned with the nature of your business.
If you are aiming to expand your customer base at an affordable cost, marketing through your website and social media properties will probably give you the best bang for your buck. For information on how to do it, download BDC’s free eBook, Boost your sales with online marketing: A guide for entrepreneurs.
You can offer your services as an expert speaker when a conference is organized on a topic related to your product or service.
Come up with a unique promotion or event and then publicize it by sending a snappy news release to local media.
Use direct mail to target specific geographic areas with information about your company accompanied by a special offer.
Advertising in local newspapers can be inexpensive and you can usually place ads on notice boards for free.
They should be simple yet professional. A brochure that looks like it’s been produced by amateurs isn’t a wise investment.
They are useful if your product or service is intended for a very specific market, like other businesses in a specific niche.
Networking is a good way to meet potential clients and showcase your expertise, particularly if you offer professional services. Membership in associations for business people, for example, can help you to generate further business from existing clients and find new ones.
Ask for referrals from satisfied customers. Consider offering a gift or discount to those who bring you new clients.
If you need help to create and execute a marketing plan, hiring a consultant who specializes in small business marketing can save you time and money.