Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com, the most trusted online business directory for small businesses and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources and business news. Megan has several years of experience on the topics of small business marketing, copywriting, SEO, online conversions and social media. She spends much of her time establishing new relationships for Chamber, publishing weekly newsletters educating small business on the importance of web presence and also contributes to a number of publications. Megan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To remain in business without a marketing budget would be near impossible. For many small businesses, having money set aside for marketing can be a problem. Revenue may be scarce. To get revenue, you need to market better. To market better, you need more revenue. It becomes a vicious cycle.
If you are faced with this situation, you are not alone. Hundreds of small businesses are trying to make the most of their marketing with a tight budget. So how can you have high impact marketing with a low budget business? Here are some quick tips from companies that have done it and done it well:
- Reach out to existing customers with a “refer a friend” offer or some type of purchase incentive. Basically you are creating coupons for your products and services. Yes, this may temporarily bring in less revenue per item, but if you are increasing your customers overall, you will benefit in the long run. By tapping into your customer’s referral networks you are amplifying your reach and getting new customers through the door. And by offering referral incentives, especially if you are using social media, you can keep your customers loyal, making them more likely to buy from you again.
- Get involved with your local community. Using social venues, you can network and advertise for free amongst your peers. This may include some competitors, but it will also include the businesses in your area that can refer you by word-of-mouth if you have something to offer that they do not. As part of the same community network, you will both have mutual interest in promoting local business and have a trusted relation because of your neighborhood connection. You can also help host block parties or neighborhood sponsored commerce events. Invite the local news stations and that 30 second segment just became your first free TV commercial.
- Budget smart using targeted marketing. Any time you do end up spending funds on marketing, make sure you spend it wisely. Marketing purses to men might not be the best use of your hard earned sales. If you try to be too general with your marketing, you are less likely to reach the maximum number of sales with each attempt. Ask yourself some questions about who is most likely to purchase from your company. Aim your marketing based on gender, age, geographic location, work industry, income level and lifestyle needs. By getting specific with your marketing, you will work smarter instead of harder.
- Join forces with similar businesses. This will split your marketing cost with everyone included. Examples of ways this may work include a service repair shop marketing with a glass repair man or a wedding photographer marketing with a reception hall or disc jockey. In the B2B marketing world this might include holding a joint webinar or creating a joint content piece. Both partners get market to their own databases and you can share the leads. When your business is for a specific clientele, why not join forces with potential partners!
Being a small business comes with a variety of disadvantages, but for every negative there are at least two positives. Be strong and proud of the company you are and make every dime that you earn really counts. These low cost and free marketing tools will keep more revenue in your pocket: revenue to grow your small business into a not-so-small business and beyond.
Do you work for a small business? What are some ideas you have used to stretch your marketing budget?