The recession is in full swing, but you still need small business marketing strategies that are effective, yet don’t eat up your entire budget. What kind of recession marketing techniques can you tap in to, to attract the greatest number of good customers for the least amount of money?
The following strategies have all been successfully used by many small businesses as cheap, yet very effective marketing techniques:
You’ve heard it at every business seminar you ever attended, and it’s still true: word of mouth is the best advertising and marketing strategy of all. Plus, it’s free. Give ‘word of mouth’ advertising a bit of a push by offering a small perk (10% off a product or service for example) for all existing customers who send new customers your way. Ask outright if they know anyone else who needs your product or service.
Once you’ve found a good customer, don’t let that person go. Anyone you’ve done business with successfully at least once, should be part of a database you can tap on a regular basis. Make a personal call a few days after completing a project or delivering a product, to ask if everything is satisfactory and if anything else is needed. The idea here is not to do more work for free, but rather to suggest and sell a new product or project. Keep in touch monthly, even if it’s just via a robotic e-mail advertising your services or product.
Define Your Brand
Lots of small businesses and self-employed people are all over the map when it comes to describing what it is they do. Anything that takes longer than seven words to describe, is way too long and is guaranteed to be forgettable. Think about what you do and what is best about you doing it, then boil that down to a short zippy phrase. That’s what the big guys do, and if you aren’t doing it too, you are probably losing customers due to confusion.
Consider a Logo
The process of designing a logo isn’t necessarily a short one or a cheap one, but if you are operating logo-less and you do have a good idea for a unique logo that you’ve been sitting on, go for it and plaster it everywhere. A killer logo can be all you need to get more business than you can handle
Issue Press Releases
You have to pay to advertise in a newspaper or magazine, but anybody can issue a press release. Focus on some aspect of your business that piques people’s interest, and spin it as a news story. Many a small business person has seen a phone ring off the hook as a result of a well-placed feature article in the local paper.
Volunteer as a Public Speaker
Public speaking heads everyone’s list of most-feared activities, yet nothing drums up business like being the resident expert.
Libraries, clubs and social networks, schools, and even other local businesses, all look for public speakers on a variety of topics. Be that person and you will be rewarded with new clients. If you speak publicly often enough, local TV stations will begin to call you when they need an expert to speak on camera.
Spring for a Good Card
No matter what the nature of your small business, you should always have a large supply of attractively designed business cards, and keep them on you at all times to pass out wherever you go. A well-designed card looks professional, uncluttered, and coveys what you do without a lot of fuss or detail. The purpose of the card is not to tell your life’s story, but to get the person who holds it to call you. Getting your card right pays off over the long haul, so get some professional design help on this one if you need it.
Create a Website
If you don’t own your own domain name and have your own website ,it’s past time to enter the 21st century. Lots of companies now provide cheap web hosting services that allow you to design your own site using templates that even a beginner can understand. Make sure your website URL and your e-mail address are listed on your card with your phone number.
Partner with Others
Double your customer base by doing a few projects with professionals in small businesses related to yours. If you install landscape material, approach a designer. If you do feng shui, talk to some realtors or interior decorators. You don’t have to enter into permanent legal partnerships to share a client base. The more you network like this, the more work you’ll get.
Networking and word of mouth are still the best forms of advertising, and both are free. Once you get involved in your community, start talking to other professionals in your own field and related fields, and chatting to your existing customers, you will find that the opportunities for low budget high impact marketing are limitless. Even better, you’ll meet some great people and create a network of support that will last your entire small business career.