Three Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget
Starting out in any business can be a costly affair. Over the years I have seen many new start-ups waste far too much money on jazzy marketing campaigns and sales promotions that brought them no business. Here are my top three tips for marketing your businesses products, services and creating awareness of your new brand effectively on a shoestring budget:
1) Hand out a great business card: A well designed, full colour business card can be as cheap to produce as 1-2 cent per card. Remember to use both sides of the business card to give out a message so you’re getting the ROI from the cards. (Ours have our personal details and company branding on the front and details about how to join our Scentsy team on the back).
Don’t waste money on fancy paper, metallic sheens etc just have all your company details and logo correctly spelt on the front and a key business message, appointment details or place to write in a special offer on the back. I would invest in a full colour printed card so that your company logo is properly reproduced – remember you’re new and trying to get your brand out there.
So now you have your new business cards – get out there and use them. They are no good to you back at the office, or only handed out to the chosen few. This business card is your calling card so give it out whenever possible – better still make it happen. I went to the supermarket the other day and was chatting to a fed up checkout girl, unhappy at working late nights. I gave her my card with the join up message and she has given me a call for more information.
When you leave your card make sure to give it to the person, write an offer code or any extra details on the card and ask them to keep you in their wallet/purse or in file for when they might need your product or services.
2) Set up Facebook Page: Facebook pages are free and very easy to set up (Click here for more information on setting up a facebook page). You can brand the page with your company logo and show of photos/information about your products and services to increase brand awareness. Facebook’s new timeline also makes it very easy to show the human face of your business and brand all for free and all from the comfort of your office. You can build up a fan base by asking your customers to LIKE your Facebook Page, perhaps run special offers and promotions on there to encourage them to look in from time to time. (See wickfreecandles.net facebook age for ideas)
You can also interact with other businesses as your brand by liking, sharing and supporting their pages. Reciprocal marketing (supporting/promoting other business in exchange for promotion or direct business) is a very cost effective business tool which we will cover more another time.
With facebook you can be funny, informative, though provoking and entertaining but to keep your fans happy don’t make your page all ME, ME, ME (lots of dull promotions about your company/products) but offer value to your customers by posting information about other things they might have an interest in. (For more information check out Andrew Macarthy’s 500 Social Media Tips for Marketing e-book).
With Facebook Business Pages you can also promote your page, special offers or specific products with lost cost, targeted adverts. And you can run competitions and promotional offers to get people sharing and liking your page or talking about your business.
3) Fundraise for business awareness: That’s right giving some time, money or products to help someone else. When I started in my marketing career business (many years ago) I had the task of raising the profile of a car dealership in a very competitive market, with no advertising budget. So I spotted a story of a local BMX group who had their transport stolen before a big competition and needed help – in the company stepped to loan a fully fuelled van for the weekend. In exchange for our good deed we were publicly praised in four local papers, one BMX riders family bought a car from us as they now knew where we where and the showroom became busier.
Fundraising doesn’t need to cost your business any money. With the example above we have a van sat doing nothing and fuel was held onsite so the cost was minimal BUT we gained over 2,000 euro of free advertising in the news stories which covered our good deed. So if you are offering help, services or donating products to a cause or charity contact your local paper/radio station and ask for a photographer to come and cover the occasion. If a photographer can’t come take your own photos and send it in with a short press release – make sure to include your company’s name and contact details and the HOW, WHEN, WHAT and WHY of the fundraiser. (We will be blogging on press release writing for business promotion soon)
Have you started up a business recently – what’s been your cheapest and most successful promotion so far – share it with us below.