The most important activity for a small business owner, besides providing a quality product or service, is having customers to enjoy it! Advertising to potential customers is a huge task that shouldn’t be taken lightly, but many entrepreneurs skip this step because of its cost. It’s generally recommended that at least 5-7% of a company’s budget is devoted to advertising and marketing. However, this can be an extremely high cost for a company with a very modest budget.
This is where a little creativity comes in. A huge mistake that many new business owners make is the belief that “word-of-mouth” advertising is sufficient. Keep in mind that in order for word of mouth marketing to be effective, you still have to put the “word” in the “mouth” of your initial customers. Creating a successful marketing campaign on a budgetis much like David’s encounter with Goliath—you get three shots!
Stone 1– Know who your target customer is and figure out the best way to reach them.
Step into the shoes of your customer and ponder why the product or service of your small business is needed. Where will they go to get it and who will they utilize for more information about it? The answers vary depending on your small business but knowing the answers to these questions can save lots of money and time. For example, if your product is a energy drink, it may be best to target gyms or sporting events for giveaways or merchandising. Exploring related online communities for maximum exposure is also a free method to deliver information about your product to your intended customer… for free!
Stone 2– Utilize social media.
Using the information that you have about your target market, take full advantage of free social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. These sites are free and give you access to a large group of individuals at one time. Join groups that contain individuals with interests similar to your product or service and n them that will benefit from your product and service and establish a page and a group to get
Stone 3– Take advantage of low cost advertising methods. Companies such as VistaPrint and InkGarden offer really low priced (FREE!!) promotional material. From business cards to t-shirts, flyers, and even mailing lists targeted to a specific location, these sites are real business savers. Determine which promotional material will be most affective to your target customer and make sure that any information you print is current and accurate.
This can mean buying 500 business cards to pass out or it could simply mean purchasing one shirt to wear to key locations. (Sidenote: I love to wear my LetMeThink4U.com shirt (courtesy of VistaPrint) when I’m traveling in airports and at conventions.)
What suggestions do you have to advertise your new business on a strict budget? Please leave your ideas in the comment section below!