Five Cost-effective Ways to Market Your Small Business
Word-of-mouth may be one of the most overlooked marketing tools, but the truth is that any company, big or small, benefits from the positive word-of-mouth generated by a good reputation. Prospects that come to your company through the recommendation of a friend or colleague are more likely to become customers and to stay loyal customers. How can you build word-of-mouth? To begin with, treat your customers well. Give them reasons to want to tell others about your company or product or service. Join professional organizations and Chambers of Commerce. And finally, ask your current customers to tell others about their experience with your company. (Just be sure it was a good experience.)
Press Releases —
Use press releases to tell people about new developments in your company, or announce recent accomplishments, announce a new product or new service, an award your company won, a big contract received, a new employee or employee promotion, and the list goes on. The benefit is that press releases are free and, depending on the publication, spread the word to a large audience.
Direct Mail —
Direct mail is a cost-effective way to target your marketing. Build or purchase a list of prospects that match your target demographics. Build the list. Always be looking for ways to add to your database of prospects. Don’t delete names because they didn’t buy the first time you sent them something. Build your list. Then mail to that list regularly.
Things to send:
Postcards. Postcards are inexpensive to produce and mail and get the message across quickly. You can use postcards to make company announcements similar to a press release, but targeted to your audience.
Letters. Another highly underrated marketing tool, letters to current customers can help build loyalty. Letters to prospective customers can implement a very specifically targeted message. And letters, in general, convey a sense of personal service.
Niche Advertising —
Find out what directories, trade and specialized publications, online and offline, are relevant to your profession, product or service and get listed.
Look for opportunities to advertise in these specialized venues. The more your message is targeted to your specific audience, the better the return on your investment will be.
Company Website —
A website can do a lot more than sell widgets. A good website will tell potential customers what they need to know about your company and how your product or service can solve their problems. It isn’t necessary to have a large and elaborate site. What is necessary is that you provide information that’s useful to the visitor in his decision-making. It doesn’t need lots of photos or animations or flashing messages. It needs to be easy to navigate, clear and easy to understand, and it needs to answer questions from the visitor’s point of view. A website can also be used to keep current customers up-to-date with new products and services offered.
Key to Success
If only the above five tools were used consistently, a small company might never need any other marketing. The real trick is finding the right combination of marketing venues and tools, then consistently implementing them throughout the year. It’s not as important to be clever as it is to be consistent and persistent.