When it comes to marketing, small businesses suffer a lot because of two reasons. One is that they have large competitors pool and another is they have too little budget to invest. It’s very hard to find cost-effective startup tips and marketing strategies while keeping up with the expenses and competitors. It all depends on how well you understand the trends on the market, competitor’s activities and psychology of the customers.
Here, I want to discuss few ideas for cost-effective (low budget) marketing strategies I found useful primarily for small businesses.
1. Create a story
When you enter the market, people do not even take an effort to know you and remember your name as there are already many businesses around them. Many businesses die unheard. The first step of marketing is to make a presence. Let other remember your name by your niche. For this, you have to create a story that makes your brand into the people’s mind. Grab some causes or points which are fit for your business and create a mind capturing story so that people around you can notice you. The story should be made focusing on your unique selling point (USP), current strategies and future plan of market penetration. You should keep in mind that your story is your advertising content. Prepare it with your best effort.
2. Find your audience (local)
The audiences of your advertising contents are your potential customers. You must already estimate the number of customers you are trying to attract prior to establishing the business. Now, it’s time to locate where they are living so that you can know where you are going to tell your story (you advertising content).
3. Find someone with large followers
When you show your product/service to people, there is a high chance that you will be ignored. The possible reason might be that you are not new in the market and people already have their service/product provider. Now what you have to do is finding some people who have good numbers of fan/followers in society. For example, celebrities, politicians, social workers etc. Make a deal or partnership with them to try your product and recommend it to others. It is known as influencer marketing. The initial step is to find your influencer. There are mainly two types of influencers. One is earned influencer and another is paid influencer. The earned influencer is someone you already have a good relationship with or someone who actually likes your product/service and announces it publicly. The paid influencer requires sponsorship and the amount varies with the number of people you might reach through them.
4. Organize events
Calling people in events helps you come closer to like-minded people (possibly might be your competitors) and your potential customers. While thinking of organizing an event, you might get scared as you think it will cost you high. No, it’s not. It depends on how tricky you can be. For example, there is an event for cleaning environment, planting or some other social cause, go there and distribute free bottles of water from your company, talk to them and appreciate them. As the event is going to get so much attention, you might make yourself to the news and publications.
5. Use social media marketing
Nowadays, everyone is in social media. From a child of age 10 to grandparents of 65 have social media accounts, it’s always beneficial to be there. There are three main reasons to be in social media. 1) large demographics 2) different locations and 3) free of cost.
6. Understand Psychology of potential customers
Knowing the psychology of the potential customers can be a great benefit for cost-effective marketing strategies. After all, the buying habits of customers are directed by their mental state, being aware of where they are in buyer’s journey as well as their mechanism of believing on things, following trends, daily habits etc can be the cornerstones while developing effective strategies.
7. Create offer/deal
Now you might have got some ideas of marketing. You have to be ready to do everything that is going to attract people (in a legal way). Creating offers/deals/discounts are other activities you can do for that.
8. Organize meeting
Organizing meeting is different than organizing events. Events can be of any fields and you just push yourself to be there but meetings should be closely related to your field. For example, if you are a small dust mask producing industry, create a meeting calling experts in the field of health and pollution control. There you need to discuss some serious issue regarding the health of people and how you can improve it with improving the quality of mask. It helps you gain the attraction from general people and experts as you seem so serious in your field.
9. Create unique and attractive benefit
The best way to penetrate into the market is to be unique. Following the path of others simply puts you in the shadow and it’s always hard for you to get noticed. Creating unique and attractive benefits helps you in this. Even if your niche is not new in the market, creating unique and attractive benefit helps you get noticed among others. For example, you are web designing company, if you create an offer of free SEO advice for the first three months for your profit-oriented customers, you might get too many contracts.
10. Value your customers (Customer retention)
The success rate of a company depends on how often it’s customers return back to it. The customer retention rate (the percentage of the customer returning back to purchase) really matters for small business because the targeted customers are nearly the same group inside a small location and their cyclic involvement is what generates the profit. So, to keep high customer retention rate ( more than 90% is ideal), customers should be valued for their engagement. It’s the behavioral activities of business holders and it requires more of the soft skills (skills required to make good relationship with customers) than hard skills (core skills related to the field).