In This Issue
- Big Returns on a Low-Budget Marketing Plan
- Word of Mouth (Referrals)
- Co-op Advertising
Welcome to the June 17th edition of Scribbles!. In the May 28th issue we covered the basic steps needed to create a Visual Identity and Standards Manual Kit. In this issue let's take a look at another task faced by a small business owner, your company's marketing plan, and how to get the most out of it.
Big Returns on a Low Budget Marketing Plan
So, why should you best optimize a low budget to create a fantastic marketing plan? Well, for starters, the cost of things like a Flash-only web site, full- or multi-page magazine ads and a TV or Radio blitz will certainly decimate your budget. However, these marketing techniques may not give you the return (increased sales) you are hoping for. Instead it could be better to use several low-budget marketing techniques on a repetitive basis to the get your message out to customers and prospects.
Books such as "Guerilla Marketing" have shown why inexpensive marketing plans are essential for small businesses in today's over-the-top advertising culture:
- Every penny spent on marketing must produce a commensurate return on sales. Advertising on the Super Bowl at four million bucks a minute better generate at least that much in sales! And what works for some doesn't for others.
- Your target customers need to hear your marketing messages at least seven times to influence a buying decision. Using marketing & sales strategies that eat up your budget will not allow you to repeat your message often enough to make an impact. Recent marketing studies have shown that a prospective customer needs to "learn" your marketing in order to be motivated to buy from you. If you spend your entire advertising budget on a one-time TV commercial you will not be able to repeat your message enough to have an impact.
- The impact that your advertising has can be amplified if your customer receives it through various marketing channels. Your target audience is much more likely to become buyers if they read a press release in the newspaper, hear about your company from a friend or business acquaintance, then go to your web site and download a catalog.
These are just a few of the reasons a small business needs to get big returns on its marketing budget. In the war for market share it's usually creativity - not a bucket of money - that wins the day (and the sale!)
Low Budget Marketing Techniques
- Word of Mouth
Set aside time during the week to work on your referrals. One of the strongest recommendations you can get are from a satisfied customer. Use testimonials and offer referral coupons to your existing customers. "Good word", as the saying goes, is stronger than any fancy ad campaign and far more cost-effective.
- Co-op Advertising
For the uninitiated, co-op advertising is the cost-sharing of advertising between a business and one of its suppliers. What's the catch? Well, since your supplier is putting up a nice chunk of change they will want the ad to feature their product and logo. Still, this type of arrangement may allow you to stretch your marketing budget enough to be able to run daily ads in your local mass-media outlets.
While there may not be a way to compete directly with a large company in your field, there are other ways for the alert Guerilla Marketer to strike. For example, if you run a computer reselling and repair business what's to keep you from putting flyers on cars in the mall parking lot in front of the Best Buy or Circuit City store? By tagging along with the big box company you have saved the time and money it would've taken to find out where your prospects shop for computers (and may later want to repair them.)
A good, low budget marketing plan should take prospects from having no idea you even exist to trying a little of what you have to offer and then to laying down their money and buying from you. Good follow-ups should also persuade customers to buy from you again and again and to tell all of their friends how great you are.
Next time we'll discuss how to make your web site an extension of your company rather than just "about" it.
Making Your Site Perform For You
- What Your Web Site Says About You
- First Impressions