Marketing is essential for the growth of any business. Even if you offer a top-notch product or service, without sufficient exposure, potential customers may never be aware of what your business has to offer. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have a large budget to spend on comprehensive marketing campaigns. Costly forms of marketing can be very effective in attracting new customers, but if the budget isn’t there, businesses can take advantage of alternative methods. Fortunately, there are many ways to attract new customers without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on where you should be spending your money when dealing with a tight marketing budget.
Web Design – Web design is crucial to a business’ success. Whether a business is found through an online ad or through search engine results, it is important that the website gives the right first impression. If the website looks outdated, you may lose business. An outdated appearance can give visitors the impression that a company is no longer in business. If a competitor has a state-of-the-art website and yours is lagging, the customer will most likely assume the competitor’s product or service is of higher quality. It’s also important to make sure that your website is compatible with mobile browsers. According to Forbes, 81 percent of smartphone users have used their phone to conduct product research. If a potential customer comes across your website using a mobile device, but the site does not load, is slow, or is full of glitches, it’s likely they will get frustrated and move on to a competitor. Spending money on modernizing your site’s design assures that you won’t incur these problems.
Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is an extremely cost-effective way to advertise. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are two immensely popular platforms for PPC advertising. The premise of PPC is that you only pay when someone clicks on an ad or link that you create for one of these sites. This means none of your money is wasted on uninterested viewers. While TV and radio commercials are very effective at reaching a broad audience to strengthen your brand, PPC sites offer targeting tools and analysis that help you target more specific audiences and see a quicker return on your investment. When used correctly, consumers who are actively searching for your product or service will see your ad. PPC sites also allow advertisers to set a daily maximum budget, cutting your ad off after an amount of clicks that you choose, to ensure that you do not exceed your budget. All of these features make PPC advertising well worth your time and money.
Social Media – Social media is a great way to humanize and expand the marketing reach of a business at little to no cost. Social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ allow you to easily create a profile for your business and post pictures, menus, specials, company bios, and almost anything else related to your business. A well-designed social media page adds value to your business by expanding your reach, driving traffic to your website, and raising awareness to special events and sales. According to Hubspot’s 2012 State of Inbound Marketing Report, 77 percent of companies have acquired customers from Facebook alone. Perhaps the most advantageous aspect of social media is that it allows a business to quickly and frequently interact directly with a customer. You can thank happy customers for their business and address any issues a customer brings to your attention. However, caution should be used when running a social media campaign. Poor judgment or a little mistake can sometimes bring unwanted negative attention to a business. It may be best to enlist the services of an experienced social media marketer.
Email – Email advertising is another way to reach out to potential customers without spending a large amount of money. An email is sent and received practically simultaneously, meaning you can get the word out in a timely fashion. Among the many things you can send subscribers are general advertisements, notices of special deals, and coupons. Email lists can be purchased to gain new prospects, and you can purchase as many or as little as you want to fit your budget. However, to save money, a business can grow their own email lists by posting content that can only be viewed if a browser enters their email address. A business can also collect email addresses in its store through sign-up sheets, comment cards, business cards, and other methods. Emails can also be an effective way to stay in touch with existing clients without being overbearing. An e-newsletter may be the best way to do this. E-newsletters can be sent out weekly, monthly, or however often you want and can include upcoming events or specials, news within the business, blog posts, seasonal greetings, or whatever you desire.
All of these options allow a business to build a marketing plan that meets your budget. Rather than using an entire budget on one method, businesses can use some of one option, less of another, or an even balance of options. The important thing is that you identify what is best for your business.
If you have any questions regarding how to budget your marketing expenditures or if you would like any help building a marketing plan, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at 1-855-PRMG-123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.