The first thing we all do when we set up a business is spend money – business cards, websites, leaflets, advertising …
But there is so much you could do for free! The truth is that most of us spend too much money, but not enough time on marketing!! So what should you spend your time doing? Here are some ideas….
1. Tell people what you do
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But you’d be surprised how often I find it is quite difficult to understand what a company does, particularly if it is offering a service, and also what makes that company better than its competitors – its Unique Selling Point.
2. Target your customers
To do this, you need to know who are they – their age, sex, socio-economic group, nationality, industry sector etc. When do they use your product or service? What do they read or watch? What do they do? Where do they go?
3. Use this information
You can then use this information to reach your potential clients. This could be speaking at the events they go to, writing articles in magazines or newspapers or blogs they read, socialising where they do, putting your leaflets where they are…
4. Repeat the Message
Whichever marketing tools you use, you will need to keep up a steady flow of press releases, mailings, exhibitions, networking events, adverts etc – once is not enough! Marketers often use the AIDA acronym which stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action – and you need to move the client through all of these.
5. Use Free Marketing Tools
If you register your business with online directories such as Yell the link will help with the Search Engine Optimisation of your website. Enter competitions and awards – local papers and networking groups often run these, and are desperate for entries. Getting press coverage won’t cost you anything either – more on this in a later article. Social Media tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and Linked-In are all free, and so is giving talks and presentations.
6. Use free online tools
There are lots of free marketing tools available online, such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact for email marketing, Survey Monkey and Smart Survey for online Surveys, and WordPress and Typepad for blogs. If you haven’t already got Google Analytics on your website, add it so that you can see how many visitors you get, and how they found your site.
7. Use the basics of Search Engine Optimisation
So many company’s websites cannot be found in Google, even for their company name. Make sure you understand the basics of Search Engine Optimisation – having the right page titles, having links on high ranking sites, and for local searches, registering your business on Google maps.
8. Use your Existing Clients
We all tend to emphasise getting new clients, but it is much cheaper to sell more to the ones you have. Make sure you keep them happy, get recommendations and testimonials from them, and use the information you have about them to sell more to them.
9. Write an action plan
The best way to ensure you put all of this into practice is to write a plan with actions. Make sure you agree it with somebody else, to encourage you to put do it. Then when you have actioned it, monitor the results, revise your plan and start again!
10. Measure the Results
You can use some of the tools mentioned above to help you monitor the results. Email marketing programmes will enable you to see who has clicked on what part of your mailing (and follow it up), and Google Analytics will show you how many people are responding to your marketing campaigns and clicking on your website. Just asking enquirers and customers where they heard about you can also help.
If you would to learn more about how to market your small business, you can download our free e-book Ten Top Tips to Improve your Marketing here
Author: Beryl Pettitt
Ridgeway Marketing provides Marketing Mentoring and Marketing Training to small businesses and organisations across the UK. Beryl Pettitt has worked in marketing for over 25 years, and her experience spans both the corporate environment and running her own business. She understands the needs and pressures of managing a business, so clients find her advice both practical and affordable.
Tel 01623 883144