Many times, small businesses are under the assumption that they can’t afford to do their marketing. However, the reality is that most can’t afford to go without it. Many times doing really cool, engaging and effective marketing does not have to cost a lot, and can still be true to who you are. Here are some things for you to think about and explore as you decide to grow your small business:
1. Create multi use pieces
When you have a piece designed, make sure it’s set up in such a way that you can use it for multiple things. When you have a tri-fold created, make sure it could also be used as a poster when opened up fully and hung somewhere. Think of postcards as marketing material that can be mailed or used as handouts. This will allow you to have professional pieces designed, while keeping your costs down. Find a designer that understands this and can help you bring multi-use pieces to life.
2. Think small distribution
Often people get overwhelmed with the dollar amounts needed to do mailing campaigns. This does not have to be the case. Rather than doing massive mailings, do pinpointed and deliberate mailings to your target audience. If you have done step 1 well, you can take the pieces you have already created and use them as mailers. Once you have your audience clearly defined, you can buy mailing lists that target this audience, at relatively low prices. Do mailings of a few hundred (or even a few dozen) at time if that’s all you can afford to do. You may find out that it is more cost effective than you think.
3. Buy in bulk, when it’s right
There are certain things that make sense to buy in bulk, and some that do not. This is especially true when you are smaller in size. For example, if you are doing a multi-use print piece, buy as many as you can afford in one shot. It will drastically lower your cost of per piece and make you worry less when you mail them out. This also splits the cost of the printing and mailing; keep your extras in stock and mail them as you can. If you are looking for logo clothing, buying in bulk is good. But when you only need a few pieces, use resources like queensboro.com that only require you to buy 4 pieces at a time. Also, they almost always offer great promotions on a daily basis. This will allow you to slowly build a wardrobe for yourself and any of your employees, without having to spend large amounts at time.
4. Do something, it’s better than nothing
What we mean by this is that you have to take advantage when you can. When you are out and about, make sure you leave business cards, flyers, postcards or tri-folds wherever you can. At your doctor’s office, the dentist, the attorney and any other place you visit where you can leave a few pieces behind.
5. Utilize the internet
Spend a little money and make sure your website is up to date and looks great. If you are utilizing a multi prong approach (distributing materials wherever you go, like little breadcrumbs) people will eventually end up on your website. If your site does not meet the standard they expect, the sale is dead right there. So this is a key piece in your marketing puzzle. Make sure you utilize social media as well, but utilize it wisely. A general rule of thumb is that one out of every four posts should be directly business related. The other three should be “personal,” not promoting anything specific. It’s sad, but remember: if you share an animal photo it will most likely be shared 10 times more than the promotion you are running. This reveals the sad reality that more people will probably see your business name when you share a dog photo, than when you are running a great promotion. Make sure you take the time to boost your posts every once in a while as well. Set up your demographic and utilize a few dollars here and there to promote your posts. This applies to all the social media you use.
Overall, remember that there is not one magic solution to handle all your marketing. Networking, direct mail, online marketing, radio and even newspaper advertising should always be on the table as options. The key is being smarter about how you utilize your marketing dollars so that they are effective, rather than thinking in bulk. The smaller, cheaper and more targeted marketing can often be much more effective for your specific business than a bulk approach.