When money is tight, marketing is often the first to feel the budget slash. Many businesses feel that putting money into something so intangible and immeasurable is a waste during crunch times. And to a certain extent, their reasoning isn’t completely absurd. Sometimes you cannot afford to hire help. But be ready to do some work!
Marketing is an essential pillar to any business regardless of budget constraints. Fortunately, there are effective ways to combat a low budget. Bootstrap marketing can provide adequate marketing campaigns through ingenuity and hard work. Below is a short list of ideas that will deliver results when funds are low.
USE THE COMMUNITY
Community support will build a solid foundation for any business. A great way to earn that support is through carefully coordinated grassroots campaigns. Grassroots campaigns take advantage of the surrounding community. No one is off limits; you can collaborate with your consumers, your physical surroundings, or other even other businesses to help spread your message!
- Team up with fellow businesses to organize local events and friendly competitions
- Sponsor local talent via a music or art show
- Invite an artist to paint a mural on the side of the store that will generate attention
- Provide free classes about your line of work
- Build a social media community about combating an issue or educating on a needed skill
These are cost-effective ways in which to improve community standings and generate publicity. Creativity and resourcefulness are key factors in developing meaningful grassroots campaigns. With those two qualities utilized, the possibilities are endless.
Businesses that don’t have enough resources to mass produce broad messages should stop and refocus their efforts. The size of the audience reached is not important in these situations. Instead, decrease your attempted reach and magnify your value to a more niche market. Emphasizing a specific message is a great way to reach target audiences on a budget. Magnify your value in every aspect of your business; that could be anything from community efforts to store layouts. Constantly remind people why your business is different and why it is specifically catering to their needs.
An important activity in this strategy is to communicate with your current clients. Find out why they keep coming back and you may find strengths you never realized you had. Turn those strengths outward and use them to capture similar clients. Testimonials are a great way to share these competencies.
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A MUST
If you’re using social media then that’s great; strong content equals strong results. If you’re not using social media; why not? Social Media has become too large and too cheap a platform to ignore. Almost 90% of Americans have at least one social media account.
Social media is quickly evolving into a very efficient channel of communication. The raw access consumers now have to businesses is simply revolutionary. However, in all of its Internet glory, using social media professionally can be intimidating.
Social media can be a perfect platform on which to perform the past two activities. Build a community and distinguish yourself. Share, help, educate, inspire. You’d be surprised how much attention you can garner if you are willing to serve a group of people selflessly.
E-MAIL IS KING
Many marketers say content is king. That’s true, but when it comes to reliably reaching people on a regular basis, email is king. Sending E-mails is an extremely cost-effective way for businesses to keep in touch with customers or prospective ones. But don’t expect anything to happen overnight though, the industry open rate in most cases is around 25% and click rate is 5%. While that sounds small, it’s worth the gamble. Wondering what you will send?
Here’s a pro-tip: NO SPAM! Flooding someone’s inbox with junk mail is a sure-fire way to make them angry, which will ultimately lead to a loss of subscribers. Instead, e-mails should be used strategically. If you send an e-mail, make sure it either informs or incites action. Below are a couple of ways in which to do that correctly.
- Offer something free like an ebook
- Have a competition or sweepstakes
- Announce a sale or discount
- Share your blog posts, important information or industry newsBy William Thompson