Note from Phil: This is a topic I get asked about all the time, and I thought it was time to share someone else’s point of view on marketing on a micro budget. Enter Chris Garrett.
A solid marketing campaign is one of the most important tools when it comes to building your business, but the costs can seem overwhelming. With some clever planning and some tips from the pros like our friend Phil, you can coordinate successful marketing without breaking the bank.
Bringing them in
Drawing customers into your store can be expensive, but try some of the classic, low-budget standards that businesses have relied on for decades.
- Use an inexpensive A-frame sign to lure customers in off the sidewalk. Flyers can be a great way to raise awareness of your company without requiring a huge investment, and on the local level they can be incredibly effective.
- Community involvement is another excellent way to create brand awareness and to build customer loyalty. More and more consumers are considering the ethical behavior of companies when deciding to spend their money. They care whether or not a company cares, and by getting involved in community events, either through sponsorship or volunteering, you can demonstrate to your customers that you care about more than the thickness of their wallets.
- Setting up cross-promotions with other small businesses can help reduce the cost of traditional advertising like newspaper or radio ads. Consider putting together some kind of event that you can both promote, which may even generate free ad time if it is interesting enough to get the attention of local news outlets.
- In-store marketing is incredibly important, and with a few great affordable décor options you can take full advantage of your physical location. Custom wallpapers and other inexpensive signage options can reinforce your brand identity with customers who have decided to give you a shot.
Bringing them back
Once you’ve gotten the customers in the store, don’t forget their value when it comes to marketing.
Happy customers will advertise for your company through bumper stickers, T-shirts, and other product placement. Spend a little extra on packaging with your brand identifiers on it so that your customers can easily express to their friends and family how much they enjoyed your service.
There is nothing more important that providing your customers with quality. Excellent products or services will go further than anything else in building your customer base and encouraging brand loyalty. It doesn’t matter how many people you bring into your store or get onto your website; if they find nothing of value when they arrive they won’t be back.
Whether consumers come to you in a brick and mortar business or online, they are looking for companies who are responsive and accessible. Being available for customer inquiries and responding appropriately to customer complaints will demonstrate that you care about providing value to them. In the age of social media, this can actually convert a customer to a brand advocate.
Happy employees can be the strongest brand advocates. Offering an employee discount will encourage them to spend money in your store, and maybe even to use your product around their friends and family. If they’re happy, they’ll have a vested interest in drawing customers in for you, and if they’re unhappy they’re likely to share that with everyone they know.
YOUR TURN: What’s your best way to market your business on a micro budget?