If your small business has a limited marketing budget, you want to ensure that you get the very best results from what you do. Therefore activities, campaigns and initiatives which have the best ‘bang for your buck’ return should be your priority.
But what should your marketing priorities be? Having worked with a number of small businesses to boost their marketing efforts without breaking the bank, here’s my top eight marketing tactics which I’ve found provide the best return on investment
1) A Well-Written Blog
Blogging has to be my number one. Writing a blog gives your business its very own soap box. You can develop a voice and personality for your business, whilst simultaneously providing valuable content to your readers. It can also work wonders for lead generation, and provides the content you need when you start using social media to find and retain customers. According to a study by Hubspot, business to business companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those who don’t (source: State of Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Report 2010).
Blog about what your customers ask you regularly, or exciting projects your business is working on which might interest others. Don’t be afraid to be different with your blog articles; showing your business’ personality humanises your brand and this really helps people connect with you.
2) Enter Industry Awards
Industry awards provide fantastic brand exposure opportunities both on and offline. There’s an industry award for virtually every type of business imaginable, and the PR opportunities can stretch far and wide, whether you win or not. Consider alerting people of your entry in your email footer, your website, and on social media. Share the story with your followers and they’ll reward you with kudos.
3) Email Marketing
I know many have reservations about email marketing, but this is based on the terrible emails they receive. If email marketing is done well, it can provide dramatic results for your business for limited time and investment input.
Among the pros are that it’s incredibly cost effective, and can be highly targeted. Email marketing typically returns £40 for every £1 invested (source: The Direct Marketing Association, 2011), and a number of sources have suggested that this is a better return than any other platform.
The key to successful email marketing is simple: provide value. Give your recipients something useful, fun, entertaining or exciting and they’ll look forward to receiving emails from you.
4) Hand-delivered Direct Mail
Yes, I know direct mail can feel like it’s something out of the Stone Age, but actually direct mail has become rare and this is now its advantage. When marketing to businesses, something which is often underrated is personal interaction. Taking the time to hand deliver mail signifies a commitment to building your business.
By delivering it personally, you may have the opportunity to speak face to face with the decision maker and make a real impact. Even if you only manage to speak to the receptionist, you can still make an awesome impression which could translate to a sale or referral later on.
Get creative when it comes to direct mail. It doesn’t have to be a brochure, it could be an interesting piece of merchandise, or something completely off the wall. Deliver your message in a fun way and you’re sure to catch the recipient’s attention.
5) Network on Social Media
Social media can be a 100% free marketing tool if the purse strings are tight. If you do have some budget available, consider the various advertising opportunities around.
Lending itself naturally to engagement and interaction, social media is ideal for finding online conversations in the field you specialise in. Contribute to these discussions and you can position yourself as an expert in your industry.
It’s also an ideal way to boost traffic to your website or blog; 80% of marketers stated that their social media efforts increased traffic to their websites (source: Social Media Examiner, 2014).
These visual representations of information or data are all the rage at the moment. They’re a great marketing tool because we absorb images far quicker than reading words, and they are also incredibly shareable, making them ideal for use on social media.
They do need to look great however, so getting your infographics properly designed is worthwhile for the return on engagement they can provide.
7) Recycle Marketing Materials
Dig our any previous marketing materials you’ve created in the past and revamp them. Update the content, images, and format to make it more engaging and look new. And then promote it on your website, when you meet clients, or use it for your direct mail marketing. It’s a really cost effective way to create content for your brand.
8) Amazing Customer Service
This is a 100% free, sure-fire way to market your business. Remember that people want to do business with people. Make sure you and your team are those sorts of people. You want your customers or leads to look forward to seeing or hearing from you. Think back to when you received fantastic customer service, and replicate this.
Are you working with a small marketing budget? What have you found to be the best performing activity? Share your experiences below!