If, as a result of the present economic times, you find yourself cutting back heavily on your marketing budget, it does not mean that you also need to cut back on your marketing activities. Marketing is paramount in these times of economic distress.
How then can you keep your marketing efforts alive despite a dwindling fund?
There are many marketing initiatives available that are free of cost or have a minimal cash outlay with a relatively high return that small businesses can effectively employ to remain competitive.
Here are nine such techniques that can help you survive and thrive through the present tough times.
- Networking – Networking with local business groups, local ‘service’ groups such as Round Table, Lions etc, or even at your children’s school or the church, etc. can be a great marketing technique that does not cost a thing. Spend your time instead of your money.
- Referral policy – Ask your existing customers to recommend you to a friend and, if necessary, give them some form of reward (high perceived value to them, low-cost to you) for doing this.
- Targeted Direct Mail – A carefully written letter sent to a targeted list and then followed up to increase response rate can work wonders for your business.
- Improved Signage – Improve your signage to cover the services you offer.
- Marketing Collateral – Leaflets promoting all your services sent out with invoices or directly to your customer base is a cost-effective marketing technique.
- Email Newsletters – While it can cost a bit to set up a template, email newsletters come with only a small cost to use as long as you have the time to write the content yourself. There is no postage associated and these are free to send.
- Free Poster Signs – Post signs on your vehicles – you have a free poster site, why not use it!
- Internet/Online Marketing – There are a plethora of free/low-cost options available online, such as blogs, social media, membership communities like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Meetup, Yelp etc. where you can market your products and services. YouTube can be used effectively to demonstrate your product and with the help of social media tools, these videos can reach a newer, wider audience.
It is important to remember that axing your marketing budget does not mean that you also minimize your marketing initiatives. The biggest mistake businesses make during a recession is to cut down on their marketing activities. Using these free, low-cost marketing techniques will help your company stay afloat during these tumultuous times.
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