Famed author Mark Twain once said, “A small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.”
But advertising can be expensive, and in a tight economy, many small businesses cut their marketing budgets first because of cash flow concerns. However, when times are tough, it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.
Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective and affordable ways to engage your customers and keep your brand top-of-mind, but it’s not the only way. Here are other tried and true marketing strategies that can help you market your business on a shoestring budget.
Friends and family
It all begins with those close to you, use your friends and family. Tell them about your business and ask them to try your service or product. Family and friends can turn out to be the most royal customers you can ever have. Then tap into their circles and introduce their friends to your business. As the cycle continues, you will have more and more customers.
Craft an elevator pitch
You should be marketing all the time, wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch. In Kenya and the world at large, the attention span of people is about 6 to 8 seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention. If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch.
Leverage your community
You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community? Participate in local events as a business, set up a booth and sale your business. Whether it’s a football match or a charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library and even restaurants. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time. Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.
Put together a group of non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote. You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms. (Okay, I had to add a little bit of social media to the mix.) By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.
I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people. Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have. There are very many business talks, events and workshops that you can attend in Kenya to meet like-minded people or even people who can be your customers.
Give a speech
A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups all over Kenya. Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside, the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field. In the wrong run your business will have more publicity than you could imagine.
Unlike the past years, today with the use of technology it’s easy to create a buzz allover. Look for websites that are in need of content that relates to what your company does. Respond to social media posts, questions from the media and in no time you will create a professional brand for your company.
Ask for referrals
Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own. Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.
It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by launching an email campaign. Make your communications informative and helpful, something your customers will look forward to receiving. Social media campaigns are another way to keep the communication channel open.
Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers according to the founder of MAMAMIKES. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base. Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.
Give it away
If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more. Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.
These inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.
Originally posted 2015-05-10 21:54:12.