With the current business environment I thought it was pertinent to dust off this previously published article, refresh it and give it new life.
It has often been said “I’m wasting 90% of my advertising budget; I just don’t know which 90% it is”. I have always been amazed by this statement, I believe it underlies a lack of understanding of how advertising and marketing works and also reveals perhaps the wastage that occurs with marketing.
I have always subscribed to the belief that a business could halve their marketing budget and not see a change in their sales revenues. Also a business could sit down with a marketing strategist, halve their budget and see an increase in their sales revenues.
So with this in mind I present the best 10 Low cost marketing ideas.
- Ask for a referral. Leverage your business from existing customers, ask for a referral and also reward customers for referring. If you have a strong customer base the next step is to build ‘brand ambassadors’ for your business. “Brand ambassadors’ are those who walk amongst us who will always be ready to give their recommendation as to the best, or most popular business in our area.
Today many businesses engage the services of an influencer to do what they should be doing themselves. They pay thousands to have their business/product/services touted by an influencer. This is a shortcut, similar to how years previously businesses would pay for likes on their social media platforms. Gave them a warm fuzzy feeling seeing hundreds like their page, but never really delivered a result.
Build you network of influencers, but make them genuine customers, who live and breathe your business, believe in your business and recommend it at all opportunities. The cost to you, exceptional service, friendly and engaging staff and a commitment to getting it done.
- Create a loyalty scheme. Consider the success of the Flybuys scheme. Coles rewards your loyalty, they also know what you buy, when you buy and can target you according to when you shop and what you buy. A loyalty scheme must be easy to understand and for your business easy to administer.
The simplest of these is the traditional coffee shop loyalty scheme, 10 coffees and the 11th is free. Easy to administer, uncomplicated and universally used
- Introduce staff incentives. Train staff on the up-sell, increase their product knowledge and encourage them to upsell. Remember in a previous blog (4 Ways to increase sales revenues) it was identified that increasing the yield was the best way to increase sales revenues.
If staff are incentivised, and it does not have to be a great amount, just a fair amount you can increase the instances of upselling.
- Get your message out – press releases and blogs. Regular and timely press releases serve to position your business with the public as a credible supplier and supplier of choice. In addition press statements will position you and your business as the go to guys for the media when writing and seeking a comment regarding your industry.
If you are a mortgage broker, blogging or issuing press releases regarding what the industry is doing, the number of first home buyers currently in the market and the strength of the market will position you strongly with the media. When they are writing regarding a local issue and seeking localised comment, I’m sure they will see your mortgage broking business as a source of content.
- Search Engine Optimisation. Getting ranked is critical. Using Google as well as True Local, Hot Frog and localised directories will all assist in your SEO.
Some companies charge a king’s ransom to SEO your site and get you page 1 ranked. In the first instance ensure your business is listed on localised directories as your number 1 priorities. Insure your google business site is up to date and includes pictures and reviews.
- Electronic Direct Marketing – EDMs. Build your data base of customers. Data mine that data base and send timely, relevant communications to them
Digital platforms such as Mailchimp provides a free or subscription service for EDMs. Be sure to conform to the relevant legislation regarding spam and digital marketing.
- Business Networking. There is a plethora of networking opportunities available to businesses today, Chamber of Commerce, BNI and social events all serve to broadcast your business to a wider audience.
- Blogs And Social Media Marketing. Sharing regular blogs on line plus helpful tips on social media can build your business profile, as well as building a sizeable return for your efforts.
The results are not overnight, but the build steadily upon the previous interaction and amount to a considerable positive brand builder.
- Trade Displays. These are effective either as an exhibitor or as a visitor. You do not have to be an exhibitor to benefit. Attend as a visitor armed and start to chat, mingle and work the stalls.
- Radio advertising. Radio has entered a golden era in Australia. However with the choices available today, it requires an analytical mind to best target the audience that will deliver the results for your business. Radio offers low cost and very effective market opportunities for your business. When used correctly it can deliver tremendous results for any business. It’s timely, highly responsive and can be very inexpensive.
However one of the traps many businesses fall into is to advertise on the radio station they listen to. Hearing your own ad is not a prerequisite to marketing success. It’s better to advertise where your customers are listening to. Better your customers hear your radio commercial rather than you.
These 10 ideas are just that, ideas. Of no value to a business until they are put into an action plan and strategically implemented. If you want to find out how your business can benefit fully from low cost, highly effective marketing, give me a call, it’s only 30 – 45 minutes of your time, and I will shout the coffee.
Peter McCullagh, Solution Based Marketing.