Marketing can be an expensive game to play. Getting a correctly designed message seen by the correct people, in the correct place, at the correct time can rack up quite a bill. According to a figure recorded in 2013, the average SME spends £23,810 ($30,227 US) on their respective marketing campaigns, while achieving less than 40 percent of their planned marketing activity.
Heaps of research, planning and money goes into a successful marketing campaigns, with huge corporations like Proctor & Gamble spending a whopping $4.9 billion promoting their products, annually. For SMEs though, there are many easier, quicker and, most importantly, cheaper ways of marketing your product or service. Here are three no-cost marketing techniques that you can implement to start developing your business, for free.
If you haven’t embraced the world of networking yet, then now is the best time to start. Networking events provide opportunities to connect with valuable business personalities in your area, which may even lead to the formation of partnerships between your businesses, but it’s up to you to get out there and meet these people. Take a look at who’s attending the event beforehand and pick a few people you’d like to connect with, then make it your priority to speak to them. If all goes well, you could be faced with a professional meeting in no time.
However, it’s important to remember that networking is NOT always a place for work. If you really connect with another attendee, but a professional partnership isn’t feasible, don’t worry about it.
Keep all of the contacts you acquire, even if they’re not complementary to your business – it’s better to have them and not need them, than need them and not have them.
That doesn’t mean I must get ‘X’ amount of work from this networking event — that never works — but set yourself a plan/target before you go.
This could be:
• I must talk to five new people today;
• I must talk to these three people today (ask for a delegate list before going);
• I must make a connection with this type of businesses;
• Build relationships
If you’ve got a story you want to shout about but you’re not sure how to draw attention to it, you’re in luck! Recently, local papers have been publishing far more customer-generated content, which means that stories relating to local SMEs are getting far more attention than they used to.
However, a newspaper won’t select your story for publishing if you’ve only done half of the work.
So make sure your story is complete, check your spelling/grammar and accompany the article with good quality photos. Finally, follow-up your submissions with an e-mail to make sure your article doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
At our company, we know how essential the powers of social media can be to a business. Displaying a positive brand image online can attract new customers, keep them regularly updated on what’s going on with your business and even prompt them to recommend you to others.
In a recent study, 73 percent of 1,000 participants said they felt more positive about an SME once they have followed their Twitter accounts/read their tweets.
Twitter’s surveyed all found that three-quarters of your potential customers will look for reassurance about the credibility of your brand by searching for it on Twitter.
Does your brand’s online presence offer that reassurance?
Perhaps even more shocking: 86 percent of those surveyed stated that they plan to purchase regularly from an SME that they follow on Twitter. But that’s not all… half of this 86 percent even went as far as to say that they plan to purchase multiple items from the SME they follow.
We recommend using the 80/20 rule, which involves only advertising your business 20 percent of the time. Imagine you’re having a conversation with a person and the only thing they want to talk about is themselves – doesn’t sound like a very fun conversation, does it? By posting interesting content — ideally three to four times daily — that is separate from your business, you can keep your customers’ attention locked in for when you do slip in the occasional post about your product.
• Slightly helps Google rankings;
• Builds relationships;
• Identifies target market;
• Builds a loyal following.
Simeon Elliot has 10 years of experience in marketing and PR and is a specialist in business start up and money saving.