Marketing on a budget

How to generate more business when you have limited cash available.

  1. Your website is the most cost-effective item in your marketing budget. Get your money’s worth by promoting your website at every opportunity - brochures, vehicle and shop-front signage, signatures, business cards, advertisements, press releases (it’s amazing how many press releases don’t include a website address).
  2. Make sure your website is up-to-date. Spending money and effort getting prospects to your site only for them to see an old products list or last year’s events is wasted money. Also, Google likes frequently updated content so will favour an updated site in it’s rankings.
  3. Get listed in free directories and any reputable directories you can afford. If you use Yell or Thomson on-line you can check during the year how many visitors you get from them to your website. If it’s not many or the wrong type of visitor don’t bother to sign up for a paid listing next year.
  4. Don’t fixate on hits to your website. A free listing with no url (web address) but which includes your phone number can generate business. These directories often spend a lot of money to get high placings in Google search. It doesn’t matter how prospects get to you so long as they do.
  5. If you are a wholesaler help your retail customers sell your products. List them on your “Where to buy our products” page.  Ask them to link to your site for more information. Both of you will gain - WIN WIN.You can do the same with any partners or suppliers you use.
  6. Make sure your entry on your trade association website is correct and up-to-date.
  7. Don’t forget your existing customers. Sales to existing customers cost less and are more profitable than to new customers. Keep customers up-to-date with your products and services with a regular email newsletter. You can use Word to do a mailmerge and send emails to individual customers. Keep the email short with just one small picture and link to your website, blog or Facebook page for the full story.
  8. Answer all enquiries. Having got prospects to phone, email or complete your enquiry form don’t throw away the opportunity. Answer promptly and helpfully. If you don’t have the product they’re asking for reply anyway and thank them for their enquiry. Invite them to visit again and sign up for your newsletter.  Follow up after a week or so and see if there’s anything else they need.
  9. Open all hours! If your office closes at 3.00 pm on Friday afternoon you have a potential 65 hour window when someone may make an email enquiry and get no answer. Many people won’t wait that long and buy elsewhere. Make sure someone is tasked with checking emails over the weekend and holidays.
  10. Press releases. Local and trade press are always looking for stories. Write a short piece about your new premises, customer (especially if export order), staff. Charity events are good copy too, so if your office is running, cycling, eating Mars bars for charity - let people know, and of course add your website url.

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