Newsletter No 1 - January 2012

2011 was a pretty difficult year for most organisations. Getting new customers and keeping the ones you have must be a priority for 2012. So the topic of this newsletter is:

Marketing on a shoe-string

Wikipedia defines Marketing strategy as “a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.”

“Limited Resources” is a phrase that strikes a note with many organisations and small businesses this year.  The great thing about your website is that it is by far the least expensive item of your marketing budget. Compare the cost of:

  • Advertising in local, national or trade press
  • TV advertising
  • Direct mail
  • Leaflets
  • Brochures
  • PR

You probably still need to do some of these things. But if you have a really tight budget - start with your website. A good website also means you can cut the cost of your other marketing items because you can keep the message in other media brief and include links to your website to provide your potential customers with more information, photos and so on and hopefully get them to buy. For example, you can design brochures and flyers with a general message so you don’t need to keep doing additional print runs with latest specs and prices. You can link to your website from social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Here are 5 ideas for stretching your marketing budget:

  1. 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 marketing budget. Also, Google likes frequently updated content so will favour an updated site in its rankings.
  2. Get listed in free directories and any reputable directories you can afford. If you use paid listings such as Yell or Thomson on-line check during the year how many visitors you get from them to your website. (Check using your website stats  report or Google Analytics). If it’s not many or the wrong type of visitor don’t bother to sign up next year. 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 top listings in Google search. And of course make sure your entry on your trade association website is correct and up-to-date.
  3. 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.
  4. Press releases. Local and trade press are always looking for stories. Write a short piece about your new premises, new staff, new order (especially if it’s an export order). Don’t get talked into paid advertising unless you can afford it. Make sure your company name, contact details and website url are included in the story.
  5. Don’t waste your budget on cowboys. No-one can guarantee your website will rank no.1 for all the hundreds of search words and phrases your prospects are likely to use. There’s no point in paying to rank highly on your company name – if your website is designed correctly that will happen automatically. Don’t spend money to automatically submit your site to “1000’s of directories and search engines”. There’s only a handful of directories that matter and only Google and possibly Bing to worry about of the search engines.

Don’t forget that “Limited Resources” also includes your time. If you and your staff don’t have enough time to do your marketing then you need to get a professional in to help. Make sure they really have your interests at heart and they will work with you to achieve your goals.

There are some more ideas on:

Best wishes and good luck for a profitable 2012.

Sandra Dillon

I’ve included you in my newsletter mailer because you are a customer (thankyou!), you have expressed an interest in my work, made an enquiry or I’ve sat next to you at an eBiz byte breakfast workshop. I hope you find this newsletter useful – but if you really don’t want to receive any more please email me with REMOVE in the subject line and I’ll take you off my list.

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