Many cash-strapped businesses diminish the high value that investing in marketing brings. That’s right, investing! The money and time spent on marketing will normally repay itself many times over. Marketing is a big part of running any successful business.
Too many businesses are short sided and invest little or nothing in publicizing themselves to increase sales and income. Without marketing the business normally continues the vicious cycle of low sales and low income, which leaves little or nothing for marketing and on and on. Many times, the business struggles to survive. This view is a big mistake, because marketing can actually provide the cash to pay for further ongoing advertising and other promotional expenses that grow a business.
For those businesses with little or no funds to start marketing here are three ideas:
Ask for referrals. Create an incentive that lets your customers do the marketing for you. Offer a small finders-fee, such as a gift card, to any current customer who brings a new customer to you. This lets current customers know that you are currently seeking new customers and are therefore much more likely to mention and recommend your business to people they know. It has been found that people are four times more likely to deal with, or buy from, a business or organization, when it comes from a recommendation and referral from someone they know.
Get involved with local groups, clubs and chambers of commerce. Don’t underestimate the power of working and meeting in public settings and social media groups. You will likely come across folks with questions that you can answer and thereby show your expertise. Try to participate or sponsor a local event, such as an open house or offer some free service, to promote your business. The more involved you are with your local community and online social media groups, the more likely you are to acquire new customers. Typically, it doesn’t cost anything to become a member of online communities, so you can reap the benefits with nothing more than a few hours of your time.
Write press releases, news articles and blogs. Think of newsworthy things you can report. Many times, if you have something noteworthy to report, such as a significant change in your industry or other considerable news, media will report it for you. Press releases are a free or inexpensive way to get your business or organization mentioned in key media, thereby also enabling the posting of a link to your website or the listing of your contact information, potentially giving rise to some new connections and patrons. By doing the work yourself, media releases can be another free marketing tool.
The bottom line? If you are struggling financially and still want to start working on finding new customers, look for imaginative ways to get the word out that you exist and are seeking new customers. The ideas here are just a few of the many free or low cost ways to get started growing your business!
Best of Success,