By Thomas R. Reich PhD
Small Businesses can benefit greatly in 2013 from an improved low cost marketing idea and plan or 15 ideas if you will. Many small businesses owners don’t see the need for a cohesive marketing plan, they think marketing is expensive and for larger companies. Let’s look at low cost marketing ideas that can really boost your small business in 2013.
To make this work, remember that in the past, every small business bought yellow page adds. The yellow pages are dead, but good marketing replaces its exposure, without some of the low cost marketing ideas discussed here, small businesses may be seriously underexposed.
1) Your first low cost marketing idea is to create and maintain a good functioning company website. Your website is you’re on line office, your virtual sales floor, the first impression many potential customers have of your small business and yes, it is your new yellow page add. Your website should also be an information resource for your products and services.
2) Develop a new brand identity; this low cost marketing idea may be easier than you think. How long has it been since you’ve updated your website or marketing materials? Maybe it’s time to take a fresh look and redesign your image, take advantage of the digital domain. Customers and prospects respond to new ideas and information which has been optimized for the internet.
3) Survey existing customers, a low cost marketing idea which is easier than you may think. How do your customers feel about your products and services? Stay in touch through informal lunches or a professionally coordinated survey campaign. A survey is an excellent method for taking the pulse of your audience. The survey should include detailed questions about your products and services and how they directly benefit the customer.
4) Make a list of your strengths, this can be another low cost marketing idea generator. Are you the low price leader? Is your business the most experienced? Do you have the highest quality product or service? Try to list between 50 and 100 different and measurable strengths. This is a great exercise to develop new ideas for your marketing campaigns
5) Now time for an easy, low cost marketing idea, one you need to do now! The customer is always right… always. The time to prove this statement is when the customer experiences a problem with your product or service. Make a point to take responsibility and solve any problems that a customer might have immediately. Satisfied customers turn into repeat, long-term customers.
6) This next tip, is a low cost marketing idea if it helps you with the previous two ideas. Take a customer out to lunch. Now is the time to ask a reliable customer out to lunch. Touch base with them to see how your company is solving problems and meeting their needs.
7) Well here is the cost, though still a low cost marketing idea if you follow these guidelines. Establish an annual marketing budget. A good rule-of-thumb estimate for your marketing budget is 3% to 5% of annual sales. Retail businesses need to budget 7% to 10% of annual sales for their marketing budgets. Your budget should include a breakdown of all marketing costs including printing, social media, website maintenance and advertising placement.
8) Here is a very low cost marketing idea, but arguably the most important you can consider. Be positive in your outlook. It’s important to feel good about yourself and enjoy what you do for a living. If you have a positive attitude about your job, you will succeed by transferring that enthusiasm to other employees, customers and prospects.
9) *****A low cost marketing idea should always look at social media. Pinterest is one of the newest and most effective parts of a social media exposure program. You can find out more in these 3 articles:7 Free Pinterest Tools; Things to get You Noticed!
10) *****Low cost marketing idea #10 is to establish and maintain a good active Twitter account. To learn more about Twitter and how to make it effective for your small
business, check out these suggestions: How to use Twitter for Small Business
11) *****Moving along with low cost marketing idea #11 have you fully updated your LinkedIn account on a regular basis? You must be at 100% on your profile, you need to update every week, you need a company page. Want to know more, take a look at:
12) *****Don’t forget another social media low cost marketing idea, have an active and constantly updated Facebook account and company page. Learn more here: Want More Visitors? Use Social Media to Drive Visitors Home!
13) *****We talked about your Website but another low cost marketing idea is to have a very active blog attached to your website. Learn more here:
14) *****The best low cost marketing idea I can give you is this. Learn how to connect your website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest and any other social media fads that appear in 2013 into a network. Learn how to use back links and directories. The more you work on your on-like presents, the more your small business will benefit!
15) Here is your top low cost marketing idea for 2013, in fact it is the most importaqnt idea you will hear in regards to marketing. In order for anything we have talked about to truly succeed, you need to develop a solid marketing plan! You need a road map, a plan to keep you on track to sustainable goals, and a ruler to judge your success. Part of this plan should include your established budget and an ongoing record of each fassett of your marketing plans success to determin what worked and what to rethink. All low cost marketing ideas are successful if you learn and grow from them.
Bonus Low Cost Marketing Idea: Consider hiring a marketing company to help you with a complete formula, if marketing is not your thing. A firm that does marketing for lots of companies can often deliver a great marketing campaign at a very low cost, compared to struggling with a part of small business that can confuse many. Be careful, there are a lot of firms that clams to know what they are doing, hire a firm that trains you to maintain your marketing plan.
With low cost marketing idea generating help, a good digital identity, a well branded small business and attention paid to your customers and their needs, success will be yours in 2013!