Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

June 6, 2011

Need to increase turnover but don’t have the budget?
Here are 25 tried and true ways to market on a shoestring budget:
  1. Phone five customers who haven’t purchased from you in a while.  Touch base to see if there is a reason why they haven’t purchased and if there is something you could be doing better.
  2. Email your database (can be a newsletter, questionnaire or promotion).  Phone any customer’s whose email addresses have bounced back.  Ask them for their current email and open a dialogue with them.
  3. Team up with another business and create a shared cost marketing campaign, offering customers added value.
  4. Promote trends or upcoming events.  If you are a New Zealand business, do you have a plan in place to maximise the opportunities in the upcoming Rugby World Cup?
  5. Send a press release to local media publications (online and offline) about something ‘out of the ordinary’ about your company, upcoming project or community announcement.  Remember to include photos.
  6. Social Media is there – use it!  The only cost is time, and while you must commit to your plan – the rewards could surprise you.
  7. Start a blog (see article on “So, do you Blog” for list of benefits).
  8. Use an online newsletter/direct mail program such as Mailchimp in order to measure what is and what isn’t working.  Promote your products but also include items of interest to your mailing list.
  9. Have some bumper stickers printed and send them out with your statements.
  10. Consider printing business cards for ALL employees.  They will be proud to have their own card and hand them out everywhere…increasing your exposure.
  11. Make it easy for customers to complain.  After a sale, send them a postcard with ‘was everything ok’ (or similar) on the back with your name and phone number.
  12. Create a swipe file.  A swipe file is a collection of ads and brochures that copywriters and artists collect, or swipe from other artists, for those times when they are stumped for a good idea. Don’t copy them exactly, but many good ideas can come from what the guy down the street is doing. And if they’re doing something, so should you.
  13. Join online directories and communities.  Increasingly people are shopping for their products and services online.  Make sure you can be found.
  14. Ask local businesses, retail outlets, community centres and libraries if you can put up posters.
  15. Sponsor a local sports team or community event.
  16. Do a wearable marketing giveaway.
  17. Join trade, industry or business organisations.
  18. Create an annual award and publicise it.
  19. Create an info pack for new customers.  Include a ‘welcome’ promotion such as a discount off their next purchase.
  20. Create your own video advert to use on your website.  Include your staff and keep it light as humour sells and is remembered and shared with others.  For example, have each staff member ‘sing’ something great about your company to background music.
  21. An old one but still a good one (and cheap!) is branded pens.  Any idea to increase exposure of your brand is a good idea.
  22. Donate a product or service to a charity event.
  23. Create a loyalty program.
  24. Thank customers (verbally or with a handwritten note) every chance you get.
  25. Pair slow moving items with fast moving items and promote as a special package.

There are numerous ways to market on a limited budget if you stop and think.  What have you done that has worked for your business?

Related articles:
How to market on a budget
So, do you Blog?
How to create a newsletter

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