Growing your business
How to Market Your Business on a Budget - Part One: Social & Community
As many business owners know, when it comes to running a successful business it’s simply not enough to rely on offering a great product or service. You’ve got to get the word out, and that’s where marketing comes in!
That said, when it comes to allocating marketing budget, this is often an area that suffers. Especially as it’s not always easy to see the benefits straight away or even know where to start, not to mention the time and effort that’s required! In fact, statistics show that 27% of marketers feel that securing enough budget is their top marketing challenge.
Challenges aside, having a marketing strategy in place is still essential if you want to keep up with your competitors, gain new customers and see your business thrive. Fortunately, these days, there are many ways to do this and marketing has become a lot more accessible and affordable to businesses of all sizes. With this in mind, here is our two-part guide to making your marketing budget work for you:
Partnering up with other businesses in your area can be great when working with a limited marketing budget. Find other businesses that offer complimentary services or products to your own and then help each other grow by stocking each other’s business cards and flyers, or by promoting each other’s events on your premises. You can also give each other shoutouts on social media as it’s likely that your followers will be of a similar target audience!
Host an event
Hosting an event is a great way to get your business name out there. Depending on the type of business you are, you could try hosting a pub quiz, a food and drinks event, a sample sale or a charity fundraiser! It doesn’t need to cost a lot and you can try to work with the resources you already have. You could even use sites such as Eventbrite so that people can get tickets online (you can choose to make entry free or charge a fee). Get the word out by putting posters up around your premises and posting about your event on your website and social media channels.
Ask your customers to leave a review
In an age where consumers are spoilt for choice, getting positive reviews online is everything. More often than not, people will go online and check out online reviews before eating at your restaurant, buying your products or using your services. However, most businesses struggle getting these reviews in the first place. One way you could do this is simply by asking! A lot of people are happy to provide feedback but would not have the initiative to do so unless prompted. Perhaps you could start by doing this with your regular customers who you have a more established relationship with.
You can also link out to review sites by including a link at the bottom of receipts or email communications, or advertise it around your premises. Offer an incentive for giving feedback such as the chance to win £50 to spend in-store or 20% off their next bill. You could also use some of your positive comments as testimonials to include on your website and social channels (make sure you always ask permission from the customer first!)
Launch a customer referral programme
To help keep those marketing costs down, how about making your customers do some of the work for you? By this we mean getting your current customers to spread the word and recommend your product or service to friends and family, usually with both parties mutually benefitting with some sort of discount or incentive. As long as the discount or incentive doesn’t have a great financial impact on your business then it’s well worth doing. After all, people are more inclined to invest in your business when it comes personally recommended.
You should promote your customer referral programme across your website, all of your social channels, via email marketing and in-store to get maximum exposure! And why limit this to your customers? Extending this to your staff can help widen your reach and you could offer your workers a bonus or gift as an incentive.
Here at Liberis Finance we run our very own referral programme, inviting our customers to refer fellow businesses and bag themselves £250 each! Click here to find out more.
Set up a rewards programme
When it comes to marketing there is always a big push on acquiring new customers but let’s not forget about retaining existing ones. Loyalty reward schemes are a tried and tested method that has been successful with many companies over the years to keep customers returning. When it comes to implementing your scheme, it’s best to keep things simple by either choosing to have a points system or a tiered rewards scheme. Points could work by allocating a certain amount of points for every pound spent or a tiered scheme could mean a ‘stamp’ for every visit e.g. customers get a free coffee once they’ve collected ten stamps. This can be managed through an app or loyalty card – remember to make the scheme easy to understand so your customer is clear on how they can get rewarded.
Part Two of our ‘How to Market Your Business on a Budget’ guide comes out in the next few weeks! Stay tuned . . .