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Marketing for Next to Nothing

By: Garry Pierrepont - Updated: 24 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Marketing Budget Business Customers

You might have the best business idea in the last ten years. You might have a great product. However, if no one knows about it, you’re not going to make any sales.

Marketing is the way you reach your potential customers and tempts them to buy from you. Advertising is one way to reach customers. There are several ways to do marketing, and many of them have quite a high cost attached to them. If you’re running a small business, you would probably like to do your marketing on a small budget.

Marketing And The Four Ps

Examples of marketing methods that might be beyond the budget of a small business are: advertising on radio, TV or in the press; exhibitions; trade shows; telemarketing.

The marketing mix consists of the Four Ps: Product, Price, Place, Promotion.

Product is about its features, quality, the brand and image, the packaging, guarantees and service.Price is about the pricing level, any discount structure, payment terms.Place is concerned with the customer location, outlet locations and methods of distribution, stock levels and sales territories.Promotion is about communication, including advertising, sales promotions, public relations and selling.

Marketing is about combining these four areas in a way that you can reach and make your product appeal to potential customers.

Marketing On A Small Budget

It is possible to get on TV, the radio and into local newspapers without advertising. If you have a unique product or service, then they would be delighted to hear from you – especially locally. Remember that they have to fill air time or pages, so they need stories. If you or your product is “a story” you could get featured or interviewed for free. Try to think of an angle. Why are you or your product worth talking about? At the very least you could send a press release about you, your business and your product to newspapers. Some will be interested; others not, but if you can write it, it costs nothing.

Although exhibitions and trade shows might be a little costly, running a seminar need not be too much of a budget-buster. This should enable you to tell people about your product or service face-to-face. However, you still have the problem of reaching potential attendees in the first place.

If you have a local service you could try leafleting locally; that is, posting leaflets through people’s letter boxes. Printing costs need not be excessive – there is a lot of competition on the Internet – and you could design the leaflet yourself. Once you’ve got them, you can walk around local estates to post them yourself.

Of course, writing your own press releases, designing your own leaflets, and running your own seminars might not be your speciality or your favourite activity, but it is a way of keeping costs down.

Networking

Networking has grown big in the past decade or so. Here, I am talking about physical, face-to-face networking. There are plenty of groups, such as the Chambers of commerce, Business link and Business Referral Exchange, which welcome members and encourage them to present themselves and their products. One problem here is that you are attempting to sell to people who are trying to sell! They are not necessarily attending to buy anything.

In the last few of years online networking has begun to take off. This is a great opportunity for (almost) free marketing. Networking websites such as Ecademy and LinkedIn are business oriented, but social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace are being touted as marketing opportunities too. They are worth exploring as they are free.

Another method of free marketing is by speaking about your business, product or service. Meeting organisers – from the local WI to the local Ecademy chapter – are always on the look-out for speakers to address their meetings. It’s another great way of getting yourself and your business name out there.

Website

Finally, there is of course the Internet and your website. A must these days, a website is fairly cheap to set up and maintain. Even professional local designers won’t charge much. If you can get some good links in to your site it will prove an invaluable tool, and of course, you must show the address of your website on every piece of communication (letters, leaflets, networking, business cards) that you produce. Try asking other local or related sites for link exchanges (also free) to widen the reach of your site.

Marketing and advertising needn’t cost a fortune. There are plenty of things you can do for hardly any outlay, but like anything you have to invest time to reap the benefits.

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