Starting a new business isn’t always a piece of cake for everybody who attempts it.
Had it been, we would have seen every single individual owning a small business and even being successful at it. Most individuals, when they start up their own businesses, cash is tight. The common mode of operation becomes including those activities that operate on a very low budget and do not unleash any unnecessary strain on the business.
Most people are of the opinion that it costs a fortune to market your business. Because of this misconception, a large majority of new small business owners do not even consider any kind of marketing. What they do not take into consideration is that, marketing costs are not to be treated as outflow of cash. They are in effect investment costs which when applied to the right plans, fetch good returns over a period of time. One doesn’t have to be super qualified either to factor in marketing in his business plans. They are established rules, proven, researched methods and strategies that one can easily adopt and adapt according to their business.
- The first step in putting together a marketing plan is to find someone who knows all about it, an expert, and to learn every conceivable way of marketing well to reap the returns. Based on the inputs obtained from the expert, you should then proceed to put together a marketing plan but hold off on deciding the methods you would use to market your product/service until you decide on a budget – one that you can sustain over time without putting undue strain of the financials of your business. Regardless of the amount you allocate, ensure that you stick to it month over month. This allocated spending will serve as your guideline and will help you avoid temptation in the form of ‘too-good-to-be-true’ offers that come up every now and then! One should screen opportunities carefully to determine which ones should be worked on and which ones should be passed over. Profit maximization is the key but one shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting different modes and approaches to marketing and then choosing the ideas that work best!
- One of the best low-budget forms of marketing is to find and study your target audience. Depending on your product/service, it may appeal to different demographics. Learn to tailor your marketing messages so that it makes the most impression on these target individuals. Direct response marketing is a good place to start.
- Another easy and low-cost way to market is to forge joint ventures with other small businesses from a different industry. If you form strategic alliances with people in your own industry, both of you would only end up encroaching on each other territory. Instead forming cross-business partnerships can help both businesses mutually as the final motive would be for the partnership to succeed and there would be no competition.
For example; if a stationery sales owner were to partner with a printing or a copy machine business owner then both owners can promote each other business and introduce the product/service to more people than before. While opting for joint ventures, one should try to go in for alliances with influential individuals who can help introduce you to a larger network of prospects from outside your industry who in turn can lead you to many more prospects widening your audience!
Let’s not forget the tremendous power of the Internet and the role it can play in marketing your product/service at almost no cost to your business. Setting up a website so that all your products, services, specials, prices, contact information and any other relevant information is available to your audience at their fingertips is an excellent way to start. If you can afford, getting an expert to generate new exclusive life insurance leads at it is a good idea. Harnessing the power of the internet is good also because most of the customers today are proficient with tools like Facebook, Twitter, email, websites and blogs and it makes perfect sense to interact with them at a level that they relate to!
The internet can also be leveraged by getting other websites and classifieds online to pay ‘one-click’ advertisements that would lead customers to your website! This can also help you with monitoring where your user base comes from and that way you can invest more on sites that work! Advertising your product/service in local newspapers, classifieds etc is also an excellent option to reach more people!