According to the 6th Annual Staples National Small Business Survey, two-thirds (66%) of small business owners have some type of marketing budget for 2012 and, of those small business owners who responded, the average marketing budget was barely over $2,000. While struggling with a small marketing budget, many Entrepreneurs are concerned about how they will be able to reach out to new customers. Marketing expert and founder of PredictableProfits.com, Charles Gaudet, offers encouraging news to cash-strapped entrepreneurs suggesting low-cost marketing alternatives that are equally effective than more costly marketing initiatives.
“Though ‘paid for’ marketing efforts (such as advertising, direct mail, and events) offer the potential for a great return on investment, some of the best marketing available doesn’t cost a dime,” says Gaudet. “But, shockingly, most entrepreneurs don’t take enough advantage of the low-cost opportunities that are available to them.”
While many Entrepreneurs are using the change in economic conditions as an excuse to cut back on their marketing efforts, Gaudet reminds entrepreneurs that: “Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.” A quote he cited from world renowned management consultant, Peter Druker.
Gaudet offers seven small business marketing strategies for Entrepreneurs on a budget:
1. Joint Venture Marketing: Entrepreneurs can locate companies that their ideal customers are doing business with and approach them with an offer to form a joint venture, perhaps requesting that they endorse, recommend and refer their clients to the Entrepreneur’s company in return for a share in the upside revenue.
2. Offer Interesting News to the Press: Entrepreneurs offering well-written press releases to the media and providing unique insight, opinions or feedback on a particular topic of interest have the possibility of their story being featured, quoted or shared in front of thousands (possibly millions) of prospects inside of print, radio and/or television.
3. Become an Expert: Media, bloggers, authors and researchers are constantly looking for expert opinion for articles, news stories, books, white papers, interviews and more. The Entrepreneur is encouraged to register as an expert and actively seek out topics on which they could offer their assistance.
4. Become a Contributing Author: Offer to write an article for a blog, magazine or newspaper. The more information you share with readers, the more likely they will view the Entrepreneur’s company favorably when making a purchase.
5. Re-Activating Old Customers: Most customers don’t stop doing business with a business due to dissatisfaction. More often than not, it has to do with an interruption in their buying behavior that causes them to forget or put off doing repeat business with the Entrepreneur. A simple re-activation plan inviting customers to come back into the business will bring in more sales.
6. Establish a Referral Program: Encourage existing customers to refer and/or recommend new customers to the Entrepreneur’s business. Offering a benefit or incentive to customers who refer new customers is a commonly effective.
7. Create a Loyalty Program: Promote repeat business and reward customers who make frequent purchases with the company. Not only will customers be pleased, they will spend more money, more often with the small business.
“Marketing is the most powerful tool that any Entrepreneur has at their disposal to grow their business, make more money and out-compete their competition,” says Gaudet. “And, because of this, every Entrepreneur should be constantly asking themselves ‘what else can I do?’ instead of focusing on ‘how much can I spend?’”
For more information on how to effectively improve your marketing and position your company as a leader in the market, please visit http://www.PredictableProfits.com and sign up for their free newsletter.