Cost Effective Marketing

Top-Biz Guru’s Top Ten Tips for Cost-Effective Marketing

1. Define your Objectives. What kind of people do you want to reach? Are they young professionals, families, OAPs, manual workers? Find out what they read and where they go. Then consider the various ways you can get your message “in front of their eyeballs” as the ad people say.

2. Match the Medium to the Product. If you’re chartering yachts or selling Armani suits then a card in the newsagents on the council estate isn’t likely to attract punters – instead you’ll probably need to splash out for space in one of the glossy rich-list mags. But if you’re offering bargain home hairdressing products or dog-food at wholesale prices then that window postcard at £1 a week will get your phone ringing.

3. Advertise for Free. There are plenty of places to get your company mentioned for nothing, especially the free listings of Yellow Pages, Thompson Directory the BT Phone and other consumer information guides. There are also many web directories now which carry free listings, and don’t forget your local Chamber of Commerce booklets. On the oldfashioned side of things, stick your leaflets up on any free notice boards in libraries, halls, community centres and staff rooms.

4. Use the Media. We mentioned press coverage in Winning New Customers. It’s important here too because of course it’s not just another source of free publicity. Rather, it can potentially give an enormous boost to a company’s fortunes. Especially if you have some new product, a feature in the national, even local paper, can bring in millions. (A quarter page ad in the nationals would cost you thousands – the equivalent editorial space, zilch!)

5. Brush Up your Website. Obviously update your details to reflect your evolving products and services, but be aware too of the key words you use – are there any new trends among consumers which you can cater for? Have new words substituted old ones in the public domain? Check the headings in your phone book for any new categories. Incorporate the appropriate phrases in your site so anyone doing a search for that service can find you.

6. Give Word of Mouth a Helping Hand. Send your customers a simple referral form and offer them incentives to introduce a friend to your products. Put thank-you letters and other positive publicity – press features etc – in your brochures and website.

7. Get Familiar. Becoming a “household name” is the ultimate goal of branding, and it’s important you have an identical logo and style on your business stationery, shop-front, vehicles, staff uniforms, promotional items, stickers etc. This unified visual image will continually reinforce who you are and what you do in the minds of the public.

8. Be a Sponsor. An aspect of PR, sponsorship can often yield big publicity for a modest investment. Typical examples are amateur or professional football clubs (you can pay for the kit and put your name on the shirts) arts organisations, community groups and charity fundraising events.

9. Encourage Repeat Orders. People who’ve bought from you once are likely to do so again. Keep scrupulous records of your customers and give them top priority in all your mail-shots and marketing campaigns. Thank them for their loyalty and offer small gifts – increasing in value as their orders stack up

10.Experiment. Marketing is a science, and necessitates trial and error, but the effectiveness of a particular ad can sometimes be hard to assess. Monitor response as carefully as you can, always asking where the client heard about you, and take account of the results. Don’t be too hasty in your conclusions – sometimes there’s a “slow burn” factor. Interested punters seeing your ad may not all pick up the phone at once. Marketing is like planting seeds – some shoot up quickly then run to seed and need replanting. Others are perennials and will self-pollinate, providing glorious blooms year after year. If your marketing crops are failing then a little rotation will soon restore your fortunes.