In the current economic climate, businesses are finding that they need to do more with less. Budgets are being squeezed, competition is fierce and customer expectations are high. As a small business ourselves, we truly appreciate what it is like and are here to help you.
When times are tough the knee-jerk reaction is to look straight towards cutting costs. People often view marketing as a 'cost' rather than an investment so think that by cutting back or stopping their marketing all together it will improve their bottom line. However, this is a very risky strategy as without marketing you are at risk of losing both your existing and potential customers. Instead, you need tighten your overall business strategy and ensure that every element of your business is working SMARTER (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, Evaluate, Re-evaluate), especially your marketing.
- Customer expectations are high. Focus on the customer journey and ensure that every touch-point that they have with your business delivers a great impression and excellent customer service. Make your customers feel valued.
- Don’t make assumptions about what customers want - ask them. Constantly strive for improvement to ensure that you remain ahead of the competition.
- Be a business with a personality. It is the people that make a business so exploit them as your differentiator and really engage with your customers.
- Communicate regularly with all of your customers. A regular newsletter is an excellent tool for this.
- Offer value to your customers. This doesn’t mean focusing on price alone. Focus on your business’ strengths and what you can offer/do for your customers.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution but here a few budget-friendly marketing ideas that you may like to consider:
- Ask for referrals and recommendations from your existing customers and give out incentivised cards to make this an easy process
- Introduce a loyalty reward scheme
- Make use of testimonials and case-studies to 'sell' your differentiators
- Consider affiliate partnerships with local businesses
- A regularly produced newsletter, either printed or digital is an excellent communication tool for your existing customers - you keep your name at the forefront of their mind, you can promote particular products or services, encourage referrals and word or mouth, run promotional offers and competitions
- Distribute promotional mailers, they're a great cost-effective marketing tool
- Waiting room posters can help raise awareness and up-sell treatments or promote offers
- Advertise in small local directory-type magazines – people like the idea of using smaller businesses and as long as your advert is professional and reflects your quality image, this is a great, highly affordable way to target local customers
- Ensure your website is search-engine optimised for the key-terms that your prospective customers would use
- Use social media (Facebook and Twitter) to run give-aways and competitions
If you need some help with your marketing strategy or would like us to quote on some budget-friendly marketing initiatives then please get in touch. Call us on 01242 236600 or drop us an email at email@example.com.