Guest post by Ari Rush
Marketing programs can be expensive. If you hire a marketing agency to build your business up from scratch, you may find yourself investing much more than you originally bargained for. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be marketing, or even that you shouldn’t be looking to marketing agencies. You definitely should, but you can substantially cut your spending by doing some basic marketing work on your own first. There are basic marketing strategies that anyone can work on, even those untrained in online marketing. As long as you have an interest in your business and the field in which you’re working, and you’re passionate about securing customers, you can easily create a base for your businesses marketing, leaving only the more complicated work for marketing agencies.
Here are some of the most effective ways to market your own business without spending a fortune:
Why would you spend hundreds of dollars to collect market information and acquire new leads when you can do the same with your very own customer base? Your existing customers are a goldmine of information about your target audience, and can bring you leads purely by praising your reputation. Pick out some of your bigger or more long term clients, and focus on establishing a line of communication with them.
Find out what problems they were facing before they contacted you, and how did your business assist them in resolving these problems?
Why do they value your company, and would they be willing to tell others about this?
How can your business improve to better suit their needs?
These are all goals that a marketing campaign seeks to discover and achieve. By simply communicating with the clients yourself, you eliminate the need for expensive marketing campaigns and fruitless searches for new leads.
Don’t stick to same, boring methods that marketers have used for ages. Consumers want something new and exciting, marketing that can both surprise and excite them. A tech business that gives out business cards with a built in rfid code or usb is more likely to catch someone’s attention than one with regular business cards.
If you run a floral business, create business cards that look or smell like flowers. This will show consumers that you’re committed to being creative and upbeat, and a lot of consumers identify with that. Make sure that regardless of your creative tactic, you’re constantly measuring your success. If something isn’t working, change it immediately!
Don’t be risky, but don’t be stubborn either.
Publicity is ‘publici-key’
Brand recognition can only be achieved when lots of consumers know about your brand, and are talking about it. One great way to do this that we’ve already mentioned is to speak to your existing customers to have them be your ‘cheerleaders’. This is not only cost effective, but is also the most genuine way to build your reputation. Word of mouth holds immense authority, especially when coming from authoritative figures.
Another great way to publicize is through social media. Even if you aren’t that tech-savvy, you should have social network accounts set up for your business and yourself. Constantly updating and engaging on these social networks is essential for publicity, but once you get the ball rolling, consumers may start to do your work for you. Marketing agencies can be very helpful in learning how to run a social media account effectively, but don’t be scared to try it out yourself! As long as you’re putting in genuine effort, posting about topics relevant to your business, and keeping in line with your goals and ethics, the worst that can happen is that your brand won’t take off. That would be the time to call in an agency that can show you more specific ways of achieving success.
E-Mail isn’t Dead
Although email spam is plenty annoying, many consumers still rely on email for communication with businesses, and for loyalty program updates. Email allows you to contact many people at once, and to frequently establish your expertise to your target audience. You can use email to circulate newsletters, announce products, or even to communicate directly with clients. Simply ensure that your emails are relevant to your business, as well as to the market. Consumers with an interest in your products and services will be grateful for this form of communication.
We’re not saying that by following these tips, you can market your business all on your own. However, by sticking to these tactics, you can cut out a lot of the base work that a marketing agency would do for you, meaning that you’ll be paying only for those things that you really can’t do on your own. Online marketing runs on some pretty basic principles. Master these basics, and you’ll find yourself miles ahead of the competition.
Ari Rush is President of Rush Ventures, a Toronto SEO and digital marketing agency. Prior to Rush Ventures, Ari led a marketing technology company, which helped more than 1,500 clients generate online traffic. Earlier in his career, Ari founded an online telecommunications firm, which he sold to a private equity group based out of Arizona. Ari has lectured at places such as Ryerson University and BizLaunch, one of the largest small business training companies in North America.