Small businesses and start-ups are often faced with budgetary restrictions that can mean a constant tightening of the belt.
As a business coach I know that most businesses cut back on marketing in times of economic stress. But the successful operators know that smart marketing is the key to bouncing back.
Cutting on costs does not mean cutting on quality. Cement customer loyalty and look to increase your market share.
When times are tight it is even more important to have a comprehensive and layered marketing plan to refer back to.
Take the initial time and create a solid, written document that will serve as your marketing agenda.
Avoid shotgun marketing and conduct market research. This information will continue to be of wealth and worth if done correctly.
Cutting corners can ultimately cut into your profits. And as my role as a business coach is to improve profits, I suggest that when setting a marketing budget, follow these steps of evaluation with each marketing channel:
Following the evaluation guidelines can help your business make smart, budget conscious marketing choices - getting the most bang for your buck.
Spend the time and money creating a company brochure. While some see it as a passé strategy, the brochure is one of the most effective marketing tools.
Keep it short and to the point, but high in quality. The look and feel of your brochure will mould potential customers' first opinions of your company.
If a brochure will break the bank consider a postcard or improving the quality and circulation of your business card.
As a business coach I would plead with you to never under estimate the value and relatively low cost of online marketing.
Often a well considered combination of both hard and soft copy marketing collateral can achieve surprising results.
Remember, regular but informal contact with existing customers can prove to be more worthwhile than expensive marketing materials.
Know your customers- when you get the message right, it's easier to market on a lower budget. Ultimately, low cost marketing must be backed by a high quality marketing strategy.