Here is a quick outline of some marketing ideas that any business can use who is just starting or has a limited budget. What I like about ideas like these, is that they can be implemented quickly, tested and re-used or discarded based on results. Here is the list of 10 marketing ideas under $50.
#1 – Business Cards, everybody in your company should have one
Business cards are a great word-of-mouth strategy that can be used by businesses, however, many times businesses put limitations of who should get business cards. For example,
1) employees that have been with the company for 3-months get business cards
2) only employees in sales positions should have business cards
Considering the incredibly low cost to create business cards, every employee of a company should have one. It can increase moral, makes people feel important, tells all employees that you consider them professionals by giving them a business card and can make a new employee really feel welcome. For customers who happen to meet a number of people in your organization, it gives them the impression that they are dealing with a solid group of professionals. Of course it also means an increase in word-of-mouth advertising, as most employees when they get business cards will immediately give it to all their friends, relatives and every single person they can. You never know in who’s hands that business card could end up in.
#2 – Different Colour Paper
If your business happens to print flyers, coupons, etc. that you mail out or hand out at a tradeshow, use a different colour paper. Ensure that it corresponds to your corporate colours, but try something different with the colour. This has the potential of making people stop to see what company is listed on the flyer which gives you a window to pitch your story.
#3 – Speak
Depending on your business and product/service it may be the type that allows you to speak at clubs or organizations. For example, when I ran KS2 Solutions Inc., I did many speaking engagements to business organizations on advertising with Yellow Pages. The speaking engagements were free to put on and the organizations did all the advertising and brought a captive audience to the table. My suggestion to make this happen is that if you have an idea that you think other people would be interested, just start asking around and volunteering your time to speak. Trust me, if you have a good idea and talk to 10 organizations you should get a couple of speaking engagements.
#4 – Referral Cards
Some organizations will create a separate referral card, however, one idea is to us your existing business cards by printing the line on the back of the card that reads Referred By:_________. If you really want to make an impact, have an incentive for the referral and the referee. By using the backside of your business cards, you marginally increase the overall cost of printing cards, but the end result is that a) it is easier to track your referral business, b) an good incentive program could increase word-of-mouth advertising and c) you standout, not businesses do this.
#5 – Give Away Product
If you are in a product based business, you probably have product that is taking up shelf-space that you want to get rid of but is not selling. As long as you keep it in your inventory it is costing your business money. One suggestion is to bundle the product with hot-selling items or use it as a giveaway within your retail location. You will have to do the math of what does and does not work, but people love to get a good deal. If you have a service based business, this could work as well if you are introducing a new service and want to test if on a few customers.
#6 – Gift Certificates / Gift Cards
Gift Certificates can be used by both business to consumer and business to business purposes. Whether for gifts, incentives, customer appreciations, etc gift certificates or gift cards can be a great way to increase business.
#7 – Sponsor an Event
Do you know of a non-profit organization in your area community? Why not sponsor an event for them at your retail location? This can be a great way to introduce new people to your business, get them to learn a little bit about you, while they enjoy a great event for a non-profit organization. Even if you are a home-based or service business without a retail front, partner up with somebody with a retail front and put on a Saturday/Sunday event for a good cause.
#8 – Frequent Flyer Program
Depending on circumstances and frequent flyer program can be a great way to reward your most loyal customers and most likely the people who talk about your business the most. You and your accountant will have to do the math on this, but this programs work, just look at Airmiles.
#9 – New Client Phone Calls
Too many times we take new customers for granted. When you get a new customer and you product them with your product/service, schedule a follow-up call within 48-hours maximum. The nature of the call will be about their experience, what they liked, what they did not like and gives them a chance to praise you or tell you a problem. This simple step does not cost businesses any hard-cash, but can really shed some light on pros and cons in your business.
#10 – Booklets
Creating a small booklet about your product or service is a great way to add credibility to your organization. The booklet cannot be a sales pitch rather it needs to something of value in terms of educating your customers. For example, Anduro Technologies, a Calgary based Search Engine Marketing Firm has created a small booklet on Internet Marketing Solutions. This 26-page booklet contains some incredible information for businesses in easy to understand language. What the booklet is not is a sales pitch for Anduro, however, because Anduro has taken the time to educate its readers, I am pretty sure that when it comes to using those services Anduro has a great head start over other businesses offering the same thing.