10 Ways to Market Your Small Business on a Shoestring Budget

By | Blog

PiggyBank

Advertising can be expensive, and in a tight economy, many small businesses cut their marketing budgets first because of cash flow concerns. However, when times are tough, it’s even more important to keep your business brand front and center.

During an economic downturn, clients, customers, and consumers have less money to spend. This means that when they’re ready to buy, you want your brand to be at the top of their list. Social media is undoubtedly one of the most effective and affordable ways to engage your customers and keep your brand top-of-mind, but it’s not the only way. Here are ten tried and true marketing strategies that can help you market your business on a shoestring budget.

1. Craft an elevator pitch

You should be marketing all the time — wherever you are. Therefore, you need a compelling elevator pitch. Research shows the average attention span of an adult is about 6 to 8 seconds. That’s all the time you have to grab someone’s attention. If you successfully engage them, then you only have a little over a minute to really sell them on your product or service. Invest the time to craft a killer elevator pitch. The return on your investment will pay huge dividends in terms of creating business opportunities.

2. Leverage your community

You don’t have to think big when it comes to your marketing efforts. Think locally. What’s going on in your community? Sponsor a Little League team or a 5k charity walk/run. Print bookmarks and leave them at the local library. Get to know your ideal customer and think about how and where they spend their time. Then search for opportunities to get in front of your customer with your marketing message.

3. Collaborate

Put together a group of synergistic, non-competitive businesses in your area and agree to cross-promote. You can use coupons, fliers, reciprocal website links, bundled promotions or social media platforms. (Okay, I had to add a little bit of social media to the mix.) By collaborating with each other, you can expand your customer base because you’ll be reaching new people.

4. Network

I’m a huge fan of networking. I don’t think there is any better way to build a business than to get out there, shake some hands, and get to know people. Networking requires a time commitment and it doesn’t provide instant gratification, but a strong network is one of the greatest assets any business person can have.

5. Give a speech

A lot of people hate public speaking. However, there are many organizations looking for qualified, subject-matter experts who can present to their groups. Take a deep breath and volunteer. You don’t have to be a pro as long as the information you share is helpful to the audience. And the upside — the more you do it the easier it gets. Plus, it positions you as a credible authority in your field.

6. Create buzz

Small business owners can accomplish alot without hiring a professional firm. Look for local and major media outlets to pitch your business.

7. Ask for referrals

Don’t be shy about asking for customer referrals. The majority of people say they are willing to provide a referral if asked, but very few take the initiative to do it on their own. Referrals make it easier to get in the door with new customers. If you aren’t asking for them, you are missing opportunities.

8. Build relationships

It is a lot less expensive to keep a customer than it is to get a new one. That’s why establishing strong relationships with your customer base is crucial. One of the ways you can do that is by launching an email campaign. Make your communications informative and helpful — something your customers will look forward to receiving. Social media campaigns are another way to keep the communication channel open (and there I go again.)

9. Offer coupons

Coupons are a good way for many businesses to attract new customers. Research shows that people will go out of their way to use a coupon, proving that this method is successful in expanding your customer base. Coupons can also generate return visits. For example, if you give a customer a coupon for a discount to use on future business, there’s a high probability they’ll be back.

10. Give it away

If someone has the opportunity to experience your product or service, chances are they will want to purchase more. Don’t be afraid to give someone a free trial or a sample. In today’s economy, people are more comfortable purchasing something they have been able to experience first.

These ten, inexpensive marketing strategies will help you engage customers, build relationships, and ultimately keep your brand top-of-mind. It’s not always about the money you have to spend on marketing, it’s about the time and effort you put into it and above all, the relevance it has for your customers.

Do you have another inexpensive, successful marketing tip that has worked for you? Tell us about it below!

 

-Lisa

9 Ways Promotional Products WORK for Your Business

By | Blog

confused

How do you get your business marketed efficiently and create brand awareness?

We’ve all heard that phrase “you have to spend money to make money” haven’t we? But what, exactly, are we supposed to be spending our money on?

I’ll tell you what.. Promotional Products!

They are a proven, cost effective way of marketing your company to an extremely large audience while doing minimal work. Sounds efficient, does it not?

If you’re new to the idea of promotional products, I understand that you might be hesitant. Despite any fears you may have, I strongly urge you to continue reading and discover just what quality promotional items can do for your company.

1.) Opening Lines of Communication

The law of reciprocity: Give, and you shall receive.

More often than not, giving a gift or item to an individual promotes a feeling that he/she should reciprocate for your kind gesture. In terms of promotional products, the giving of a product to someone else will make him or her more likely to do business with you.

L.J. Market Research did a study that found 52% of participants given a promotional item, ultimately did business with that company. The remaining 48% of participants said they would be more likely to do business with that company in the future because of their gesture.

Giving out promotional products is also a very effective way of starting a conversation with a potential customer. Handing something over allows you to “break the ice” and engage that person in conversation and because you gave them something, he or she is likely to listen to what you have to say.

2.) Drawing Attention

“Hey, Hey! Look at ME!”

Everyone wants to be the popular table at the trade-show, am I right? We all want attention for our companies and our brands and promotional products are a great way to attract that attention!

There is no more powerful word in the field of marketing than the word “FREE”, so why not offer free stuff? You now know how promotional products can help open lines of communication, but they can also get people to you all on their own!

Your trade-show booth can only be viewed from so far away, so how do you reach people all the way on the other side of the convention center?

Easy! Send a promotional product after them!

Those who receive one of your promotional items will likely be wandering all around the trade-show where others will see them. That will strike up conversations similar to the following:

“Where did you get that awesome T-Shirt? Really? [Your Company] is just giving them away? I’m on my way!”

“Oh darn I lost my pen.. oh how convenient, this booth is giving out [Your Company] pens!”

To prove these outrageous claims, we turned to
Exhibit Surveys, Inc. who did a study that determined that there was a 176% increase in trade-show traffic to a booth that gave out promotional items.

3.) They Stick Around For A Looooooong Time

“How do I still have this thing?”

Conventional advertisements generally run for a set period of time. TV ads might run for a few weeks, billboards for a few months, etc. Promotional products are a unique form of advertising that could potentially continue advertising to new target markets for an unlimited amount of time.

Think about what promotional products generally are: note pads, pens, t-shirts, key chains etc. These items are not large or expensive; instead, they are simply useful. These types of items can easily be used in every day life, making them susceptible to long term exposure.

L.J. Market Research completed yet another study that interviewed random business travelers. These interviews took place at a variety of airports across the country. According to L.J. Market Research, 71% of the participants said they had received a promotional product sometime in the last 12 months.

But it gets better.

Of that group, 33% of those participants had that product on their person!

The number of impressions with traditional advertising stops when the ad stops running on TV or in the paper or wherever. Promotional products never stop collecting impressions because they are constantly in use or being passed from one person to another. The cost per impression using promotional items is drastically less than that of traditional advertising.

Who can argue with more impressions at a lesser cost??

4.) Exponentially Increase Brand Recognition

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition!

Brand recognition requires repeated exposure to the brand name, slogan and logo. Seeing the same thing over and over again is often one of the best ways to remember something and that’s where promotional products come in.

Customers are more likely to remember your company if they have been exposed to it hundreds, even thousands of times. A promotional item has the ability to show off your brand on a daily, hourly and even minute-to-minute basis.

According to Schreber & Associates, 39% of all people who have received a promotional product in the last 6 months can remember the name of the company associated with it.

5.) More Brand Exposure Than Ever Before

Expand Beyond Your View.

Are you getting enough brand exposure with traditional advertising methods?

Promotional products to the rescue!

Promotional items have an uncanny ability to reach an audience far beyond your targeted boundaries. The most obvious examples of how this is accomplished are by using pens and t-shirts.

T-Shirts: These can be viewed as walking, moving, breathing billboards for your company. Promotional t-shirts are often worn to the gym or simply while out on the town exposing themselves to hundreds, even thousands of people each trip.

Note:
T-shirts generally account for 30% of total promotional product sales (Advertising Specialty Institute)

Pens: These change hands at an alarming rate. People are constantly taking notes, jotting down grocery lists or writing entire reports with pens, but most importantly, they’re sharing. This allows your branded pen to reach an astronomical number of demographics during its life cycle.

6.) Promoting A Favorable Image

Psst! Wanna know a secret? I’m awesome!

Brand reputation can sometimes take a lifetime to develop into one that is particularly positive. Why not cut down on that time by using promotional items? 71% of participants in a study done by Louisiana State University could remember the company’s name that gave it to them. You can bet these people also had a favorable impression of the company as well, simply because of their gesture of goodwill.

Promotional items can also be given to employees to reward goals met, accomplishments and even just hard work in general. That particular employee will then, more than likely, continue their hard work at an equal or greater level because of the feeling of appreciation they received because of the gift.

7.) The Gift of Re-Gifting

This was useful to me, now I want to share it with you!

Re-gifting is generally a forbidden practice. The thought of someone passing on a well thought out personal gift to someone else generally promotes blood boiling anger but not in the case of a promotional product. If your promotional product is being passed along, you should be elated!

People share; people share stories, emotions and most importantly, people share stuff. Recipients of promotional items are more than likely going to pass them along to someone else and this is exactly what we should hope for!

The more a promotional item is passed along, the greater total audience it sees, the smaller our cost per impression gets and the bigger our smiles become. It’s a know fact (thanks to the Advertising Specialty Institute) that 62% of those who receive a promotional product will give that item away before throwing it out.

Think of it this way:

1 person is given a promotional product.

That 1 person exposes that product to 100 people.

If you give out 100 promotional items and each of those items was passed around 100 times by its recipients, you will have gained 1,000,000 impressions with just 100 items!

That’s what we in the business call incredibly effective advertising.

8.) Don’t Limit Yourself To Just A Target Audience

More impressions = more business generated.

We’ve all heard, been taught, or thought about a target audience. What we often don’t think about is the possibility that our perfect customer is outside of our current targeting boundaries. That’s where promotional products can come in handy!

Promotional items have no geographic or demographic limitations and because of their mobility, items such as USB drives, t-shirts and pens have the ability to reach a vast number of people you may have never gotten the chance to advertise to.

9.) Sell More, Make More

A simple pen could be the reason for your largest client.

The whole purpose of advertising is to generate revenue for your company. The fantastic thing about promotional products is, that’s what they’re designed to do!

Baylor University did a study that concluded, companies whose sales people utilized promotional products did 22% more business than those sales people who didn’t.

Due to high exposure rates, promotional items create a positive affiliation with your company and can help to generate sales at an alarmingly rapid pace. This means you’re going to be recommended more often than a company who did not use promotional items because of your giving reputation and that’s a great feeling!

Expand Your Company

Seriously what are you waiting for?

You’ve seen the evidence; you’ve seen the examples, now its time for you to take the dive. Promotional products are an extremely effective and efficient form of advertising and they can do wonders for your business.

 

View our catalog of items you can personalize at http://thehbgroup.espwebsite.com/ .