Businesses need a significant marketing budget to attract customers, increase sales, develop the company, and compete better in the market. Marketing budgets differ by industry. The constant in the business world is that startups, or small and medium businesses, start with fewer budgets than others, so they cannot pump huge money into Marketing budget, and companies with limited budgets will have to search instead for marketing ideas that are less expensive but in return have the greatest impact on their profits.
How much should you spend on your marketing budget if your company is small?
There is not a single answer for everyone, ”it depends on the type of business you have, your business goals and your returns.” Horvath suggests a good way to narrow your target budget which is “researching what is common in your field and what your competitors spend”, but we will suggest you more than 5 Low-cost marketing ideas to fit your small budget:
How to create a marketing strategy for a small business?
1- Customer loyalty program
Marketing Ideas: Customer Loyalty Program
Trying to get a new customer costs you 5 times the retention of the current customer, and loyal customers who make frequent purchases because they love what you offer can achieve 65% of the company’s sales volume. Customer loyalty programs can be used as one of the many marketing ideas that do not cost much and provide higher returns.
Customer loyalty is the customer’s desire to buy from or trade with a brand over and over again and is the result of positive customer experience, customer satisfaction, and the value and importance of the products or services the customer gets from this transaction.
Focus your efforts on providing the best quality product/service to your existing, easily identifiable and accessible customers, and ensure that you pay the appropriate attention to people who already know and trust you.
Large and reputable companies use the customer loyalty program to keep existing customers and attract new customers, such as Sephora, Uber, amazon prime..and many others, for example, Starbucks first launched the My Starbucks Rewards program through the Starbucks app, in order to earn loyalty points (Or stars), customers must order or pay using the Starbucks app to win free gifts, bonus balance, discounts, vouchers, and member-only promotions.
2- Internet Marketing
marketing throughout the Internet
Studies by analysts like Gartner indicate that more and more consumers are using social media and mobile Internet research to conduct initial product and price research before making final decisions.
Internet marketing is not only among the least expensive marketing ideas among the traditional types of marketing but rather allows you to reach a huge number of users, it provides an inexpensive 24-hour virtual interface without stopping to display your products or services, there are 4.1 billion Internet users in the world In December 2018. Compared to 3.9 billion internet users in mid-2018 and about 3.7 billion internet users in late 2017, the ever-increasing number of online users is an important opportunity for marketers to target customers and potential customers more broadly.
Internet marketing is the process of promoting a business or brand and its products or services online using tools that help increase traffic and sales.
You can market your brand, services, or products through various platforms and forms across the Internet, by providing high-quality content on your site through blogs, how-to articles, videos, and newsletters, and through marketing via social networks, via email, and customer service via the Internet.
3- Building relationships/networking
Marketing ideas: building relationships and networking
“True success, at all levels, is impossible without building great relationships.”
The most important thing is that you go there and introduce yourself, it is a form of advertising like any other kind; you advertise yourself when you introduce yourself, whether it is to grow a business, increase sales, or just networking to get to know others, it is an essential form of advertising, but perhaps cheaper.
If you want to market in less costly ways and achieve higher sales growth for your business, you must make a continuous commitment to building quality meaningful relationships on several levels, and making the right connections with the right people, marketing in relationships is not just about communicating with one entity, while you can Be Networking with several different destinations, such as:
Building relationships with the media and cultivating good relationships with journalists and influencers on networks enables you to reap several benefits in obtaining a way to publish press releases, media coverage, and the latest news about your company and your products/services.
Building relationships with business leaders in various industries, who can be your potential customers, or recommend your products or services to their social networks, and you can discover the best ways and methods of marketing at a lower cost.
If you are not a member of a local community and you do not seek to identify individuals who are active in your community and do not join professional organizations in your community, you are missing a great opportunity to introduce your company/products to your local community and expand your relationships.
The most powerful type of networking that can assist you in marketing at lower costs is building relationships with potential customers through human interaction; customers expect brands to treat them as individuals and invest in building a relationship with them, rather than focusing on the sales process.
More than a “customer loyalty program” can establish a stronger and deeper relationship with customers through relationship marketing, that is, it has the ability to establish emotional contact with consumers, develop strong long-term relationships, and provide them with information appropriate to their needs and interests by promoting open communication. ”
Many customers leave the company not because they do not like the product, but because they are discouraged by customer service, excellent, attractive, and dedicated customer service; they are the key when looking for ways to build relationships with your customers.
Building relationships requires maintaining productive and effective communication, and a long-term commitment to achieving success with all parties and actors who can help you in marketing in less costly ways.
4- Referrals Program / Recommendations
Referral program / recommendations
92% of people trust the recommendations of friends and family over all other forms of advertising when making a purchase.
When it comes to influencing consumers, nothing competes with recommendations or referrals. Most new customers purchase because someone they know has recommended a specific product or service. Referral marketing is: “How to promote products or services to new customers through referrals, a referral is usually a phrase For word of mouth, such referrals often occur spontaneously but companies can influence this through appropriate strategies. ”
The referral is one of the most effective ways of any great marketing campaign not only in terms of results, but also in terms of cost to reach new customers, so merging it with the marketing plan regularly will help boost your sales unreasonably, and to do so correctly follow these steps:
Make sure to provide the highest quality product/service to keep your existing customers satisfied. Finally, they will recommend your business to their knowledge circle.
Ask your customers on the networks if they are happy with the service/product and ask them to indicate their friends or acquaintances who can enjoy it.
Offer to existing customers a free product, free month of service, or other reward for referring new customers, for example AT & T Wireless offers a referral program that provides opportunities for customers to get up to $ 575 per year through referrals for various services, including high internet Speed, home phones, cordless phones … etc.
Dropbox, an online file storage company providing free and paid services, implemented a referral program in 2009 that asked users to tell their friends about the service, the program offered rewards to both sides, those who signed up for a referral link would get additional free space and the person who He referred them to more space.
By 2010 referrals made up about 35% of daily subscriptions, Dropbox subscriptions increased permanently by 60% overall, and the company estimated that over a 30-day period (April 2010) its users sent more than 2.8 million direct invitations.
5- Organizing online competitions
Organize competitions online
Online competitions are another form of marketing that companies integrate to provide a stimulating interaction that can help keep existing customers, attract potential customers, increase visits to your site, you will not technically need expensive prizes in order to succeed in organizing a competition that attracts the audience, Some simple prizes can be satisfactory to customers such as a luxury backpack, a mobile phone, or a bundle of your products. If you sell certain products, or you have an online store that sells goods, you can provide free service to the contest winner if what your company sells is services.
To organize a successful competition you need to take important steps, the most important of which are:
Defining your goals, the competition goals must be in line with the goals of your commercial and marketing activities, your goals can be as follows: enhancing awareness of your brand, increasing sales percentages, increasing the number of visits to your website, developing the relationship with customers, increasing the percentage of posts on social networks..etc.
Take some time to research and determine your target audience for the competition to increase your chances of success.
Determine the competition budget, what amount you will invest in the competitive marketing strategy, what are the costs involved (prize, promotion..etc), and how the team will implement this strategy.
Determine the method that you will use in the competition, will it be on one of your accounts on the networks, or on your website, or through another means … etc.
Put an attractive and short title to the competition, with phrases that encourage users to make a decision (such as share, win, etc.), add your company name and prize (participate and win $ 1000 from the x store).
Set a timetable, the start and start date of the competition, and the date the winners are announced, in order to give the competition more credibility.
Determine the drawing, evaluation, or voting mechanisms and the mechanism for announcing the winners in order to give the competition greater confidence.
It is imperative that your competition is designed according to controls, specify the competition rules, terms and conditions that will control the entire process and place it within a legal framework.
Not only launch the competition, promote to reach the largest possible number of participants, through paid advertisements, or on social media, and through mailing lists, you can also add a banner about the competition on your site on your home page .. and others.
To get the best marketing results, you will have to track and monitor KPIs by tracking competition page visits, referral visits, and when the competition is complete, take the time to analyze your results to learn from successes or even failures.
Target customers need to hear your marketing messages at least seven times to influence their purchasing decision, and this may be a burden on your limited budget, the ideas mentioned above can help you in marketing your business, and in addition to those ideas that will not cost you much there are many other ideas that You can implement it with your team including providing value by designing an educational video to help educate clients or find solutions to their problems, organizing effective webinars, providing free samples to clients, participating in sponsoring local events, trying paid ads online; With social media offers ads at low cost and with optimal targeting options.
inexpensive marketing ideas for small business
01- Add photos
Small companies tend to promote their products by distributing advertising messages on the mailboxes of homes near the activity headquarters, and the report recommends adding a special message addressed to the surrounding community provided that it is related to the type of activity, as well as attaching a fun personal image to the owner of the activity while he is with his family or his work team or His company website with the message.
02- Caring for a childhood day
Children love to play, have fun, sweets, and parents love to take their children to the festive occasions for free, and here comes a great marketing opportunity for the company, so they can sponsor an entertainment day for children by renting various recreational tools such as jumping and jumping tools and a special team for children’s shows while playing songs and music clips that are loved for them. Activity Earn the loyalty of both children and their parents.
03-Hosting a neighborhood party
In the same context, the residents of the neighborhood can be invited to a local social party, so barbecue tools are rented and free drinks are provided, and in this way, the activity becomes connected to consumers ’minds with the joyful festive atmosphere, and this method can even attract the attention of the media, highlighting the event and the activity receives excellent free advertising.
04- Free Distribution
Some major companies such as KotSco – one of the largest wholesale organizations in the United States – resort to this method to enhance the reputation of its brand, as it distributes high-quality food items for free on a regular basis, and it is a good means of marketing for business activities in general, whatever the size, it is advised The owner of the activity distributes some suitable free items in different locations such as trade fairs, social events, and farmers’ markets, or simply distributes them in front of the company headquarters.
05- Intensification of social activity
Building a personal mark on the same degree of the importance of building a brand, or even exceeding it, in enhancing the image of the activity, it is advised to intensify the social activity of the company owner in the local community that serves him, such as participating in the activities of local clubs and civil institutions or seeking small positions in the local council of the city and other Means that increase a person’s social role and greatly aid in the growth of his business.
06 -Opportunities for public speeches
In the same context of building a personal mark, it is advisable to explore opportunities for giving public speeches if a person is gifted in this context, and he can win these opportunities through the following channels:
1- Delivering speeches in local colleges, especially those that are related to the quality of his activity. Students are usually eager to listen to the experiences of successful businessmen to draw inspiration from their success.
2- Submit a request to speak at local events or sponsor a local conference.
3- Participating in local groups and clubs, enhancing the social presence will help create opportunities for public speeches.
4- Inquiring constantly from the socially active persons in the region about the expected opportunities to deliver speeches.
07- A noble social goal
Participating in achieving a noble social goal that earns the company the respect and appreciation of society and enhances the image of its brand, for example, initiatives can be launched to clean the banks of the river, donate blood, combat homelessness, protect stray animals, recycle old computers, or increase green areas and many other simple activities that It serves society and leaves a very positive impact on consumers.
08- Paste data on the car
Many may be surprised by this advice, but it yields many benefits to the company, and some experts advise the activity owner to paste his company logo and contact information on his car, as this will arouse the curiosity of those around to inquire about the type of activity, and will prompt those who need the product or service to call quickly to get what he wants and, above all, it will increase the reputation of the company and its products.
New entrepreneurs find it difficult to obtain professional advice at the beginning of their activity, especially if they are free of charge, and the company owner can enhance his personal image by providing the knowledge and experiences that he gained during his career for this category of beginners for free, and some companies evaluate what looks like workshops or sessions He spoke to share who is interested in these experiences that I gained in her fields such as child nutrition, investment strategies, home improvement and other fields of business.
10- Organizing social gatherings
The demand for social gatherings began to increase again, as a person began to realize that social networking sites do not provide the same value as the experience provided by direct talks face to face with others, and the company can take advantage of this growing trend by calling for social gatherings in general for neighborhood residents with the choice of a topic related to the quality of activity and its management In an engaging style that does not excite the boredom of the audience, this will enhance the brand’s fame and establish its image as a strong social bond.
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The success of the marketing process does not depend on the development of complex and costly advertising strategies, but rather depends on two basic things that if the person absorbs them, he will ensure great success for his marketing efforts, namely:
1- A conscious understanding of the goals of the activity.
2- Defining the target consumer and understanding his mood and needs.