The beginning of a business adventure can be exciting. It all starts with an idea and a dream, but turning that dream into a reality takes a solid strategy and planning. For many, opening a home business is a great low-cost way to see their dreams come true. A home business can be a great way to save for college, go on trips to explore the world, or pay off your home early. To make your business a success, you need to develop the marketing strategy that is right for you.
You may think that you need to have a large amount of capital upfront to develop a successful marketing plan, but with technology such as the Internet and social media, building a successful marketing plan is no longer a monumental task. There are many marketing avenues for building a successful business, many of which are low cost, or even free. Let’s say that you only have $5,000 to spend and you want to get the most out of your marketing budget. What are the best ways to spend it so that you get the most from your efforts?
Know Your Customers
Many smaller entrepreneurs think that if you have a great product and you put it out there that it will automatically sell. This is the biggest mistake that most small businesses make. You need to not only let people know about your product and how it can help them, you also need to build long-term relationships to keep them coming back. Building relationships with your customers has a lifetime impact on the bottom line not only through more business from the same client, but from word-of-mouth advertising, which is the best free advertising because it is based on trust.
The first step to any successful campaign is to do market research about your customers and your competition. You need to know what your clients want and what media channels will reach them best. You also need to know about your competitor’s products and how they reach their customer base.
In today’s world, it is difficult to find a niche that is truly unique. Even if you have a different angle on an existing product, you can always find similar products that will be competition. Marketing research needs to use a two-pronged approach that addresses both your customers and competition.
In today’s world, having a website or blog is the new business card. If you don’t have a website, you automatically lose credibility as a legitimate business. You also lose out on an important way to reach your customers with information such as your
- Products and services
- Hours of operation
- Contact information
- Physical and Web locations
- Map and driving directions
- Your uniqueness
If you do not have a website, you are missing out on the cheap way to give your customers basic information about your business, but you are also missing out on something else. You are missing out on the opportunity to connect with your customers and give them important information about why your product or service is unique, and how you are different than your competition. Getting your first client through your blog is the first major hurdle that you have to overcome when starting out.
Social Media Works
If you do not understand the importance of social media in a marketing campaign, it is possible that you may have been living in a cave for the past several decades. In today’s marketing mix, social media is king. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can help you reach customers through sharing what you post about your business.
Social media not only allows you to get free exposure when people share your post, it also allows you to build a personality for your business that is truly unique. Creating social media goals is the key to getting the most value from your social media strategy. Social media is one of the most important resources for reaching your target market at a cost that is budget friendly.
Email Marketing Campaign
In the world of social media, many people forget that email campaigns still play an important role in providing free or low-cost advertising opportunities. Email is a great way to keep your customers updated about your products and services, and to connect with them through special sales campaigns or newsletters.
One of the best tips for running a successful email campaign is to make your messages personal, rather than using a mass-marketing approach. Gone are the days when you can send out a message full of hype and hyperbole with the expectation that it will increase sales. In fact, this type of message can harm your brand and your future sales by making you sound like everybody’s used car salesman.
Now, low-cost email programs can help you get the most from your advertising dollars. They allow you to handle the task quickly and easily through creating groups, special lists, and pre-scheduling your email campaign.
Standing Out from the Crowd
In a crowded marketplace, developing a gimmick can help you attract attention. These strategies can include special promotions, holiday advertising campaigns, and anything that creates buzz. Giving something away free can often have big returns when it comes to attracting attention. Another popular idea is finding a cause that means something to your customers and donating a portion of your sales to it.
People like to win prizes and free stuff.
Don’t Forget Local
In the world of the World Wide Web, sometimes free local opportunities for advertising are overlooked. Even though it seems as if the Internet has taken over the advertising world, it is important not to ignore your local market. A recurring ad in in a local publication can be an excellent choice.
The word reoccurring is an important element when it comes to print advertising, and any other type of matter advertising for that matter. Raising local awareness of your business can generate word-of-mouth advertising by people who know you personally. This can be a powerful recommendation.
Micro-influencers are people who have a small following of between 1,000 to 100,000 followers. They are not big celebrities, but they should not be ignored either. Even though they are not a household name, they have more personal engagement and are trusted by their audience.
Micro-influencers are often easy to contact. You can search for them using relevant hashtags and keywords for your business. These people can become your best brand advocates, but their services are not free and you may have to pay as much as $100 per post, but it is worth it because of the degree of influence that they have on your market.
Videos Are King
Nowadays, people like to watch videos much more than I like to read written content, and with a little bit of software and some basic knowledge, it is now easy to produce your own video content. Some of the most influential people in today’s marketing world are self-made YouTube stars.
Now you have several ways that you can cost-effectively build a marketing campaign. Let’s see how this all adds up in the end using average costs forced different types of services.
- Website – $200
- Social Media Services and Content – $1,000
- Email Marketing – $100
- Video Media – $1,000
- Local Print Ads – $1,500
- Micro-Influencers – $1,200
- TOTAL – $5,000
As you can see, it is possible to build a successful marketing campaign with a very small budget. Taking advantage of today’s technology and social media can have big payoffs. Regardless of the marketing mix that you choose to use, the most important step is getting to know your customers and where to find them. You also need to know how to connect with them on a personal level.
Today’s customers are inundated with marketing messages every day. In order to reach them, you need to get to know them well and deliver a message that builds trust in your business and your brand. If you do this, and take advantage of cost-effective marketing channels that are available today, you will quickly find your business growing and your dreams will come true.
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