Most small-to-medium-sized businesses have a limited marketing budget, so you’ve got to spend wisely and capitalize on as many free opportunities as you can find. Here are a few tips to get you going:
Copy the big boys
The first step could be to do some opposition research on your out-sized competition. Larger companies are not shy about spending on advertising. You can examine their high-profile campaigns and think about how you might implement their tactics on a smaller scale. Where they might have an app and a data base that tracks customer spending, you might develop a low-tech loyalty reward program, using only punch cards.
Own your locality
You don’t have to conquer the world, but wouldn’t it be nice to rule your own backyard? Local signage, such as bus benches or the buses themselves, as well as ads in the local penny saver shouldn’t be underestimated. Perhaps the houses of worship in your area run ads on their weekly bulletins. Social media apps have local pages that carry posts of local interest. By commenting frequently on forums—and providing helpful, free advice for your neighbors—you can become more prominent without paying out of pocket for advertising.
Become a sponsor
Local charities are always looking for sponsors. Choose one that fits with your market. For instance, if you run an orthodonture clinic, consider sponsoring a Little League team. Advertising at a charity’s fundraising event can not only reach the target audience in your locale, but it projects an image of you/your business as good citizens. Just make sure that when you donate cash or goods/services, you get an appropriate acknowledgement, including if possible, display of your business logo. Events like silent auctions are a great way of to introduce new customers to your business by offering samples of goods/services.
Become an influencer
Some businesses lend themselves to social media promotion, especially if the proprietor has an outsized personality that plays well on Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram. These days, all it takes is a smartphone to make a short video that promotes your business. Keep it pithy, informative, perhaps humorous, but always in good taste. Video posts can go viral for good and bad reasons, so give everything you post due consideration. You might want to get artistic and even legal advice before you start.
Hold a contest
Games of chance, like raffles, can get you into legal trouble, so beware. But a contest based on skill can garner community interest, while raising your local profile. Art contests or poetry contests connected to civic holidays or festivals, even a contest to write a jingle for your business, can generate excitement.
Try a variety of approaches to keep your message fresh
It’s easy for a company’s marketing to slump because of too much repetition of the same message through the same medium. Yes, you want to strengthen your brand by repeating your core message, but try new wrinkles and new ways of gaining visibility. Audiences admire creativity. They might even start looking forward to what you’re going to present next.
Contact Breon & Associates in Harrisburg
For advice on scaling a marketing program to your company budget, call Breon & Associates. We’re not only knowledgeable CPAs, we’re also successful small business owners. With offices in Harrisburg and South Central PA, Breon & Associates provides business, accounting and tax services throughout Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina and Florida. Call us at 1-888-516-8476 or 717-273-8626, or contact one of our offices online to schedule an online consultation or an online training event.
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Harrisburg, PA 17101
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