When you ask a home-based business owner the question of how much they put aside every year for their marketing strategy, the answer is likely to be same each time; “I don’t have any money for marketing!”
Home-based businesses account for 36% of all businesses. The majority are full-time firms and around one in ten have achieved a significant scale (10 or more employees, turnover in excess of £250,000) These are amongst the findings in the Invisible Businesses: The characteristics of home-based businesses in the United Kingdom report, by the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship, University of Strathclyde from 2008.
Most home-based businesses are not able to use the major advertising channels like TV, Radio, Press or Cinema, because of the high costs.
“In total, advertising spend is expected to reach £16.8bn in 2012, and £17.2bn in 2013” according to the Advertising Association (AA). But there is light on the horizon. Marketing does not have to cost a fortune.
Here are my Top 5 Frugal Marketing Strategies:
1. Client Avatar
Client Avatar = Ideal customer or client
The most important questions are; Who is your ideal customer? How do you reach them in the most efficient way? Ask yourself how old your customer is and where they live. How do they spend their time, do they have children for example?
With this in mind you can create a marketing plan that offers your product or service to the right person.
2. Social Media
Since Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn started it was mainly used to connect with friends and family members as a new way of staying in touch.
The great thing is that social media is free. Why don’t you start a business account where you share relevant information like news, photos, competitions etc. with your customers? If you don’t know what do write about, grap some ideas here: https://naomimclaughlan.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/the-social-media-ripple-effect/
Do not forget to add your social media link buttons to your website.
3. Word of mouth recommendations or WOM
There are many ways of engaging existing customers to recommend your business. One way could be a recommendation scheme. Offer your customers a gift voucher for their next purchase or cash back for each new client they refer to you.
4. Customer service
Customers will return if they have been given a great customer service. Offer a 100% money back guarantee if you offer a service or exchange if your business is product based.
In order to give your customer the best service they deserve, you could invite them to take part in a short survey. Ask if the service or product could be enhanced to meet their needs.
You can than take the information to give your customers an even better service.
5. Partnership with similar businesses – Networking
Teamwork is always good, because you are using less energy and resources to find and keep customers. Let’s say you are a beauty therapist who makes home visits, why don’t you team up with a wedding planner? Or if you were a cupcake baker; you could be part of this team or form you own with a caterer. Try to see the bigger picture and find your teammates. Recommend each other in your marketing – shared costs are half costs.
To find those partners you can go to a network café in your area. Those events are most likely advertised in your local newspaper or through the business newsletter most councils offer in the UK & US.
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