Marketing Strategy on a Shoestring Budget
Recently I was invited as a panelist to share experience on marketing on a shoe string budget, I recall that few years ago it was the same topic that we treated in one of our Kingdom Investors capacity building programs. Kingdom Investors is an NGO that I founded whose vision is to provide free capacity building program and business coaching to women.
At the early stage of my business a promotional product company in the UK used to send very glossy catalogue with high resolution pictures to me. I was so impressed by their quality that on my next trip to UK I decided to visit them.
I was so shocked to see that the owner of the business was an old woman in her Seventies. What I thought was a huge showroom was just her living room with all the products stored away in shelves.
This is the power of visual and the most effective marketing on a shoestring budget I have ever seen. She was the second generation owner, and now retired and handed over the business to her son. That company is one of the biggest success stories in this industry in Europe today.
I learnt so much from that experience. The fact that you don’t really need to break a bank to effectively push your brand.
It is a known fact that most small businesses do not have any budget for marketing, with the present economic realities even big organizations are drastically cutting down on their budget, looking for more innovative and effective ways of marketing their businesses.
As 2018 unfolds I want to share some tips on how companies that have little or no budget for marketing can drive sales on a shoestrings budget. However, for proper foundation to take off the following questions must be answered;
I. Why Am I in Business?
II. Who Do I want to sell to?
III. How Do I Plan to Sell?
IV. What Do I want to sell?
• First you must have a marketing plan and strategy.
• Profile your potential customers, start from those that know you and your capacity or competence.
• Document your target market
• Research is very important
• Get training, build capacity. Look for where you can get trained for little or nothing.
• Find a mentor, read books especially autobiography of those you want to model your business.
• You must be techie and social media savvy
• Get a good graphic designer to design your marketing tools like call cards, flyers, banners, etc.
I do not claim to be an expert in business generation but over the years there are some tips I have found useful:
1. Craft an Elevator Pitch: for me another word for an entrepreneur is “Jack of all trade and master of all”. You are your own Chief Marketing Officer and you must be prepared 24/7. Average attention span of an adult is in seconds so be prepared to summarize what you do with laser like precision without ambiguity.
2. Provide customer centric service which will endear you to your customers. Research has shown that it is five times more difficult to convert a prospect to loyal customers than to keep your loyal customer.
3. Pull the necessary emotional trigger that will keep you engraved in your customers heart e.g. remember their birthdays, give functional promotional items, and build relationship.
4. Deploy Social media and technology to the maximum e.g. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn etc Build a database for Email marketing, Whatsapp, SMS. Post amazing content on your blog, build a website.
5. Make your presence felt in your Industry, join trade association, attend trade fairs, donate and sponsor events. Network, Network, Network!
6. Build capacity/Upgrade your skills: you are what you know, become an authority in your business. Publish articles to educate your target market.
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY IS WORKING?
I strongly recommend that you appraise your strategy to know what is working in your marketing bouquet. If it is an effective strategy you will notice the following Positive cash flow which means increase in sales and profitability.
• More referrals especially from satisfied customers. Word of mouth marketing is very potent for both positive and negative experience so make sure your clients are getting good experience.
• Increase in inquiries especially through social media. Be careful and tactful to ensure that you are not over branding yourself at the expense of your business, there has to be a balance. Some people are living their lives on social media while the business is suffering.
• Your brand becomes amplified as a result of positive image
• When right marketing strategy is used profit becomes a nice side effect of doing things right.
Mrs Ngozi Nzegwu
CEO, Dugo Limited