Getting your name out there in the big wide world of business can be like trying to swim out of a ball pit with your limbs tied. One of the largest obstacles for a small business is that it has a fixed budget, which if exceeded, leaves it vulnerable.
The reason why going over budget can be poisonous to a small business is because, more than likely it won’t have a pot of resources to fall back on, i.e. the funds to stay afloat. Financially speaking, going from the black to the red means the business will have to cut down expenditure and the knock-on effect of this is that it will lose business and damage its reputation.
However, if as the startup or small business founder or owner don’t make noise, then in the competitive world, no one will bother to listen to you. It’s kind of a catch-22 situation, whereby marketing your business is crucial for it to get noticed and grow, but doing it incorrectly or inefficiently can be counterproductive.
Fear not, there are a plethora of ways you can communicate and advertise your business effectively and still stay on budget. Follow these tips to obtain maximum exposure with minimum financial risk.
Go to an Industry Event
Business conventions are a fantastic networking opportunity. Regional and national expos are held every year. For example ‘The Business Show’ is the UK’s largest business exhibition and in the USA the largest annual gathering of small business is at the ‘New York Business Expo’. Book yourself a stall area to have your own little space to advertise your business to the thousands and thousands of attendees. Create a list of your best qualities as a business, print them out onto an advertising board. At your table, you should your business cards readily available for passersby to grab and go, if they don’t have the time to stop and chat.
Additionally, by using this opportunity to promote yourself to other professionals, one way to stick in their minds is to have something tangible in the form of a Dynamic Gift. Whether it’s a hat, t-shirt, keychain, wristband, pen, sticker, badge, etc; you should have something in the way of a ‘remember me by’. You should also have with you lots of leaflets that go over the gist of what your business is about, your pathway to what you have become, the things you have achieved and what targets for the future you’re aiming for.
Get Featured on the News
Getting news coverage for any small business is a godsend; you get extensive coverage to potentially millions of people and it’s the most cost-effective marketing tool out there. Before you ring up or email your local journalist, know that there are three key elements journalists will search for in a potential newsworthy story. It doesn’t matter which kind of media avenue it is, whether it’s radio, television coverage, or the local newspaper, getting yourself out there to the masses is your only goal.
- A ‘people’ or ‘feelgood’ story must have a human aspect to it; something that morning breakfast shows can host while the potential consumers are getting dressed or eating breakfast. For a human interest angle, you’ll be asked what kind of impact has your business had on the particular people?
- Journalists love a ‘conflict’ tale, so don’t act shocked if they ask you about a competitor or compare your fiscal score with another company. A rivalry is always going to sell papers and get the audience’s attention; the old Rocky story never gets old.
- A scandal or clever innovation is irresistible for a journalist looking to get a scoop before anyone else. The news reporter might ask you about a recent malpractice court case and your thoughts on it, or they might ask you to talk about a gap in the market that you have been exploiting.
A David versus Goliath story of a small business outperforming a larger corporate company is what’s known as a ‘motivation’ or ‘triumph’ story. Take this opportunity to raise an issue of industry concern or showcase a limited time special offer for a service your business provides for the public to take advantage of.
Guerrilla marketing is used by all kinds of businesses, varying from well-known to new kids on the block. Creativity rules the roost in this department, so you must think of catchy or funny slogans that fit your business ethos.
The best campaigns will make passers-by, stop whatever they’re doing, do a double take, laugh or talk about it with their friends next to them. You could do this in the form of creating a mascot uniform that encapsulates your business and have the wearer walk around the local town handing out leaflets.
Let’s face it, people like free stuff. A great idea to reach out to the public is to offer them something like free candy or keychain. Your aim for a public outreach program is to have people stop and get out their phones to take a video or picture to share on social media. Something should stick with the viewer once they have clicked off the advertisement, such as a theme song, a hashtag, a funny scene or catchphrase etc.
If the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ has taught us anything, it’s that doing silly but funny and relatable things for a good cause, can be an instant overnight hit.
Think of an ad campaign that could reach out to millions of people in a family-friendly manner, that is also highlighting something important. You and your co-workers could film yourself doing a funny challenge, that is consistent with what your business is about.
However, your aim should be to raise awareness of another campaign, such as a health concern. Divide your employees into teams and put each of them on a scoreboard, so there’s a competitive element in the narrative.
The audience will pick a side which they most relate to, so instruct your employees not to hide their personalities; remember consumers aren’t robots and they connect more with the human touch of a business.
Question: What’s your budget marketing tips for your small businesses? You can leave a comment by clicking here.