You may well be asking yourself, “What would an accounting firm know about marketing?” And it’s true our day-to-day focus is on numbers, balance sheets and P&L’s. But we have worked with enough businesses (including our own) to know that marketing is critical to a healthy P&L. And we are also aware that for many small businesses finding the funds to market effectively can be difficult. So in this blog we share with you some ways to promote your business without blowing the budget.
An effective way to reduce the overall cost of your marketing effort is to join forces with complementary products. A copywriter might seek out a designer; an interior designer can partner with a house painter; an electrician might join forces with the plumber. Cross promoting not only enables you to cut your advertising costs in half, it also allows you to access your partner’s customer base.
Consider offering your services (instead of cash) in return for advertising and marketing services. Can you offer your skills to a professional copywriter or web designer in return for a spiffed up website? One word of warning here: you only have so much time in your day make sure the value you get for bartering your services makes the exercise worthwhile.
Ask for referrals
Referrals are probably the most overlooked source of new business. Don’t be afraid to tap into your existing customer base to access new customers. Start by committing to ask for at least one customer referral every week.
Tap into the local media
Local newspapers radio and television stations are always on the hunt for content. There are plenty of ways to take advantage of this. Consider writing an article or even a regular column on your area of expertise for the local papers.
Call in to radio talk shows when the topic is within your area of expertise. Let the local media know that you are an expert in your field and available for interviews whenever required.
Share your expertise
Potential customers want to feel that they will be dealing with the experts. So demonstrate your expertise. Share useful tips on your website and through social media. Talk to local colleges about offering workshops in your area of expertise. Volunteer to speak at local meetings or seminars.
Do something crazy
Ask yourself what Richard Branson might do with your budget and your business. If you can think of a startling, clever, funny idea and then let the local media know about it the free publicity is likely to flow.
We’ve tried out most of these ideas ourselves and can confirm that effective marketing does not require a champagne budget. We have yet to try a wild publicity stunt…..but Mel did just return from Vegas in a crazy mood so watch this space.