Much of America's backbone is made up of small business. These same
businesses are the "Mom and Pop"s with less than 15 employees. They face
challenges of advertising and promoting their name, products or services in a
much larger scale. Although I covered this topic in earlier blogs, I thought I
would revisit this topic to help refresh some ideas for the small business on
advertising and marketing. Remember, it is possible to compete with your larger
counterparts if you just keep a few ideas in mind.
Know where your place is
Most small businesses think they need to advertise and promote themselves on
a regional or state basis. You are killing yourself. Think within your town or
city. Use local media to advertise. People know you here and you have stronger
branding on a local scale.
Take advantage of this. Incorporate your branding, marketing and advertising with
social media. Start with the basics. Use Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin. If
you are clueless on how to do it, ask your kids, your employee's kids, slip them
a few bucks and they will help you build it. They love this stuff and for some
spending money, I am sure they will show you how to get them going. You don't
need to hire a high cost marketing firm. (Sorry guys, I know I am biting my own
hand but this is about small businesses who do not have the financial resources
Save those email addresses
Having marketing information to send out to your customers is important.
When you get leads, or customers contact you about your
services or products you need to build a data base. You can pay to get data
information but again, I encourage you to start your own. Many times buying
data base information has 80% outdated or lists of people who have nothing to do
with what you are trying to promote. You get exactly that. Lists. People who
have contacted you are interested in what you have to offer. Save it, build
upon it and stay in touch with them. If you offer services lets say to
professional organizations, many times you can go on the web and find listings
in your area of people who belong to a group associated with their profession.
Print out that information and you are on your way. It costs you nothing other
than your time to look it up. That is something you can do at home or assign it
to one of your employees.
How is your website? Do you even have one? Do you understand SEO?
(Search Engine Optimization) You can put up a basic web site for nothing.
There are many places including Google who offer free web sites.
As far as building it, remember those kids who love Social Media? Yep,
they know about web sites too.
Many vendors or manufacturers offer money to resellers to promote their products.
They will pay you via actual dollars or reimbursement after proof of performance
(radio-tv) or tear sheet (print) to advertise. Wow, free cash! Next time your distributor or
sales rep comes around, ask them about this.
Marketing development Funds is another free cash
program that vendors offer. Similar to co-op but this is money you build up by
buying their products. More latitude is often given with MDF as you can not only
buy advertising by co-branding but you can do events, co-brand promotional
material and more.Usually it is 1% of your purchases and you are responsible for
reporting what you buy from them. It is well worth it. Ask your sales rep next
time when asking about co-op dollars if they also offer a MDF program. Many
times with MDF they will pay 100% of a marketing promotion
whereas with co-op it is only a portion dedicated to their product.
I hope this refresher on advertising and marketing on a budget has been a help to you.
If you have your own success story, I would like to hear about it. Visit my
last tab page here on my site and contact me.