Many startups and SMME’s cut back on their marketing budget when times get rough since marketing activities do not always show immediate results. Dimakatso Moloantoa shares why you should invest in marketing.
Cutting back on marketing costs is one of the biggest mistakes that you will make, for many reasons including that as a new brand, consistency in marketing behaviour is crucial to stay top of mind and to reinforce the brand. It is also easier to forget a new brand if it is not marketed.
In many instances, marketing is a vital support function in a business. Whatever the sales goals are (which are derived from Finance targets) need to be supported by marketing activities to make the brand come to life.
The second assumption is that marketing is unnecessarily expensive for smaller businesses and more focus should be placed in establishing the product or service with the target audience. This brings the opportunity for smaller businesses to be more creative in how their marketing is done and how to improve reach and convert each contact to a sale. Here are some ways that may assist:
- Create valuable content: be a blog contributor for a blog where your target audience would be, you can also create your own blog. Create videos, host podcasts, design infographics or submitting articles to online authority sites.
- Be active on Social Media: 8 Million South African’s use Twitter, 3.8 Million on Instagram, 13 million are on Facebook and 6.1 Million use LinkedIn. This is without a doubt a low hanging fruit for any business. Experiment with some platforms that you think are a good match for your business and track what progress you see in your business. There are also business groups that you can join that have like-minded people that may generate leads for your business.
- Give Product Samples or Service trials: The best way to get people to try a new product for the first time is to allow them to trial it without investing too much. This may seem like giving away stock for free when sales are already struggling- but the magic comes in many forms. Once a potential consumer trials a product or service and is satisfied with it; they are more likely to give repeat purchase and to tell others about it through word of mouth. So it’s not such a waste after all.
- Leverage your networks: As a small business, it is worthwhile to collaborate with other small business in order to leverage each others audiences. Naturally the products and services have to be complimentary (eg. A stylist, a fashion designer, a make up artist, a hairstylist and a photographer would be a great team) and the brand positioning have to be aligned. This will allow your brand exposure that you would otherwise not have access to.
- Create a snazzy logo and tagline for your business and use them on all your documents (including email): This will make you look professional and increase your credibility when you communicate with prospective clients.
- Send out promotions with your invoices: This is great leverage because if you are invoicing, it means you are trading. These customers probably already trust your work and would most likely be willing to take advantage of promotional prices from you.
- Join a face-to-face networking group: This will allow you to learn what else is possible in your business as you meet new people with fresh ideas and it will also increase your confidence- which is crucial for any successful business person.
These are only some of the ways you can market your business on a shoestring budget. The question is therefore not whether or not you should be investing in marketing for your business, but HOW to effectively use the limited resources you have to build a sustainable brand.
AMARI Marketing and Communications PTY (LTD) offers comprehensive and integrated marketing solutions that are tailored for SMME’s. You can visit them on the below platforms and contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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