When a new company’s budget gets stretched to the point it can’t handle any more expenses, its founder often calls it quits on marketing. It’s tempting, but the very thing that company wants to sacrifice to keep its head above water is the only thing that will get it out of its financial crisis.
After all, if potential customers can’t find the company online or in real life, the company won’t get any new business. Former customers, too, will forget about the company if other providers of the same service or product are easier to locate. The best bet is to get creative and find low-cost or no-cost marketing strategies that will help the company get out of its financial rut.
Try Email Marketing
With an average return on advertising investment of $38 to $1, email marketing is a veritable bargain. Even better, several automated email platforms such as Constant Contact or MailChimp have either a free trial or free service for fewer than a given number of emails per month. A double opt-in subscription will keep the company out of hot water with the spam regulators and will give it a targeted list of people who are interested in what the company offers.
Feed your subscribers a stream of actionable information that helps them solve business or life problems, and a company will position itself as a trusted authority in its field that doesn’t mind dishing out some free advice now and then. When it’s time to buy, they’ll come to the company who cared enough to send them valuable information. To get even more bang for the buck, don’t just send them a rehash of your blog posts. Create a whole new article just for subscribers. They’ll appreciate it and tell their friends.
According to Huffington Post’s Danny Wong, a company who gives coupons away helps its customers stress less, relax more, and as a result—buy more. When a customer sees a coupon in the mail—or even a discount code in an email—s/he often feels not only surprised, but also the “use it or lose it” feeling. Coupons boost companies’ revenue, instill good vibes in their customers, and cost nothing.
Pass Out Freebies
Research shows that customers love to get free gifts from businesses. In many cases, researchers at the University of Minnesota discovered that customers actually prefer giveaway merchandise to discounts. To receive a discount, a customer must purchase something. A freebie is just that—free. Many of these gifts–pens, pencils, stickers, and pins–cost little. Companies can even give away sample products to customers for just the cost of the item itself. The goodwill freebie merchandise creates in customers, though, pays dividends for years to come.
Start a Joint Project
Other businesses in the same town could benefit if another company suggested a joint project. For example, a wedding planner could combine forces with a photographer to offer package deals. Similarly, an event platter could partner with a local chef to create memorable parties that will have customers tying up their phone lines trying to book a date. Expanding the customer base by working with another local company makes sense—especially if both companies are struggling to make a name for themselves.
With a little ingenuity and some hard work, a struggling company can continue its marketing efforts even when money is tight. Whether through e-mail marketing, coupons, freebies, or a joint project with another company in the area, a business can market itself like a boss—even when the owner is nearly broke.
Here’s another helpful resource for small businesses that also might help.