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You can also subscribe to the Tea Break Marketing Podcast on Stitcher“How to use Low Cost to get High Value ROI?”

In a time of austerity as we are told we need to make cuts in our expenditure. In business that usually starts with the marketing budget. Why? Marketing is seen as a non revenue generating expense and ripe for trimming. Those of us in marketing know this to be poppycock, but none the less it is a perception strengthened by an ill informed management who just see a balance sheet entry and not the value marketers bring to a business.

But I digress. Every day we are marketed to from everybody and their granny telling you how they can get your name, service or product across the desk or screens of your potential customers. And yes whilst they may be able to get your name across (at a cost), only you really know your customer. That is why self marketing is so important to businesses. But your thinking, is that not one your services? Yep, you’re right it is or should I say was!

It is important to tweak your product offering, regularly reviewing & refining your business model to bring the highest return with the least amount of effort. Simple huh?

When preparing for this show on the theme of self marketing, I was thinking about giving 10 ways to win customers without spending any cash, and thought giving more actually achieves less. I then considered the other side of the coin and thought about giving 5 ways to win customers without spending any cash? You deserve more so opted for 7 ways to win customers without spending cash.

It does not matter if you a re multinational or small operation you must get a return on an investment, and folks when winning customers their is always a cost. Whether it is real pounds & pence or time it is a cost none the less. As Tea Break Marketing Podcast is for small businesses, we can forgo the multinational as it is unlikely they will be listening to us anyway ?.

So to get started, and by the way this is in no way the ordered manner, pick an choose what works for you.

– Start a Blog or Vlog –
I’m not going to tell you how to set up a blog as there are many other sites more skilled at doing so such as WordPress & Blogger, heck even Facebook. If you to start a blog/vlog have the patience to stick with it, there is nothing worse than starting something and getting clients on board then drifting away with reduced posts. It might be that you feel you are not a great writer or don’t know what to write about. It’s your industry there will be problems out their that you know how to solve or even start a discussion on. Remember if it is posted its likely to be their for years so what may not appear to be relevant now, could be in the future and you will be seen as a knowledge leader. A word of warning though, always keep your content relevant, by not doing so you will lose readers or viewers so quick that it will make your head spin. You will be surprised how many bloggers/vloggers fail at this.

– Use LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a vastly under utilised tool for business promotion. Set up a discussion group, and like blogging write about industry relevant matters. Pose the right questions, and people will engage.

– Quote Promptly
Believe it or not this is my best tool for business promotion, I have won so much business by quoting promptly and following up shortly thereafter, customers are so impressed they come back time and time again. I’m not the cheapest by some margin, but by responding to the customer immediately and following up promptly I am able to capitalise on their pain and build their trust time and time again so much so that I’m the go to guy.

– Try something that your competitors are not doing.
Its easy for me to say but to support point 3, customers always want everything yesterday. So what is stopping you giving it to them? Look at your production process, and that can be a service or a product, is there a way to shorten delivery times. Listen to your customers in what they are saying about your competitors and create an improvement process to exploit that weakness. However be under no illusion that they are likely to be saying the same about you to them so what comes around goes around, so keep listening and adapting.

– Get your answerphone into marketing.
In the UK last week (17th March 2016) we saw a company using outbound marketing system that made 2.6M calls over a few months to unsolicited numbers advertising their business, were fined £180,000. Don’t get caught up in this type of marketing especially if you are a B2C organisation, it just turns people off and you can end up with a fine that may put you out of business. What I mean is if you receive calls after hours, consider answering them, because if someone is calling, they are in need of your services. If you don’t or can’t answer don’t just have the announcement “sorry we’re not here leave a message” be a bit more creative, how about, “we’re so exhausted from giving great customer service we need a little sleep. Leave your name and number and we’ll call you back first thing in the morning.” With this message you go to act, os every morning check for messages and act immediately.

– A picture is worth…..
Photographs & Video can make your company and your products a lot easier to understand and you don’t have to be a David Bailey either (sorry showing my age here).
Take pictures or videos (all smartphones have cameras) of your products, services or projects. Post them on your website or link to them on Youtube. Facebook is also another great way of promoting your business. When you have a video, when it pops up as part of a search criteria, human nature is that people will click on that first even if it is way down on the 1st page, because people prefer to watch than read. Don’t just do it once, keep doing it. The more content the better search results you will get.

– Get media coverage
If you are a local business, get involved in some local events, mingle, network get your name out. Don’t be pushy, remember it is about the event not about you. Use words like “giving back to the community”, “I sponsor this event every year”. Target community radio stations, because they are always looking for content. Why not spring for show sponsorship, costs a couple of hundred pounds, but shows your supporting a good cause and getting your name out there as a trusted company, win/win.

This list is by no means exhaustive. So go out there and do some fantastic marketing, you can do it & reap the rewards.

Contributing Sources: Paul Munro, Sarah-Jane White & SageOne
Mentions in this Podcast:
Wild Haggis – Helping You Get Stuff Done
Sarah-Jane White
SageOne
Company Fined for Nuisance Calls
Small Businesses Supporting Local Communities
Photographer – David Bailey

Thanks for Listening

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