There are almost as many opinions and views on marketing as there are companies to market. The big names and multinationals will have an extraordinary amount of funding set aside in which to convey their marketing message to the masses.
The process will involve an inordinate amount of people, multiple marketing agencies, countless ‘creativity’ meetings and thousands of work-hours. From television adverts to full pages in the newspapers and glossy magazines, brand names and logos jump out at us and are instantly recognisable – such is the power of advertising on an extremely large budget.
Easily missed then in this marketing free-for-all are the smaller or new businesses, after the usually costly process of setting up a business with its requisite equipment, possibly an office or other type of premises, there is usually little or no funds available for marketing or advertising.
From the first trading day of a new business enterprise, the going is tough. It is small wonder therefore that most new businesses do little or nothing about marketing because of what they see as prohibitive costs.
There are instances of course where new businesses have originated from someone’s hobby or part-time occupation; in these cases, the market is usually already there and forming a company was the next logical step, immediate marketing was obviously not required to generate the first customer.
There are many advertising agencies that say there is no need for small businesses to spend a fortune on marketing. This is totally true, but what money a small business does have to advertise should be spent wisely and not just thrown at an agency that might end up failing to deliver. There are far cheaper and more effective ways to get a business on the map.
A website is essential to any business these days and will certainly be an asset. However, your site will be one amongst many millions of others and will not be of immediate use due to the nature of search engines and the way the Internet works in general; therefore you will need to look to other methods.
One of the most important things to bear in mind is not to run before you can walk.
Start small, start local. Unless you already have contracts from further afield, there is no point in casting nationwide for business when a vast amount is already likely to be on your doorstep.
Depending on what type of business you run, leaflets and flyers to other businesses or homes are a good way to get yourself known.
Always carry a business card with you they are invaluable, you never know when you are going to meet someone who wants printed contact details – hey presto! – Instant advertising.
If you have access to a computer, join an online business forum. These are an excellent source of information help and advice from people in the same situation as you. Even those in the same line of business as yourself will usually be happy to offer their help – don’t be afraid to take it, you can always return the favour.
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce for practical sound advice on any aspect of business. They are there to help and are extremely knowledgeable and friendly people.
Business breakfast clubs are normally held once a week in most towns and cities and are another rich source of information and a great place to make contacts, again, don’t forget to take your business cards with you.
The methods I have mentioned are by no means the only ways to market on a budget and have no doubt been written about before, and although they take lots of effort and are very time-consuming, they do produce results.
New and small business owners can often be the most innovative and creative marketers there are. They don’t have the huge budgets of the corporate giants; they don’t have large teams of creative designers, advertising executives, brainstorming committees, PR agencies or even a tea person! However, enterprising cash-strapped individuals are constantly striving to invent novel and cheaper methods of marketing their businesses, often with varying degrees of success. What must be reiterated though is that marketing and advertising need not cost a fortune, but can still be very effective depending on how you approach it.