A successful marketing plan doesn't have to include an athletic superstar, prime-time placement, state-of-the-art computer graphics or a massive budget. Being resourceful and smart can be just as effective.
Business promotion doesn't have to cost a fortune. Often, it's the personal touch that seals the deal. Here are ideas gathered from marketing experts to help you make the most of a slim marketing budget:
Use Press Release Power
You might not realize it, but reporters sometimes need you as much as you need them. The key to getting their attention is coming up with a newsworthy item that is concisely written.
* Peg your release to real events, such as fundraising drives or a new service your business offers. Don't be witty to amuse yourself the idea must have a concrete purpose.
* If you can't figure out why your company might be newsworthy, ask your friends what they find interesting about your company.
* You can also utilize your built-in research tool your customers. If you have an offbeat idea, bounce it off them or have them fill out a short questionnaire. Ask them why they use your business.
Concoct an event to draw media coverage. For instance, a Japanese restaurant could create the world's largest sushi roll and advertise its record-breaking "sushi queue."
Put A Face On It
Placing your photograph on your business card creates a personal relationship, even if they don't know you. Not only will people remember your name, they'll remember your face.
Print The Praise
If someone says, "You do a great job," say, "Thanks, very much, that means an awful lot to me. I would appreciate it if you would write a testimonial letter." Then make the testimonial part of your promotional package.
Borrow A Message
When you see an article on a subject that might interest your clients, send them a photocopy with a note that says, "I thought you might be interested in this." You're making a personal connection with a client and associating yourself with the authority quoted in the article in the process.
Think Outside The Box
You don't have to outspend your competition, you just have to outthink them. Some examples: Buy a billboard ad every other month for a year. Chances are, the billboard won't be replaced on the off months, so you'll get more exposure at no extra cost.
This concept also relates to how you run your business: Always try to figure out how to give your customers something they can't find elsewhere, such as a children's play area at a restaurant.
Try The Old Faithfuls
Don't dismiss time-honored solutions that increase your company's community profile, such as sponsoring a charity event or outfitting a local little league team. You'll get your name out there, and that's what counts.