How to market your business with a limited budget

marketing on a limited budget

Whether you’re just starting your small business or are trying to keep money coming in the door during these difficult times, you’d probably love to not have to shell out the big bucks for marketing.

Luckily, GoForth’s CEO and Founder Leslie McGeough has some tips to help! As one of our GoForth Experts, she was asked how to generate awareness of a new business on a limited budget. A few of her top tips were:

  • Get creative with social media. For example, post a behind-the-scenes Instagram video, or do a Facebook Live Q&A.
  • Partner with related, complimentary businesses to offer bundled services.
  • Investigate influencer marketing.

Click here for more of Leslie’s list of affordable marketing ideas!

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New survey reveals the most annoying phrases used in business emails

business email tips

Recently, Perkbox Insights conducted a survey to find out what phrases people liked to see in email communication, and which ones rankled. Why does this matter? Well, 73% of respondents said that email was their business communication method of choice!

According to the survey, “Hi” and “Kind regards” are the best ways to start and end an email, while “Hey” and “Best” were among the worst. And weighing in on the ever-present exclamation mark conundrum, 48% think one is okay, while 16% think they should never be used in a work-related email.

Find out some of our own tips about writing great business-related emails, and read the full findings of the email survey here! What do you think of the results?

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What makes a good marketing strategy?

What's the best small business marketing strategy?

The 4Ps of marketing – Product, Price, Promotion, and Place – were classified by E. Jerome McCarthy, a marketing professor from Michigan State University, in 1960. But are the 4Ps still relevant and useful for small business owners?

What should your marketing focus on?

Product

Today, customers are rarely looking for just a product – they’re looking beyond the product itself, and to solutions. It’s no longer “If you build it, they will come.” Solutions deliver, products and services don’t.

Small businesses should focus on creating solutions or products and services that bring value to their customers and not only on features or functionalities. This value – the value proposition – forces companies to move beyond the basics and express the solution that customers really want.

Price

Price is still a major factor in a purchase, although it’s not the only one that makes a successful sale. As information becomes more and more accessible and transparent, there’s greater demand for value for money. Customers are often willing to pay a premium price for better service or faster delivery, because they consider it a value-added benefit that justifies the higher cost. Be careful of overpricing relative to the benefits of your product or service.

Promotion

Promoting a product has moved on from blasting potential customers with ads and bulletins. These days, it’s all about engaging and resonating with people. Promotion also expands well beyond the traditional marketing channels. Google introduced the term Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT) that shows consumers research and engage with your company before they make a decision to purchase. This means you should be there at the micro-moments when the consumers need them the most.

However today’s customers are more media-savvy and ad-weary than ever before. This means that small companies must not only focus on the primary promotional methods, but also add digital marketing techniques and build relationships with customers and potential customers. You can do this by creating engaging content or campaigns on social media platforms, or even build an online community through forums.

Place

This category used to look at the locations and channels that were most appropriate for a potential customer to make a purchase. But now, every business competes in two worlds: a physical world (marketplace) and a digital world of information (e-commerce). We’re all connected and online, no matter where we are. Customers want ease of purchasing regardless of whether they are in a physical store or shopping online. Also, the introduction of e-commerce opens up sales opportunities worldwide, providing companies with more places to sell their products. The marketing landscape has changed dramatically thanks to e-commerce. Today’s small businesses must keep the digital space in mind when considering their marketing strategy.

Check out our GoForth Expert Rob Campbell’s advice on how to create a strong marketing plan.

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The 7 rules of creating market segments

market-segmentation

In order to make better use of your marketing dollars, we recommend that you narrow down your market into specific customer groups (anywhere from one to four groups) that will be most profitable and accessible to target.

Our rules for creating customer segments? Glad you asked. Essentially, your segments should be basically different from one another, but members of each segment should be basically the same.

Understanding your target market

When visualizing your target market, consider the following main elements:

Demographics – Age, income, gender, education, family status, income level, occupation, social class, ethnicity.
Psychographics – Lifestyle, personalities, attitudes, opinions, values.
Geographics – Cultural, climate, regional and national differences, population density, population growth rate.
Behaviours – Buying patterns, usage rate, price sensitivity, brand loyalty, benefits wanted.

The 7 rules of customer segmentation

Rule #1 Each segment should be measurable; you should know how many potential customers you have.
Rule #2 Each segment should be large enough to be profitable.
Rule #3 Each segment should be basically different from other segments; they should be unique.
Rule #4 Members of a segment should have common, unsatisfied needs.
Rule #5 Each segment should have strong growth potential.
Rule #6 Each segment should be suited to your company’s goals and capabilities.
Rule #7 Each segment should be accessible through communication and distribution channels; you have to be able to reach them with your message.

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5 ways to use video in your small business marketing

5 ways to use video in your small business marketing

Videos can be a valuable and effective tool in your small business’ marketing arsenal. Slick, high-quality videos are great, but using video in your small business marketing doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are five ways you can use videos in your small business marketing:

Video testimonials

Testimonials are a great way to show your potential customers why others love doing business with you. However, video testimonials extend that person-to-person connection even further. Next time you’re asking happy clients for testimonials, consider asking them to film a quick video testimonial as well. If your product or service has received good reviews on sites like YouTube or Instagram, consider reaching out and asking if you can use the video on your site. Tip: While keeping brevity in mind, let your customer talk about their unique experience with your business. You never know what other customers will find useful!

Explainer videos

Explainer videos are short, 1-3 minute videos guiding customers and users through the salient features of your product or service. It’s similar to an elevator pitch, and can be a great way to quickly introduce your customers to what you’re offering. A recent survey of American consumers showed that 73% of them are more likely to buy after watching an explainer videoTip: Write a script and read it aloud to someone – if they don’t get it right away, try again!

Event videos

Events are a great way to engage with your audience and show off your expertise at the same time. Will your handmade candle business have a booth at your city’s big craft expo? You can film short snippets of how you prepare for the craft expo and what the event space looks like on the big day. Does your accounting firm sponsor an industry event every year? You can record your introductory speech, or the discussion panel you hosted. Tip: Don’t feel the need to lug a heavy, expensive camera around. As long as the lighting is good and the sound is clear, today’s smartphones will do just fine!

Product demonstrations

A strong small business website will show your product to its best advantage. However, seeing it in action can entice customers even further. Consider creating videos that show off the exciting and useful features of your product so customers can get even closer to the full experience. Tip: Be clear and communicate lingo-free where possible.

Sharing your story

Your compelling story is a vital component of your business concept. It’s a great way to show why your business exists, and what drives you to put in the work every day. Why not share your story in a video? When your customers can actually see and hear how passionate you and your team are about your business’ story, vision, and mission, they get a valuable connection that goes beyond text on a screen. Tip: Be genuine and unscripted. You can keep some talking points in mind, but your authenticity is what your customers will really connect with.

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