If this article caught your attention because you don't feel like you're proficient in marketing, or you don't have the budget to bring in a marketing specialist, you've come to the right place!
Nowadays it's common practice for small to mid-sized businesses to skip hiring a dedicated marketing staff member in favor of dividing marketing responsibilities between current employees. In today's business climate where we all have to wear several hats, here are our best five tips on how to run a successful marketing campaign on a bootstrapped budget.
1. Learn How To Run The Show
Chances are that if you're the one who founded your company, then you probably already know your company’s vision and voice better than any of the current employees. That's not to say you'll be the only one implementing a marketing strategy, but you should take it upon yourself to delegate tasks and positions among your staff based on each of your employee's skills.
A good way to sustain marketing progress is to have weekly, or bi-weekly meetings to run analytics and check in on how your strategies are performing with your team present.
2. Focus On Your Target Customers
The whole point of marketing in the first place is to attract the right customers to your business. Rather than expending your valuable time and resources marketing to the whole world, try narrowing your scope to customers that are most likely to be recurrent and help your business grow.
Usually your target customers come down to those you know how to reach. Common methods for showing these customers you appreciate their loyalty, while also buffering your marketing scheme, include:
- Send prior customers free samples or small incentives to regain their business
- Create a frequent buyer program to keep your brand on their mind
- Ask for client testimonials to use in your promotional material
- Collect your customers birthdays and send coupons on gift cards out every year
Spending more time on customer loyalty will teach you a lot about what types of people are using your product or service.
3. Grow Your Social Media Presence
Ideally I'm not the first person to tell you to get on social media, but if I am, please drop what you're doing and get on social media right now. Not only has social media become the number one strategy for marketing professionals, your customers are now expecting to see you online.
The best part about it is it's free! Mostly free, at least. There are definitely options within most platforms to 'Boost' your posts by paying to have them seen more, but for those on a bootstrap budget this is a perfect way to spend your time over money to grow your social presence. Prior to diving in headfirst take some time to outline your goals and make a content calendar in order to keep your posts consistent. (Don't miss our post about spying on your competitors to determine their Facebook marketing strategy!)
4. Engage in Community Outreach
Even though social media and web-based advertising has grown exponentially in popularity, the practice of engaging with your customers and community members in-person is a timeless strategy you should spend more time doing.
As a local business you have the opportunity to become a pillar in your community, and allowing your customers to meet you face-to-face is the first step. Some cost-effective ways to get your name out around town include:
- Sponsoring and attending local events
- Participate in University events like career fairs
- Send a Press Release to your local newspaper detailing changes in your company, or request editorial based on something historical or interesting about your business
- Host a competition that gets community members involved
5. Create Simple Videos To Demonstrate Your Brand
Video is the king of content marketing. Nothing can incorporate as much information into as little time as video advertising, and nothing engages audiences quite as powerfully as the combination of audio and visual elements.
In the past having video marketing was an expensive endeavor that typically required hiring an entire film crew. Nowadays, thousands of videos are being uploaded every day from business owners producing short videos entirely from their smartphones.
All it really takes to make an engaging video is bringing people behind the scenes, or showing them exactly what it is you do. People love feeling transparency between the products their buying and the people who are creating them.
Try any or all of these ideas out today, and measure the results. Let us know what worked for you in the comments below!