KERching! – Lo-cost and No-cost Marketing

Having just delivered a marketing proposal to an infant business, it struck me that all too often, when small businesses are head scratching about Marketing, the focus is often on cost.
Starting …

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22nd March 2007 at 7:27 pm

Having just delivered a marketing proposal to an infant business, it struck me that all too often, when small businesses are head scratching about Marketing, the focus is often on cost.

Starting with a cost based mentality can mean that no-cost and lo-cost marketing activities can be overlooked.

So what can we do that costs next to nothing? This is ‘KERching!’ marketing – stuff that gets the cash till ringing without putting you out of pocket.

Here are my top three:

1) Deliver an outstanding product or service and you will be talked about for all the right reasons. This is word of mouth at its best. Your brand advocates will be infectious in a good way, spreading your message left, right and centre. Deliver a poor product or service, and unfortunately the same logic applies, but given the British penchant for complaining, your dissatisfied customers are likely to tell more people and spread negative vibes even further – a plague to be avoided at any cost!!
2) Talk to people about what you do. And brief your staff to do the same. This may sound blindingly obvious, but again our British stiff upper lip can make us reticent when it comes to talking about ourselves. Many businesses succeed on the basis of shameless self promotion – so it’s definitely worth pushing yourself well beyond your comfort zone in this area.
3) I have to admit, PR isn’t my favourite part of the marketing mix – probably for the reasons outlined in 2. But our local and regional news services are relentless machines that require constant fuel in the form of ‘newsworthy’ stories. You can use this fact to your advantage by creating well thought out and well-written ‘press release’, and investing a little time in getting the names and contact details of the relevant editors and newshounds. (Remember you don’t have to be a professional writer to author a press release – just follow the format you see in every single newspaper you pick up. Start with a catchy headline, make sure the intro tells the whole story in brief and then use your paras to break up the story into manageable chunks. And make sure you put your contact details on the bottom so people can get hold of you for more info). Invest just a little more time in ringing your new ‘news’ contacts, to pitch your story and get their verbal commitment, and before you know it, you’ll have secured yourself some coverage! Spreading the word through good PR has double benefits, it costs little or no cash AND your average customer places more trust in editorial content than can ever been gained from paid-for advertising space.

Sara Scott

Sara is a marketing specialist with a wealth of on-line and traditional experience. With award winning credentials as an advertising writer, her career also spans the disciplines of planning and strategy for both B2B and consumer clients. Having worked for one of the the UK's biggest non-London agencies, Sara now works on a consultancy basis for clients large and small. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk/blog

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