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Small Business Marketing on a Budget

As a small business owner, you know all too well how important it is to stretch every dollar, but at the same time, you realize how critical it is for you to effectively market your business if you want to remain profitable. And while there are plenty of PR and marketing firms and consultants who would be more than glad to develop a marketing program for you, the cost for such programs can be prohibitive. A payday loan could enable you to hire such help. On the bright side, however, there are things that you can do that can prove quite effective, yet will cost you little more than a bit of your or a trusted employee’s time.

E-mail.
Marketing via e-mail is one of the most effective and inexpensive methods available, but you have to do it right. Here are a few tips:
Try to get an e-mail address from every customer and prospective customer.
Assure them that you won’t be sharing their information with anyone, and keep that promise.
Make sure that every message you send has an address at the bottom for unsubscribing, so they won’t feel locked in.
Send out regular e-mails to keep your customers aware of any special deals, new products, or just news about your company that they might find interesting, but don’t send so many that your recipients get turned off.
Don’t send large, graphics or multimedia-heavy messages. For example, send a link to your online weekly specials ad, rather than the ad itself.

Social Media.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be good mechanisms for helping your customers feel like they know you better, which will make them more inclined to do business with you. Keep your entries light and positive, and avoid getting too personal. And above all, avoid polarizing topics such as religion, politics, or choice of computer operating systems.

The more professionally-oriented social media sites such as LinkedIn are great for actually networking with customers and professional peers. Look for and join groups with which your business has something in common, and participate in group discussions. Just remember to be professional in all your offerings, as if the other participants are standing at the entrance to your business. Because they are. And avoid those polarizing topics here, as well.

Professional associations.
These are a great resource for keeping up to date on your industry, for learning what your competitors are doing successfully (and what they’re not having luck with), and for broadening awareness of your own business. Attend local meetings and events and when feasible, events in other locales. It’s one of the best ways to not only keep abreast of the industry, but to ensure the visibility of your business to others. You never know who might be your next customer.

Participate locally.
Whether it be at a church, a local charitable organization, or in a sports or social group, you want to be recognized, not only as a provider of goods and services, but as a good friend to have. Word of mouth is great advertising, and the more people like you, the more inclined they will be to patronize your business and encourage others to do so.

Whatever it takes for you to remain in the broader public eye, and to be perceived as a good friend and resource, will inevitably benefit your small business, perhaps even helping it to grow into a big business someday.