Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Cost of Marketing

Marketing Your Business doesn't have to cost a lot. There are ways you can present your service, your product and your existence to the outside world which don't cost a fortune.
Social Media
Most obviously there are a number of social media channels open to you free of charge. The only cost will be your time and effort. But that starts with understanding how to deliver a strategy for your business and the differences in their weighting.
It also involves understanding where your audiences are. For example two businesses  I am helping should appeal for different reasons primarily to young ladies between say 17 and 35. Five minutes observation in any high street coffee shop will tell you that they are very likely to be on smart phones and or tablet computers for what seems like most of the day. Conclude therefore that we need to have a presence there with a mobile friendly web site, good search engine architecture and a good active presence on the likes of Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and probably Instagram.  
None of that will be direct marketing but will all build the notion that we are attractive, knowledgeable and fresh with ideas.
Networking in person
Similar principles apply to networking in person. Building a 'profile' in the business community is always valuable and in some cases those people are our potential customers anyway. Again though there are things to know before diving in. Somewhere around 100 networking outlets are available in SE Wales. You can't do them all and some are more suitable for you and your business aspirations than others.
There is a cost to some. Others are less and some are free. Always there is travel to take into account, and your time again.
Articles , press,  blogs and publication
Are you expert in your trade, your field, your area of business? Can you talk about it? In some cases you may be able to deliver talks.  It doesn't follow for some reason that if you can talk about your subject you can write about it, but if you can set out your thoughts and theories on blogs online using one of the platforms that are easy to operate. If you can submit articles to publications, on line or on paper then do so.
Use the discussion forums to hold forth in an entertaining way either in answer or to start a new thread.  'PR' may cost but it needn't be expensive. So called editorial is more effective than plain advertisements. As with anything there are things it is better to know and understand which will improve the quality of your material and therfore its effectiveness.
Talk to your audience
Always bear in mind the attitudes of your audience or no one will read your efforts. There is no harm in telling of your achievements if you do so with a certain humility and are generous to others as well. No one likes boasting but you can be pleased that something in particular has turned out well and others will join in your pleasure. It also waves a flag for your success.
If you already have customers then talk to them without being pushy. Send them newsletters perhaps or some form of news delivery that shows appreciation of them. In the bad old days that meant a bottle of wine at Christmas plus a diary they mostly did not want.  Things have evolved since then. Imagination is rewarded nowadays.
If you are adventurous shout about that. Charitable activity is always applauded and the publicity is there for the taking.
Never be pushy, trying 'too hard' It is not appreciated and can be derided, which is not what you want.  Your Market is what is out there, your marketing is what you do about it. BobShepherd Associates will help you build your business by looking at what you are doing within your resources of finance, time, skills to get the best out of the potential you have. 

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