Small Business Marketing – 20 Low Cost Marketing Ideas to Grab You More Clients

It’s time to get fruity with some great small business marketing ideas that will help you explode your clients (not literally!). As a small business, marketing can sometimes be daunting, but take these 20 ideas and implement one idea every day. Put a tick list on your desk and take massive action.1. Brand your Business Clearly. Make sure your business name or logo clearly identifies the ultimate benefit of what you are offering, in a way which will appeal to your market; keep it simple, short and memorable. A store called “Gifts for Garden-lovers” or “Green-finger Gifts” is precise and clear; one called “Smith’s Store” or “Universal Wonder” gives no clue.2. Be Seen in All the Right Places. Think about where your target customers go and try to arrange to advertise by displaying leaflets or posters there. For the youth market, use Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or other online resources. For adults and young families it might be the local supermarket, the library, the gym, or the “mother and toddler” group. For the senior market, target locations your potential customers visit such as libraries, doctors’ and dentists’ waiting rooms, church halls, community centres etc. or advertise in the local paper or free-sheet, perhaps with a promotional discount voucher.3. Give Your Knowledge Away. What you know about your business and your industry is interesting and potentially valuable to others. Without giving away any really sensitive information, offer to speak at schools and colleges, women’s groups or business clubs on a topic related to your business; write for the local paper or speak on the local radio and you will gain valuable exposure. Make your website as informative as possible. Tell potential customers exactly how you will help their business, or benefit them personally. If you can, reveal a few “tricks of the trade” to help them make best use of what you sell. Very few people will actually steal your knowledge to set up for themselves, but many of your customers will feel gratified that you are willing to be open and honest with them.4. Word of Mouth. This can be a very valuable marketing tool – and is absolutely free! Make sure all your customers leave you 100% happy and satisfied with the service you have provided to them, and they will become ambassadors for your business.5. Investigate the Competition. Use a friend or a paid “Mystery Shopper” to call on other businesses in your area to see how they operate. Get hold of their advertising literature and compare their offering with yours. Check out their websites. What can you do to make your business stand out?6. Offer Discounts. Produce Discount Vouchers to be used at your store or business (perhaps on certain slower moving products, or on certain days when your trade is usually slack). Add an expiry date to generate a sense of urgency. You could include a discount voucher in your advertising, hand them to each customer, or mail them to previous clients.7. Give-Aways. Hand out free samples in your local high street; give customers a small free product with each purchase over a certain value; or have “3 for 2” offers or “Buy -1-Get-1-Free” promotions.8. Linked Purchases. Offer a deal where customers who buy product A get product B at a reduced price. This can encourage customers to buy two products, when they would otherwise only have bought one.9. Loyalty or Reward Schemes. Issue a card to be stamped each time the customer buys, with a full card entitling the customer to a free product, or a discount on their next purchase (but make sure the cards and stamps are kept under control, or you could end up with an unexpected rush of claims!)10. Competitions. Run a competition and choose an exciting prize from your range of products or services, which will not cost you a great deal but which will be very appealing to your potential customers. Advertise the competition widely in the locality, send a press release about it to the local press and radio and, if appropriate, make sure people have to call at your business in order to enter – which gives you a chance to promote your business to them in person. Invite the local press to be present when the prize is awarded, to get some more free publicity.11. Open House. Host an open evening at your premises. Invite both potential and regular customers for drinks and nibbles and a chance to see/test your latest products, with a discount for purchases or orders placed on the night.12. Join an Online Booking Service. If you run a hospitality business (hotel, bar, pub, cafĂ© or coffee shop) consider joining one of the online booking services, such as Top Table, or Gourmet Society. This will bring you to the attention of travellers from other areas who might not otherwise find you, and you can also offer special deals through some sites. This can be a two-edged sword, of course, as the site will probably also carry reviews by your customers – but if you offer high-quality service and excellent food and drink, good reviews will boost your reputation.13. Carry Out a Survey. Have a supply of small cards by the till as each customer completes their transaction with you, asking the customer to complete a short survey on their experience with your business, and to fill in their details (especially email address). Offer a small monthly prize as an incentive. This will not only give you valuable feedback on your success (or otherwise), but you will build up a database of email addresses, which you can use for promotional emails, newsletters etc. For ideas on how to use these, click on.14. Collect Business Cards. Copy those city centre restaurants and have a large glass bowl by the cash desk, to collect business cards (or hand-written contact details slips) from customers, with a monthly draw for, say, a free bottle of wine or champagne – this is another way of building a database for future marketing activities.15. New Image Party. When you re-decorate your premises, hold a “New Image” party, inviting local press, radio, community dignitaries, neighbours, the general public and previous customers from your database, to show off your new premises, and launch new products or services.16. Professional Brochure or Leaflet. With desktop publishing software available on every PC and laptop, there is no excuse for unprofessional looking publicity material. Have a nit-picking friend read through any leaflet/flyer/poster you propose to use, to check for grammatical, punctuation and spelling mistakes.17. Error-free Website. The same applies to your website – your professionalism is in doubt right away if your website is riddled with typing errors, misplaced apostrophes, poor punctuation and grammatical mistakes. Don’t assume your website designer will correct your text – he or she is an expert in computers not grammar. If you can’t afford a proofreader, ask a fussy friend or relation to check it for you.18. Superior Telephone Service. Is your telephone system as good as it could be? During working hours, make sure every call is answered within 3 rings and that the greeting you give is friendly and personal. Ensure that the person who answers your calls is trained to deal with the majority of customers’ questions themselves. After hours or at busy times, make sure your answerphone message is professional, helpful, and proactive. Not just “please leave a message” but “we are so sorry that no-one is able to help you right away, but we promise to call you back by 9:30am tomorrow if you would be kind enough to leave your number” or something similar. And make certain you always deliver on that promise.19. Community Visibility. Join fellow Business people at the local Chamber of Commerce, Business Clubs, Rotary Club, Round Table etc. Get involved in local charity events, so you gain a positive reputation for contributing to the community.20. Get Involved in Local Events and Activities. If there is a community event in your town, make sure you are there to publicise your business – maybe you can have small samples to give away, or hand out a voucher for a discount at your business. If there is a local charity event, take part yourself (or sponsor someone else to do so) carrying/wearing your business name.I really hope you enjoyed those 20 tips. Just one that works should help you to explode your profits!

Small Business Marketing Plan Revisited

Creating a small business marketing plan as a subcategory of your overall business plan is vital for evoking and accelerating business growth. When you have a plan, you are able to focus on the right things at the right time and measure your progress toward a goal.Many business owners are resisting planning. When you’re running a business, you can easily be consumed by your day to day responsibilities. But failing to plan can be a great mistake.Now, what is the essential function of marketing? To generate qualified sales leads. There are any number of methods that can be used to do that but how do you know which methods to use if you don’t have a plan?And how do you know what your lucrative marketing activities are? How do you invest in those activities if you don’t know how big your budget is, or know what results you are trying to produce?A marketing plan doesn’t need to be a huge document. First, start with your business goals for the next six months. You should already have these, for example your target revenue, if nothing else.Now, what marketing goals align with those business goals? Ok, you want to make 100k. How many leads do you need to generate in order to allow your selling activities to close the deals necessary to reach this revenue target?Next, what marketing strategies are necessary to meet your business goal? Will you need to get more publicity? Expand into a new market? Reach more people in your current market? Create a direct mail campaign? Create sales partnerships?You must pick one or two that deliver on what you are aiming for and hit your target revenue. Now, determine what specific activities will achieve your strategies.At this point it gets a little bit tricky. You must choose from a vast pool of marketing options/activities and you must choose the activities that will work best for the potential customer you want to reach. You might need to participate in trade show events where you get face to face with your market.You might need to launch a new website, you might need to implement a referral program for current customers. The list goes on and on.Whatever your activities are, put them together into your plan and create target metrics (e.g. number of leads collected, number of prospects you talked to, etc).Finally, you end up with your marketing plan.The next step, your sales plan, tells you how the leads generated by marketing will be converted to customers, and how back end sales will be made to those customers. Sales metrics include conversion rates, overall revenues, or revenue per customer/per square foot/per time spent in the store, etc.The great thing is that now you have something to measure against and you can review things periodically to see if you are on track or if something needs to be adjusted.This process or call it small business marketing plan, doesn’t need to take a lot of time but the benefits to your business can be huge. Having a plan will give you a lot more insights into your well oiled business machine or parts of your business that need some tweaking.

Avoid Turning Travel Into Burden

People travel for different reasons. Most people travel for reasons of relaxation and recreation. The idea of travel appeals greatly to those who want to take the time off from their daily routines and off from dreadful workloads and stressful deadlines. Thus, people in the travel industry have designed their services to provide the best possible convenience and comfort for clients. In fact, countless travel agencies around the world designed travel deals and vacation packages in the most customer-friendly features as possible.Yet, despite myriad of choices and long preparations; some dream travel vacations turn into nightmares. In some cases, well-drafted travel itineraries unexpectedly come across problems in airports, hotels and resorts. Unfortunately for some, a minor delay in one of the travel stops lead to a series of related and similarly exasperating troubles. In minutes, all that was carefully arranged for weeks or months turn into a chaotic chain of events. When the situation becomes this worst, most travelers prefer to cut-off the escapade and return home with great disappointment and enormous regrets.While there are uncontrollable circumstances, a traveler can take some precautionary measures to make sure that the trip would go smoothly. By observing these measures, the traveler can reduce the possibility of the trip going wrong. These practices can also help when things start to go out of hand while on travel.First and foremost, people should check on the reliability of their travel service provider. Some discount travel offered by irresponsible travel agencies also discounts the fun in the travel. Such companies’ partnership with airlines and hotels could not be trusted. Entrusting your travel concerns to these companies may only lead to delayed flights, reservation problems, booking issues and others. Choose a travel agency that has a respected name in the travel industry. Companies like Expedia Travel have reliable backgrounds and dependable experience in the industry for many years. Their partnerships to other travel service providers are proven strong and efficient. And their deals on travel ensure greater travel fun and experience.Even after all the arrangements are made, travel planners should not be excessively laid back of the travel details. With the help of a trusted travel agency, travelers must continually check on the status of their travel reservations. One can never know the tendency of reservations to changes especially those that can easily be affected natural forces. For example, schedule of flights can change if there are problems in the weather.Travelers must also make sure that they are knowledgeable enough on the basic details of their destinations. It is best for people to know the culture of the place to avoid offense on local practices. A tourist must also be aware of the different activities that can be done in the place. This could be helpful, especially when there are cancellations of activities in the middle of the trip.Finally, one must see to it that they have everything taken cared of before traveling. Chores and tasks that were left done could cause major disruptions on the travel. Having something to worry about the travel reduces the fun factor of the trip. Make sure important matters like financial related chores, home and properties security, work requirements, necessary notifications and others are already settled before setting out.When problems occur during your travel and you feel the need to be assisted by the right company, turn on to Expedia. The company has coupons that you can purchase online. Expedia also has the reliable connections to air carriers and hotel across the globe.Make your travel experience a pleasantly memorable one. Don’t let problems ruin your dream travel.