Advertising on a shoestring?
Despite the fact that we’re being told that the UK is finally coming out of recession, many small businesses are still struggling to keep their heads above the water and if you’re finding it hard to stay in the black, it can be tempted to slash your spending on advertising. However, rather than blowing your entire annual advertising budget on just one double-page advert in your local paper, it’s much better to save money and make your money work harder by using a number of smaller, cheaper advertising options.
Whilst blowing the budget on just one newspaper advert, using your local press to your advantage can prove very lucrative indeed. There are a number of ways you can do this: classified adverts are relatively cheap but to really raise your profile, writing a press release is a great, and free, way to let hundreds of potential customers know who you are and what you sell.
Business cards are an often overlooked advertising tool and by making the most of yours will help you reach new contacts and reinforce those you already have. Make sure you always carry plenty of business cards with you; enough to give two to each contact so they can keep one themselves and another to pass on.
Branded merchandising is another, relatively low-cost way to advertise your products or services. Use a marketing company around the Leeds areaif you want to be sure.... However, to be successful, it’s important that you only use items that your clients or customers will actually use and that you give away your merchandise at every possible opportunity. Steer clear of completely useless items and remember that people often appreciate a free pen or key ring but are likely to find gimmicky items annoying. The cost of buying branded merchandise can be surprisingly cheap and it’s worth bearing in mind that savings can be made by ordering in bulk.
The notice boards you see in supermarket entrances and by the checkouts aren’t just for advertising second-hand bikes or furniture; a very cheap (often free - see Small Business Computing articles) way to raise your profile, placing an advert on a supermarket board can help you reach new customers. Make sure your advert is concise, eye-catching and conveys your unique selling point.
Advertising on public transport isn’t as expensive as you might think. The majority of taxi and bus companies now carry advertising and when you consider that many thousands of people will see your advert every day, investing in this type of advertising can reap significant rewards. However, this form of advertising doesn’t work for all business and if you’re based in a rural area and are hoping to reach local customers, for example, it’s likely to better to consider other options.
Last and by no means least, don’t overlook printed flyers, designed to be posted through customers’ letterboxes. Printing flyers usually costs under £100 for around 250 if you design them yourself but obviously the costs will be higher if you have them professionally designed. Make sure you include contact deals and a clearly defined unique selling and point and you should find that your flyers bring in plenty of new enquiries.
Is your website letting your business down?
It’s all too easy to get the design of a website wrong and unfortunately all too many small businesses fail to recognise the importance of having a well-designed, user-friendly website that showcases their brand, products or services.
When your potential customers are searching online, the chances are that they’ll simply stumble across your website by accident; instead they are likely to be searching for a solution to a problem. Take a good look at your website and if the home page is all ‘me, me, me’ it needs to be changed so that it demonstrates that you care about what your customers want by offering them a solution. For example, if you run a garden landscaping business, a website which tells potential clients all about you is no good - what they really need to know is what you offer and is it right for them.
Another pitfall is boring, run-of-the-mill stock imagery. Avoid this at all costs as what really attracts customers and makes your business look authentic and authoritative is good quality, original photographs which demonstrate what you do and reflect your brand or company image.
A website that’s full of fresh, new content is vital as by leaving out-of-date news on display for all to see says nothing to your customers. By ensuring that your website is continuously updated you’ll be able to engage with your customers whilst building trust in your products or services. Effective, relatively simple ways to do this include a newsletter section or blog posts. Don’t forget the importance of offering to keep in touch and then doing so; social media such as Twitter and Facebook are great ways to do this.
Don’t try to be all things to everyone as this won’t help you win new customers or clients. Let visitors to your site know exactly what your niche is and what you’re offering: by demonstrating you are an expert in your field you’ll help build confidence in your brand or services.
One of the most important things to remember when it comes to website design is that your website shouldn’t simply be a sales brochure. Don’t forget that not all visitors to your site will want to buy your products immediately and if you want to generate viable, productive leads, your website needs to do more than simply present the basics about who you are, what you do and what you’re selling.
If you’re serious about using your website as a powerful marketing tool, using the services of a professional website design and digital marketing company will prove to be very worthwhile investment. You’ll find that that there are companies throughout the UK offering such services designed for small businesses, with a range of options available to suit most budgets and requirements. So rather than being embarrassed by your website, don’t you think it’s time you turned it around so that it boosts your business, rather than hinders it?
How could video marketing help your business?
Video marketing is rapidly becoming one of the most popular methods of marketing for small businesses and if you haven’t jumped on the video bandwagon yet, you need to make a start on making your first marketing video.
Tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of daily life and we now rely on them to provide instant information. As a result, the popularity of video marketing has rocketed thanks to its eye-catching content and upbeat music, all designed to grab our attention in our increasingly fast-paced world.
It’s well worth bearing in mind that video is shared more than any other form of online content and a recent survey has revealed that when consumers are given the opportunity to view a marketing video, they are more inclined to buy a product or use a service.
In addition, as a result of the increased use of video viewing platforms such as You Tube, creating video content is easier than ever before. Video editing, recording equipment and professional video marketing are all more affordable these days which means the cost of making videos is continuing to drop. All this adds up to making video fantastic marketing tool, ideal for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Before embarking on your first video marketing project you’ll need to take time to think about your objectives and what you want to achieve. For example, you might want to think about whether you’re hoping to raise customer awareness of your products or services, increase customer loyalty or to attract increased traffic to your website, just like the Marketing Doctor.
Marketing videos should be as short as possible with a script that’s snappy and sticks to your key message or objectives. The perfect length for a marketing video is around 60 seconds - this might sound short but this is the optimum time for keeping the attention of the viewer. You’ll also need to consider a number of practical issues such as the setting for your video, who will present it or if you think a voiceover would be more appropriate. This is where a video production company can come in and with professional video production services costing as little as £40 for a one minute video, working with a video marketing expert can be well worth the expense to ensure a professional result.
Your marketing video will be easier for potential customer or clients to share if you ensure it’s embedded onto a digital platform such as a blog site. Once embedded, your video will also bring additional benefits in terms of SEO. Last and by no means least, for additional impact, don’t forget to post links to your promotional videos on social media and then, fingers crossed, your followers will share your video and the rest is history! The perfect way to grab your customer’s attention in our increasingly busy world, video marketing is the cost-effective marketing tool with the power to boost sales and raise the profile of your products or brand.
Please use this form to contact us with any queries.