Owning a small business usually means you’re operating on a smaller budget when it comes to your marketing and promotion. Unfortunately, some small business owners experiencing a rough patch or low sales tend to cut marketing and promotion to save money. This is a huge mistake that will have an even more devastating effect on your business. Even when times are tough, you cannot stop promoting your business. You might just have to be smarter about how you allocate the money. Here are some tips on how to make the most of a small marketing budget:
You have to actually have a marketing budget. You can’t spend absolutely no money on promotion and expect your business to be promoted. If you don’t do promotion, someone in your market will, and they will, pull your customers away from you. No matter what the financial situation for your business is, sit down, look at the numbers and find some money to invest in promoting your business. And take it seriously, like the survival of your business relies on it, because it does.
Put more focus in email marketing and less on direct mail. While direct mail can still be an effective form of promotion, it’s not nearly as cost-effective as email marketing. Email marketing costs pennies compared to what you spend on printing and postage for a direct mail piece. And in most cases, email has a much higher ROI than direct mail. That means you can get more impressions and a higher ROI for a much smaller budget.
Focus on one or two social networks and excel at them. It can be really overwhelming to try to manage Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, SnapChat, etc. So overwhelming in fact, that if you’re actually trying to do all of them, you’re probably not doing a very good job. Figure out which one or two social networks work the best for your business, your market and your customers. And then put your social energy into getting really good at utilizing those networks. For most salons, Facebook and Instagram are where it’s at. But really take some time and figure out what works best for your business.
Spend money on social network marketing. Gone are the days where businesses could take advantage of free promotion through social networks. We’re now in a time where social networks, such as Facebook, have found the best way for them to make money – by charging businesses to advertise. But that’s not as bad as it sounds. Facebook, especially, is very affordable and very effective. It’s also extremely targetable, measurable and easy to implement. Social marketing campaigns can either be long-term and well thought out, or they can be done on the fly. And you can easily reach a few thousand people for 20 to 30 dollars. There’s really no reason to not be taking advantage of social network marketing. The bottom line is that hoping things are going to get seen organically on social networks isn’t very practical anymore.
Create valuable content and get it out there. Your salon sells a fashion service, so it’s easy and very effective to create content that shows what that service is and what the results look like. Have your employees take pictures of themselves and customers (who are okay with it), so you can post it on Facebook. Show potential customers how effective your services are – how great that lotion is or how natural that spray tan looks. Make videos that promote specific products. Almost everyone has a smart phone these days, so it’s not like you need to bring in professional services to capture this content for you. Put your employees to work and create some content yourself. Then post it on your social networks and spend a few bucks to promote it so people actually see it.
Invest money in Google AdWords. This is one of the most important things you can be putting money into these days. When someone is looking for a place to tan, it’s inevitable that they’re going to search Google. And when they search, you better make sure you’re coming up on top. AdWords are pay-per-click, which means you only actually spend money if someone sees your ad and then clicks on it. So these are solid potential customers who are actively looking for services you provide. It would be crazy not to allocate money there.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, but the most important thing to understand is that promotion on a small budget isn’t only possible, it’s essential. Eliminating all spending on marketing is a good way to make sure your business is forgotten.