By Dave Ramsey
For most entrepreneurs, owning a small business means you also own a small marketing budget. But having a limited amount of cash to get the word out doesn’t have to be the kiss of death for an organization. When it comes to marketing in today’s world, the old adage “Work smarter, not harder” truly applies — and a little creativity will go a long way, too.
Everyone knows social media is one of the hottest ways to get your business noticed today. When used correctly, outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram can be effective in building or boosting the name of your business. Still, there are also some good, old-fashioned business practices that produce results and build good will in ways social media can’t.
Nothing beats great service when it comes to turning potential customers into clients. To make this happen, however, it means you must consistently exceed expectations and deliver more than expected. Making sure you have the best product and service at a great price is just the beginning. You want to show your customers you care about them — and about what you do — every single time you interact with them. Believe me, they’ll be blown away.
If your customers understand they can count on you to meet their needs with excellence, it won’t matter how small your business is or how much competition you have. They will become lifelong clients, and they’ll tell their friends!
The goal of any marketing activity is to increase your potential customer base. After all, the more potential customers you have, the better your chances of seeing a growth explosion in your business. Making this happen doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg in terms of cash or time.
So get out there and do something to get your business noticed! Network with potential clients over lunch and make phone calls. Try printing a couple thousand flyers, or write press releases for the local newspaper about new features, products and services you have to offer. As long as it reaches potential clients, it’s worth doing.
Let others do the talking
Some business owners are hesitant to ask friends and family to pay for their product or service. Get over it! There’s nothing wrong with charging the people you know and love, as long as you serve them well. If you’re a little shy still, try this idea — create your own referral program. If you’re a photographer, you might offer a free photo package to a few friends if they, in return, agree to help you land three new clients.
Referral programs are all about getting people to talk about your great product and service, all while encouraging others to give you a try. They’re often a win-win situation for everyone involved!
A word of warning: You may just find that one or more of these ideas will create new problems for you — like needing additional team members or business space. But as an entrepreneur, wouldn’t those be great problems to have?