Many Houston small and medium-sized businesses on shoestring budgets are concerned about investing in marketing. They hesitate to invest creatively, because they think it is a risky proposition and are worried that the costs will eat up way more of their budget than they can afford to spare. When promotional dollars are scarce, planning a marketing campaign can be a daunting task. However, effective marketing can make the difference between a ho-hum sales year and a fantastic one.
It might feel like a bit of a gamble to invest a lot of money in marketing, but not only is
marketing less expensive than many business owners may imagine – it is also vitally important in helping to grow a business. Even when working with small marketing budgets, creative promotion is one of those gambles that could pay off with significant investment returns. With the internet age, it is easier to instantly get pertinent information and feedback from your marketing campaigns than in the past. This reduces marketing dollar waste by providing the ability to quickly switch gears, to maximize and replicate successes.
Rather than treating an investment in marketing and advertising as a gamble for his/her business, a savvy, forward-thinking business owner recognizes that the right approach will turn their efforts into more of a calculated risk. Here are some creative marketing ideas for Houston business owners and marketers working with tight marketing budgets:
Think Small: Start with a bare-bones budget. When dividends from your initial marketing campaigns roll in, re-invest those returns into further marketing
Constantly Analyze Results: Examining your marketing results will help you formulate an effective strategy going forward. Assessing your website traffic reports, search engine rankings, your social media following and the social communities you participate in will be useful information for future marketing efforts.
Shop for Freebies, Discounts and Coupons: Many impressive marketing tools and programs offer free trials. A good example of this type of “dangling carrot” is Google AdWords. Google often offers businesses an AdWords coupon as an incentive to commit to a paid search engine campaign.
Overall, there are many free online tools and social media resources to leverage and help you efficiently spend your marketing dollars. Here are a few examples:
Leverage local online business directories via their free business listings.
Create a free business profile on a professional business site, and build a following on free social sites, forums and bulletin boards.
Build an interactive Facebook page and update it daily.
Reward customers for product reviews, testimonials and referrals.
Advertise for free by offering guest posts on industry blogs.
Develop videos for promotion through YouTube and other video hosts.
Design and build a website and blog. Write interesting content relevant to your industry for your blog daily.
One of the first mistakes many small businesses make is to downsize their marketing budgets when money is tight. However, the right marketing approach can make or break a business. If you are experiencing financial belt-tightening, vary your approach, compare the results and adjust your marketing focus to continue successful business growth.