As a small business owner the best business you can get is via word of mouth. However, this takes time and a great product or service mixed with awesome customer service. Before you can enjoy the benefit of word of mouth advertising you need to build up the first 6 months of customers using marketing tactics.
In order to get there you need to dedicate your marketing budget to getting customers through the door. It is advisable in the beginning to split this money across a number of marketing tactics that you think will work and test them. Also test different ways of using each tactic i.e. different words, colors, offers etc.
As soon as you see certain tactics working really well, take budget from non-performing tactics and put it into what is working. Then you need to fine tune and get the most out of your budget.
The good thing is that you can use several simple and low-cost yet effective marketing ideas to kick start your marketing campaign.
Print leaflets and distribute them in high footfall areas like malls, commercial complexes and eateries. You can also insert them in the local newspaper and distribute. Regular distribution draws the attention of target audience and they become aware of your products and services.
Bulk SMS sending services
SMS marketing campaigns can be very effective if done correctly. You can use SMS to communicate with existing customers to up sell more product or services with messages giving promotional offers etc or to get new customers through the door with tempting offers.
Zoostr provides a free to use bulk SMS sending service and even gives you 20 free sms messages per week. Why not open a free account and start testing out some ideas.
You could organise road shows wherein you either make a mike announcement in a market place or have people marching on the roads with the banners. Whatever the kind of road show you want organise, you might require permission from the municipal body in your area.
Remember to pre-promote whatever you do so people are aware of the event. Give an incentive to come and see you like “collect a mystery gift from our car/bus/table etc. “
Local tie ups
Tie up with established merchants in the city who are somehow relevant to your industry. There are different ways in which you can be mutually useful. For example, you could offer to share the cost of printing their bill book, menu cards, tickets or carry bags in return of permission to print your name in it. Start by working out what you can do for them. If you show that you care about their success also then it will help convince them to work with you.
Advertisement slides in the beginning of the movie and during intervals help you reach out to lots of people. Since people visit these places during leisure, they take time to see your ad and get to know about your business. This can be a good local marketing tactic if your customers are local and consumer based.
Newspaper advertisements can be very expensive. Classified ads are a cost effective alternative. These, if published repeatedly, will draw the attention of your target audience. in Many local and national newspapers offer cost effective packages. Grab these opportunities whenever available.
There are a lot of websites for each and every industry. If you know your customers are reading a particular website then workout if you can advertise on their website directly through them or by Google Adwords.
Auto-rickshaw banners are very effective in India. People following the three-wheeler in high traffic areas read your ad. For this, you need to approach the auto-rickshaw association in your city and take approval from them. Do remember to keep the content short and bold as you want the people to read it while moving.
Also remember that this is best used for consumer based products and services and less for B2B unless you can guarantee that they will be spending most of their time in and around business areas.
Gift advertising is a cost effective solution. Buy articles like pens, key rings, bookmarks or bottle openers in bulk and have the name of your company printed on them. Purchasing and printing on these articles in bulk makes it very cost effective. Distribute these goodies among your customers to increase brand awareness.
Create an informative and interactive website for your business. Regularly post blogs and articles about your products and services. Share references and pictures to make people aware of the work done by your firm. Regularly update your site. Run a small contest wherein people visiting the site can participate. Advertise your website on all your other marketing channels.
Several telemarketing setups have trained and experienced callers who make calls to customers and make them aware of your products and services. They also help you in lead generation. You can hire such agencies to have your business advertised.
Before you undertake any marketing campaign, understand your business and the type of customers that you intend to cater to. In a vast country like India, with people of diverse cultural, economic and social backgrounds, marketing plans need to be more specific. You need to understand the sensibilities of your target customers and create your marketing plans accordingly.