Market planning or budget planning plays a major role in business marketing, further providing means for business growth and success. It outlines the costs involved, strategies to implement, smart tactics and estimated results to achieve over a specific time period. Having a good market plan helps the entire team focus and work towards specific goals, which is extremely important for the success of a business. The amount of time spent in creating a good marketing strategy is negligible, when compared to the risks and unexpected failures occurring due to lack of planning.
Designing a market plan is not restricted to big businesses with lots of money to invest. Even with a shoestring budget, companies and startups can outline a good market plan, provided they make use of certain techniques and strategies. Marketing strategies that are cost effective, yet high on returns are highly advantageous for businesses. It just needs some dedicated time, creative skills and mindful planning, keeping the success of the business as your only goal.
Planning for Business Marketing with a Shoestring Budget
So how can small businesses with very little or inadequate budget go ahead with effective marketing? Let us see some of the strategies that can be used to market your business, even when you’re on a small budget:
1. Figure Out Affordable Investment Amount/Calculate ROI – At the outset, outline how much money your company can actually invest, by making use of the ‘percentage of sales’ method. This method involves the use of past sales, sales units or predictions, based on which the calculation can be made. Keeping sales as the basis proves advantageous, in that during a slow quarter, the marketing budget will also come down automatically.
Once the initial plan is ready, ROI analysis will come into picture. Go that extra mile to calculate the ROI on your marketing strategy. When you are sure that your plan will yield a good amount of money, you can go ahead and execute the strategy without the risk of losses.
2. Use Social Media/Write blogs/Newsletters – In today’s digital world, where social media has taken the front seat, it makes good sense to employ social media for business marketing purposes. You can get a hold on the ever-expanding social media world by figuring out your target audience and their primary interests and creating an attractive content plan to reach far and wide.
Creating blogs is a low-cost method to reach out to people and talk about your business. Make sure to share some of your knowledge and include specific points about the business that excite you. This will grab the attention of readers and build their interest in your products and offerings.
Create unique content about your business and add other updates on a weekly basis in the form of a newsletter. Free newsletters dropping in regularly to your customer’s email have its own value because the content will include your valuable knowledge, product updates and helpful tips about the business. Sharing your knowledge and educating people about certain effective business tactics can help build strong connections.
3. Social and Pay Per Click Advertising – With the help of Google AdWords (or similar methods), you can go for pay per click advertising and pay a nominal amount for getting people to click on your ads. These people are your potential customers. The same applies to social media advertising, wherein you can get your ads promoted to a larger audience or to a particular demographic, by paying a certain amount of money. Since these activities are highly scalable, you can afford it even with a small budget.
4. Elevator Pitch – What’s an elevator pitch? As per research, a person’s average attention span lies between six to eight seconds and that’s the time span in which your content has the power lure the reader’s attention. This basically means that the content you create should be so engaging and alluring that it guarantees good ROI in terms of increased business opportunities.
5. Network/Connect & Communicate – Networking and connecting with people helps build trustworthy relationships that can serve as one of the greatest business assets. Form good partnerships with like-minded companies, coordinate well and design new ideas that will prove beneficial to both the companies, thus helping each other grow.
6. Sale and discount coupons – Today, it is more evident than ever that regular sales and discounts on products help attract new customers, while keeping the existing ones. So make sure to have promotions and discounts once a while in order to create some buzz and gain new sales.
7. Optimised searches – Ensure increased traffic towards your website by creating optimised searches in Google for your website listings. When you create an attractive metadata about your company in the search engine, rather than giving a dull one-liner, it enhances the chances of people clicking on your website link, thus gaining you potential customers.
8. It’s all about the attitude – Finally, if you feel you cannot afford to create awareness, plan giveaways and raise promotions, then its best to focus on how you can convince customers that you are different from the rest. Engage them; provide a detailed demonstration on how your products are better and why people should buy them. Make sure to convince people to give it a try and before you know it, these people would have become your valuable customers.
Creating a budget plan for business marketing need not necessarily be a tedious process. With a good understanding of the current market, a set of sure-shot tactics and some money to invest, you can have a budget plan that is far more effective and rewarding. By putting into practice these above listed processes, any small business with a shoestring budget can build a strong marketing strategy.
Author – Swathi Bhat