Five ways to stretch your marketing budget

By Kathleen Aoki

If you're like most small businesses, you probably have a modest marketing budget, so getting the most of your advertising dollar is important. Fortunately, with the advent of social media and other digital marketing strategies, low cost and even free promotion is right at your fingertips. Here are five marketing tips that are both easy and cost effective.

1. Don't overspend

This first piece of advice might seem obvious, but many businesses feel they have to go for expensive promotional materials in order to stand out. However, it's more important that your promotional materials represent the actual nature of your business and are suited to your particular target market.

2. Use a free PR service

In the past, if you wanted to get editorial coverage in the media for your business, you would have to contact a reporter or hire an expensive PR agent. Nowadays, thanks to sites such as Help a Reporter Out or SourceBottle, businesses can easily find free media opportunities themselves.

3. Use free directory and review sites

According to research by Yahoo!, over 92 per cent of businesses and consumers use online local search directories when researching products or services, yet these services are highly underutilised by small businesses. Given that these listings are often free or low cost, they should be part of every small business's marketing plan.

4. Take advantage of social media

Many creative opportunities exist for getting the word out about your brand or business on social media. From free giveaways and contests to rewarding customers for retweeting information, social media is a great way to get wide exposure for your business at a relatively low cost.

5. Use EDMs

EDMs (electronic direct mailers) are still one of the most effective and targeted marketing methods around. For example, by sending out regular and informative newsletters and promotions to your clients, you maintain a relationship with existing customers while nurturing relationships with new ones that can prove to be profitable over time.

Marketing budgets are often tight, but think creatively and you'll find there are plenty of ways to make it go that extra mile.


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