One of my clients recently asked:
What should I do if my marketing budget is small?
(Shout out to Dr. Alexa Alborzi of Alborzi Orthodontics for a great question by the way!)
I wanted to share my answer with all of you because I know most businesses can relate!
There are several affordable — even FREE — ways to help prospects find your business and to turn those leads into paying customers!
I’m going to tell you three quick things you can do as a small business owner to jump-start your marketing for VERY little investment. Ready?
Let me start by saying this:
The smaller your budget, the SMARTER you have to be about how you market your small business… and smart marketing isn’t always about whether or not you’re using the latest trends.
There are a few housekeeping tasks that you need to put in place if you want to make the most out of a small marketing budget.
That being said, here are the 3 small changes that you can make TODAY that will maximize a small marketing budget.
1.) Get listed in the local online search results for FREE.
A local search listing is an online profile of your business that contains your address, phone number and other details. If you go on Google and search for a service (like “carpet cleaning”), some of the results will be red bubbles on a map. Those are local search listings, and tons of search engines offer these listings for FREE. This is called ‘optimizing your local search listing’ in marketing speak FYI.
Believe me, prospects are looking for you this way! And if you aren’t there, you know who is? Your competition. Make sure they find YOUR BUSINESS.
When you’re working with a small marketing budget, you need to snag every possible lead. Creating local business listings is a quick — and FREE — way to work toward that end.
It only takes a few minutes, but the search engines don’t always make these pages easy to find. This report will take you directly to the sign-up pages and walk you through the process step by step. Easy peasy!
2.) Train your staff to convert all callers into customers.
Whether you answer the phone yourself at your business or you have a small army of receptionists, follow these steps to maximize the number of leads you turn into sales:
Create a new caller sheet and distribute it to your receptionists (or just keep a stack of them by the phone). It should gather the following information from EVERY new caller who reaches out to your business: name, gender, address, phone number, email, how they heard about your business and what products/services they’re interested in. (Or you can just download the one I linked to — it’s free and already set up.)
Then, enter all new callers into a database using the information from the new caller sheet, whether they become a customer right away or not. (This can be as simple as a shared Excel document.)
Say Joe Jackson calls your business and asks about a particular product or service. Your receptionist gives him the information, but he’s just comparing prices right now. His name and information goes into the database.
A few months later, it’s time to send out your annual “Happy Holidays” email to your customers and prospects with a 10% discount offer. Not only is Mr. Jackson reminded of your business, he now has a motivating discount in hand and more affinity for your business than ever!
Be a problem solver. If you can’t help the caller with their problem, direct them to someone who can. Establish yourself as trustworthy and an expert in your field and you will create fans and, eventually, loyal customers! If you do have a receptionist on staff, you might want to give him or her an easily accessible FAQ sheet to help answer common inquiries.
One more thing…
3.) Mail out 1,000 postcards a week consistently for 12 months.
Start with a mailing list of 4,000 records that consists of prospects matching the profile of your ideal customer and living within a reasonable distance from your business. You can split that up into four lists of 1,000 that you can mail to, hitting each recipient monthly and rotating through the list.
As your income increases — and IT WILL — you can increase the number of postcards you send out to grow your revenue even more.
(There’s a good reason we send out 180,000 postcards every single week promoting PostcardMania — it works! But we started out with 2,500 per week 18 years ago.)
At the very least, commit to a 12-month program and stick to it. Even if you have to reduce the volume of cards you send out — a consistent campaign will work better than a big (but brief) campaign. Your tracking will be much more accurate after 12 months than after a shorter period of time, because there will almost always be additional leads trickling in.
It would be a mistake to stop sending out your postcards after, say, three months, because you think they aren’t pulling in any calls or driving any traffic to your website. (I’m not saying that because I want to sell you postcards — I’m saying that because IT’S TRUE.)
Some people who get your postcard in the mail will hold onto it for at least that long before taking action. Some people will need to get your postcard three or four — or five or six — times before they call you.
A quick story about that:
Amit Khanna, DMD of Patuxent Dental started doing business with PostcardMania in 2009 — after he got our postcard in the mail 20 or 30 times! If we had given up too soon, we would have missed out on one of our BEST clients!
But I digress! Anyway…
Continue sending out 1,000 postcards a week for 12 months, and be diligent about tracking your results. (Using a call tracking number that’s unique to that campaign, along with those new caller sheets I mentioned, will help you with this.)
As you go, be sure to calculate your return on investment (ROI). I’m not just talking about that year’s income — I’m talking about the LIFETIME value of your new customers.
How long does a typical customer stay with you? How much do they usually spend per year?
For example, say over the course of that year, you gained 100 customers. Your customers typically spend $500 per year with your business, and stay with your business for 7 years:
100 x 500 x 7 = $350,000
$350,000 is your total campaign revenue. Now, subtract from that how much you spent on the campaign, and THAT’s your ROI!
Now you can determine whether or not you want to keep sending out postcards. (I’m guessing you will!)
There you have it! Housekeeping isn’t so bad when you have a plan!
Follow these three steps and your small marketing budget will give way to a bigger, better budget and WAY BIGGER RESULTS!
You can call my marketing experts at 1-800-628-1804 any time for more (FREE!) advice about marketing on a budget, or you can email me directly at Joy.Gendusa@PostcardMania.com.