Over half of small business owners say obtaining new customers is a challenge, yet nearly two-thirds do not use outside support for marketing assistance, according to a survey of US small businesses from the Yellow Pages Association (YPA). The smallest businesses — with one to five employees — are most likely (70%) not to consult with anyone when making advertising/marketing selections. On the other hand, half (51%) of businesses with six to 10 employees and only one-third (34%) of those with over 11 employees do not consult with outside sources.
Affordable Marketing Expert Advice
I understand why businesses earning $250,000 or less may not consult with marketing experts, because most agencies won’t talk to you at that budget level. However, your friends at Fletcher Prince will! We don’t charge a retainer fee (we charge by the project) and we work with small businesses and nonprofit organizations with shoestring budgets. It would be a mistake to think you can’t afford marketing counsel if you’re a small company, because Fletcher Prince does offer expert marketing advice and creative services at an affordable price.
Reach New Customers Through Old Ones With Email Newsletters
More than half of small business owners said that obtaining new customers was their worst marketing challenge. However, it is important to know that in marketing your business, it is four times cheaper to market to existing customers than new ones! That is where relationship-building tactics like email marketing really shines. A well-written and designed, informative email newsletter gets forwarded to others. Now your customers are working for you! Everyone wants new business, but sometimes working with your existing clients is the best way to obtain that.
Affordable Advertising Options
Other challenges mentioned were limited advertising budgets (17%) and the lack of knowledge when it comes to where to advertise (10%). I understand those challenges. However, advertising may not be the most effective way to promote your business, anyway. Not when there are affordable social media options…
Display and broadcast advertising is expensive, no way about it. However, most advertising managers I have talked to lately are more than willing to consider financing, discounts, and other ways to make advertising affordable. Some intriguing and affordable ways to advertise are now being offered by Google, where you can record and place your own television and radio advertising, as well as newspaper display advertising. If it’s right for your business, it’s something to consider.
Consider Audio Podcasts and YouTube Videos
If even these options are not in your budget (they’re too expensive for Fletcher Prince, too, so don’t feel bad) then definitely consider the impact of creating a less expensive audio podcast or YouTube video, which you can broadcast for free. Production costs for expertly produced audio podcasts ($300-$1000) and online videos ($500-$1500) make them an affordable alternative for small businesses.
The Power of Direct Mail
Direct mail advertising, on the other hand, is really affordable for many small businesses and nonprofit organizations. A well-designed direct mail piece can be well worth the investment. For example, last year I managed a special event. The event was well publicized through email, websites, Facebook, and press releases. However, we were not getting registrations. As soon as we dropped our mailed invitation (which was beautifully designed by David Hyson), registrations shot up from the single digits to an almost sell-out in less than two weeks. So the power of direct mail, even in the digital age, cannot be underestimated.