Free Marketing Ideas
Marketing ideas can help promote your small business effectively to your customers. Here are some free business marketing ideas you can use for your business at no cost to your organisation except for your own time.
The items below are ideas to promote your products to new and existing customers. The marketing cycle begins by understanding your customer needs and wants and how to develop a product or service to satisfy those needs. But anyhow, here are some promotional ideas you can use to get more profitable customers.
Sell Redeemable Tokens and Vouchers
Selling redeemable tokens is a great idea because it's not always the end user who will purchase the product. Tokens are given to others as presents and redeemed against your products at a later date.
There are many benefits to the token model. The biggest is that many people will not actually use theirs so you effectively get free cash for your organisation without having sold anything. Always ensure tokens or vouchers have an expiry date.
You'll also get to use the cash used to purchase the vouchers to help manage working capital requirements. Additionally, some customers will use their vouchers as part-payment towards a more expensive item so you'll earn extra profits as well.
Up-sell and Cross-sell Your Products
How often do you sell one product to one customer and then never see that customer again? A lot of businesses operate in this manner where they spend time and money attracting the prospect and enticing them to purchase and then go to the next customer for their sale.
If a customer is purchasing from you, try asking them if there is something else they may like; as McDonald's says "would you like fries with that?" - that is their minimum upsell.
If you want to see how to upsell, then go to McDonald's and ask for a burger and see what sales patter they go through. You can implement this process on your own sales machine. At the purchasing stage while your customer has their credit card out attempt to sell them something else.
Always follow up with customers after the completion of a sale. Use email or traditional direct marketing methods to communicate new offers or company news. After all, they've purchased from you already so have a trust from your brand or website. The hardest hurdle is to make the first sale, so after that success, more should follow.
Hold a competition
Everyone likes the chance to win something so hold a competition for your customers. For example, offer free Amazon vouchers draw for ten lucky customers this month - or win the price of your purchase. This promotion should entice more people to buy. The cost of the competition for your business is minimal if you get many more customers through your door buying.
Member gets Member
Member get member sales promotions are one of the oldest and perhaps more successful marketing promotions you can undertake. Certainly Sky TV and American Express have been using this tactic for years.
It works like this:
If one of your customers introduces one of their colleagues to your business and they buy something from you, then both the referring customer and new customer get some form of a bonus.
Most bonuses are in the form of discount vouchers either with your business or another high street business. You can buy high street vouchers at a discount as many are not used (see the first item above).
Tactical Marketing Ideas
The above ideas are for developing long-term strategies within your business. If you need a short-term boost to sales, then try some of the following tactics.
A simple "A" board
If you have a retail presence, then your only job is to get people inside your shop. Once inside it's the job of your store to entice people to purchase. As people are walking down the street you'll need to shout out loud with an offer to get people to look at your "A" board and look into your store. A simple message of a free gift or special offer for today only should do the trick.
Working with other stores
Your potential customers will be visiting other stores in your local area. So why not ask other stores to have a stack of business cards or a small A5 flyer at their checkouts. You've probably seen these in other stores and most likely picked one up.
Again, put a direct marketing message on these pieces and ask the other store owners to place your message. Offer to reciprocate the offer so you too stock the other store owners cards in your store. As most people won't take up your offer you will win.
Online forum advertising
There are many online communities discussing your product or service right now. Do you know about these potential customers? Search online for your product or service for the forums and join them. Don't overtly advertise your product but join the discussion and have a message in your forum signature. Once people see you as an expert they will start to contact you.
This tactic is an ongoing part of your overall marketing. It may not work immediately as you'll need to build your profile so stick with it. See what others are doing as you can generate a lot of extra business this way.
If you have a local business then printing a simple flyer on your printer and physically posting them through letterboxes of your target market is a cost effective way to generate good local business. Your message should follow standard direct marketing principles in that it should be solving a problem that your target customer has and how you are the answer to their prayers.
Try a few streets first then follow up to get peoples' reaction. This way you can see if a) it's a service they want b) why they may have not contacted you so you can change your message if required. Then try more streets and re-test. This way you will get your message correctly targeted and can develop this marketing angle over time.
Marketing is about providing the right service to people that want it for a profit with correct communication. We hope the ideas above can help and/ or stimulate your own ideas to get more prospects and customers into your business.
Comments on These Tactics
If you are competing against the big bad box store down the street, you will need more than that. We have been supporting retailers with POS technology for over 25 years and have another perspective:
Value needs to be created, even with new stores, with end-to-end retail/ wholesale management systems; integrating sales operations with a web store (ProStores, eBay store), eBay express and eBay auction with a single database for sales and inventory reconciliation. This trend to "BricknClic" opens the door for small and medium retailers to distinguish themselves and compete. What is not moving in the store gets put online for the whole world to see.
It is striking to us that speciality stores offering beautiful niche products do really well when marketed this way.
Do you see what we are saying here and how it can drive new retails to success?
This site has an excellent blog that is related to Advice on Small Business and I knew that it takes time to set up the business. But if we work and plan out well then it is sure that one can get success. I recommend that planning plays a key role in any business to get success.