Making best use of a small marketing budget

For start-up businesses and smaller enterprises the marketing budget is likely to be measured in hundreds of pounds rather than thousands. So how does David take on Goliath in the business world?

The first step is careful planning. It’s very, very easy to waste money in marketing, and there are two primary ways this can happen.

1. You choose the wrong media
2. Your marketing materials just aren’t professional

Choosing the right media is absolutely essential when funds are tight, and often the key to this is thinking of ways you can pinpoint messages to your target audience.

If you can buy a good mailing list, then sales letters and legitimate email campaigns are a great way of making sure your message is reaching the right people with the minimum wastage.

Another essential for most small businesses is having a website. It doesn’t have to be anything flashy or expensive, but it should look professional and have at least three or four well written pages explaining your services, why they should choose you and any supporting material from delighted customers etc.

Once you have a website, there are so many situations in which you can have a relatively small advertisement but direct people to your website so they can find out more.

Yellow Pages, Thomson Local, Yell.com, Trade Press classifieds, van-sides, car-stickers, shop-windows – these are all pretty cheap ways to get a short message and website address in front of your public.

Depending on your budget you might also want to consider display ads in appropriate publications, Google AdWords and local radio commercials.

Then, of course, there is the second factor to consider. Are your marketing materials effective?

An advertisement with a strong headline or a sales letter with an attention-grabbing opening paragraph is far more likely to pay for itself in the number of customers it attracts. Whether you write it yourself or use a freelance copywriter like me, you want to be sure that all the money you spend on postage or media fees isn’t going to be lost simply because nobody notices or understands your message.

The media. The message. Think about both of them carefully and don’t rush into a decision. Get professional advice if you are unsure. That way you will be far more likely to get a good return for your marketing investment.