To maximise your marketing spend, you need to focus on satisfying your current customers, encouraging past customers and attracting new customers to your business. Identify your unique selling point (USP) - what's especially good about your product or service - and use it to make you stand out from the crowd.
Get more from your customer base
Your regular customer base is critical to your business' survival and growth, so you need to seize chances to build and maintain your relationship with them on each interaction or sale.
There are many ways to do this when on a tight budget. Think about how you communicate - for example, you should:
- talk to your customers and focus on their needs and wants
- be specific, honest and clear about what you can offer
- keep in touch - send email updates or a newsletter
- get to know your competitors and what they are offering
Think creatively about your selling techniques. For example, you could:
- encourage people to 'buy now' by offering lower prices for immediate/bulk purchases or bookings
- use coupons or e-vouchers that are easy and cheap to design and distribute
- offer gifts, free trials and tasters
- reward your customers with loyalty schemes
Make sure your staff are fully aware of your customer base, products and services and are inspired about your business. Read more about how to lead and motivate your staff.
Encourage referrals from existing clients
Referrals from satisfied customers endorsing your business are the best way of getting new customers. So if a client tells you they're happy with some work you have done for them, ask them to recommend you to other potential customers.
Consider offering incentives - such as a discount off their next order - for every new customer an existing client points in your direction.
Find new customers
You should always be thinking about how to attract new customers. You need to:
- let potential new customers know who you are and what you offer
- aim to provide an exceptional experience on the first sale
- offer options and solutions to increase convenience
- position yourself as a leader next to your competition - give a reason for customers to buy from you
Try to price your products or services according to their quality - you want to avoid under-pricing them.
Team-up with related businesses
You could attract new customers through a 'partnership' with a business related to, but not in direct competition with, your own - eg - a plastering company and local decorators.
But do make sure you choose a reputable business to team up with in this way. Otherwise you could end up with their mistakes tarnishing your reputation.