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How to market your business with a limited budget

Many times business owners feel that it is impossible to market effectively due to a limited budget. However, if you are willing to use some creativity and planning you can market quite effectively and still stay within your marketing budget. Keep in mind that the way you market needs to be more about reaching your customers then spending a great deal of money. Here is what you need to know about how to market your business with a limited budget-

- Use the phone-Many times when you are considering how to market you may overlook the obvious. Every business has a phone so you can turn your phone into a marketing tool. You can start by training your employees (and yourself) to answer the phone in a way that markets something about your business. Keep in mind though that whatever way you choose to do this the offer needs to be clear, have an expiration date, and quickly lets your customers know what you can offer them.
- Use a postcard-Studies show that if you are sending out direct mail marketing you should consider using a postcard. Not only is a postcard cheaper to produce (even when you use color), but your customers are far more likely to take a minute to stop and read it. In fact the rate of return for your marketing dollars has been shown to be much higher with a postcard then with an ad that is full-size.
- Add it on-Many times business owners overlook the fact that they have a lot of outgoing mail. You can use your outgoing mail as a marketing tool. Consider using sticker, stamps, or even handwritten notes to get your marketing message out with your mail. Whether you are sending direct mail or just outgoing business mail you should never pass up the opportunity to send it out with a marketing message. Keep in mind that while studies show that your customers are highly likely to read your message first, it still needs to be short, concise and able to be read and understood in just seconds.
- Consider a newsletter-This can be a highly effective way to market to your customers. While many businesses are discontinuing a printed newsletter more and more businesses are turning to using an e-newsletter. The only cost for this type of newsletter is the time that someone will have to spend putting together a marketing message. It is important to understand though that you will first need to capture the email information for your customers and potential customers. Then you will need to focus on making sure that you are offering something of value to your customers. If they begin to feel that your e-newsletter is just spam and a pressure to buy they will soon block your message and your marketing efforts will be for nothing.
- Use your customer base-There are many different ways that you can use your customer base to market. First, make sure that every employee is trained to follow up with customers after they have made a purchase. Not only can you thank them for their purchase you can valuable insight as to how to improve the shopping experience with you. In addition, you can offer your customers a coupon for a return purchase. Just make sure that whatever discount you offer them has an expiration date to create a sense of urgency. Finally, you can use your customers for referrals and recommendations that will help to expand your marketing efforts, as well. In order to encourage them to help you spread the word about your business be sure to offer them an incentive for every customer that buys from you (that they have brought in).

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