Even though the consumer-driven side of the economy is slowly recovering, most small-business owners know that revenue gains have been incremental.
How can one generate a boost in sales on a tight marketing budget? Here are some ideas that can make your marketing dollars go further.
Since most small businesses generate a large portion of their revenue from local customers, targeted local-event advertising and promotion can have a major impact.
Event marketing is not new, but many small businesses fail to take advantage of it. Here are ways for a local business to get their names in front of new audiences:
• Sponsor a hole at a local benefit golf tournament. Sponsors are listed in the program and on signage at the tee box.
• Sponsor an event through the local chamber of commerce. Many chambers hold monthly networking mixers at members' places of business. It's a great way to pull in people who otherwise would never have come to your location.
• Sponsor a 5K or 10K race. Many charities use these events to raise awareness and money. Local news coverage offers a secondary bump. Sponsorships are available at any budget level.
Although most businesses watch what their competition is doing, few consider learning from other industries or retail sectors:
• Frequent-buyer programs have proven to be immensely popular and effective at generating repeat traffic. They have spread from airlines, to drug stores, office supply retailers, pizza shops and grocery stores. Is there a way to implement a plan in your business?
• Bundling products with services reinforces the value proposition to your customers. It is also an effective way to camouflage pricing on individual items and makes it difficult for competition to undercut you.
• Never underestimate the power of the word "new." It creates interest and curiosity that makes customers want to learn more. Learn from TV ads that trumpet new packaging, new sizes or new colors as a way to revitalize older product lines.
Ralph Hershberger is president of SCORE Southern Arizona, a nonprofit group that offers free small-business counseling and mentoring by appointment at several locations. For more information, go to www.southernarizona.score.org, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 505-3636.