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Thread: A marketing plan for a shoestring budget

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    A marketing plan for a shoestring budget

    So you are planning a new business? Maybe it is your first time ever to attempt something as venturous as having your own business? The fact remains, you need to engage in marketing and sales, and you always feared it.

    Many people will tell you that they know their business and they know how to do the job, but having your own business means you have to engage in that which you know you are completely lost in, sales! Many business failed not because they were run by people that are unable to do the work, but one of the main reasons are, they do not know how to market and sell.

    At this point I would like to refer to a post made by Vincent recently on his forum, “Tell me why” The irony of this piece is so true. Only once your budget is shoe string and it becomes clear that the business is on it’s final breath will many new business owners realize that this is do or die. They will take a 2nd bond on the house and spent money on advertising their business.

    Reading this post made me think that it might be a good idea to setup a list. A list that can make your marketing plan get your business on the path of success. The fact remains, and I want to emphasize, that most marketing plans are a medium term plan that requires some sort of financial commitment in order for your business to succeed. Something I have heard many times before is those business owners took their last few pennies and bought a display ad on the front page of the regional newspaper. Did it work? No? You might just have given your business the final head shot, because now you are truly out of money!

    So why didn’t it work? Well the reason is simple, think of yourself when you watch TV, Listen to the radio or buy a magazine. Do you look forward to read and listen to the ads? Or do you ignore the ads? Yes, people ignore ads. They will see it once and think nothing of it, then after viewing it repeatedly, they will start realizing the ad is there, later only they will consider buying it and after a while maybe even do the deal or pick up the phone. The fact remain, your ads are being ignored!

    So what is the factor in marketing when you are on a shoestring budget? It is target marketing. Engage in marketing where the prospective customer is much more receptive to your product or service. If you were a trainer in Golf, would you rather advertise in “You” magazine or “The golfer” magazine? Where would the most people be that will be interested in your product? The same question can be asked, if you have a business in a service for “home executive”, would you rather advertise in “The Golfer” or the “You” magazine?

    When you resort to printed media, radio or even TV for your shoestring budget, find out what the demographics are before dedicating yourself to that form of marketing. A very important point to remember is that advertising needs repetition, regardless of how targeted your marketing is, you will probably have to repeat your advertisement for a number of times before you will have any kind of reaction.

    So now you know that you might need to review your marketing options, where do you start?

    Take a piece of paper and answer the following questions
    1. What is my product or service
    2. What does my competitors offer (Be very honest on this one)
    3. What makes my product or service unique from the rest.
    4. Who's my customer, what are their demographics. (Age group, Income class, Hobbies etc.)
    5. What would they want from my product?
    6. Where will I find them?
    7. What is my marketing budget?
    8. What marketing avenues are available to me at that budget?
    9. How much repetition can I afford
    10. What keywords should I target in my adverts and marketing documentation.

    The next list would be marketing avenues

    1. Printed media. (Pamphlets, business cards, magazines)
    2. Radio, TV etc. (This doesn’t have to cost any money, you can perhaps get interviewed by people in the media by generating enough interest)
    3. Networking (Build up relationships within the industry and see if someone might be able to share some work)
    4. Editorial marketing (Press releases, articles etc.)
    5. Social Marketing (Phone the local churches, or places where social groups gather and find out if you may distribute your info there)
    6. Public speaking. (Invite people to listen to a free seminar on a topic related to your industry) lol it is actually funny that all the electricians hasn’t started free seminars on saving electricity yet
    7. Sponsorships (Maybe you can hit a target market by sponsoring the coke at the 9th hole during a golf tournament)
    8. Direct Mail (Need I say more?)
    9. Telemarketing (So you pay your phone bill next month, that is money you can wisely utilize by phoning businesses or individuals to introduce yourself)
    10. Cross Promotions (Get involved another business involved to co sponsor the adverts)
    11. Promotional items (Distribute free electrical advice on pamphlets at the local water and lights department, attaching a wall plug with your logo on it to the pamphlet)
    12. Social responsibility. (Find out if you can perhaps get some support for some kind of charity, get some sponsors and get the media involved to drive it with you)
    13. Internet marketing methods

    There are several marketing methods available that you can utilize, the above list is to get the juices flowing. When you have answered all these questions, remove the items from the marketing list that your budget, talent, abilities, moral values or whatever else doesn’t support.

    Then commit with full discipline and focus on the marketing methods that you have chosen.
    Last edited by Chatmaster; 08-Jul-11 at 01:47 PM. Reason: Removed dead link

  2. Thank given for this post:

    Dave A (07-Sep-10), Dean01 (11-Sep-09), garthu (08-Sep-10), richards (06-Sep-10)

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    Excellent article, was going to give you some respect, but it seems I gave you some earlier!

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    Platinum Member Chatmaster's Avatar
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    Thanks Riaan!

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    Good article. It is surprising how many businesses fail due to lacking a good basic marketing strategy that they can build on.

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    Email problem derekjay's Avatar
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    That's some excellent advice you have shared. Must agree that it is shocking how many business kick off with no marketing plan or strategy and expect the customers to come running!

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