Marketing is crucial for all businesses large and small and without it any company will struggle to survive, let alone grow.
It’s all very well for large companies throwing millions at TV adverts, billboards, endorsing movie stars, magazine adverts
etc etc.. But for the rest of us life isn’t as easy. Or is it?
Even the biggest and well known brands in the World started somewhere, worked to tight budgets and even struggled financially.
But mostly due to clever, cost effective marketing they grew year upon year to become the giants they are today. See below
Knightprints top 5 tips for marketing on a budget.
1. Effective planning.
Take time to look at your company carefully and ask yourself some simple questions.
Who are my target customers?
Where do these customers shop or browse for products?
What is a realistic budget for my yearly marketing spend?
What makes my company/product different from my competitors (USP, unique selling point)?
What draws my attention to a brand?
Once you have these answers it is time to set a marketing plan for the year ahead. Set yourself realistic, measurable and achievable targets.
Ensure your targets have a timeframe attached. A very simple example is “I want to grow my social media network organically by 200 people in 3 months.”
Targets and goals are made to be broken, if you put too much pressure on yourself this can have a negative effect on your business.
2. Your Brand.
At this stage your company may already have it’s own brand identity. But for many this is not the case. Look at your company logo.
Is it simple and easily recognisable?
Does it reflect your brand and the image you want to portray?
No matter how good your product is, a bad logo can send the wrong impression to potential customers and they will quite often take their business elsewhere. Many people fail to see the importance of branding and logo design but creating the perfect logo for your company is not as difficult or as expensive as you may think. See 3 options below for creating your perfect company logo.
Do it yourself – FREE
Many people decide to create their own logo’s and there is a fantastic sense of achievement in doing so. You can use computer programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Indesign (programs specifically made for design) or I have seen people create great logo’s on programs as simple as Microsoft Word, Publisher or Powerpoint. There is also a great program available to download for FREE called GIMP. Before you start creating your logo it is important you know a little about printing and creating a logo that can be scaled up or down is hugely important. Your logo may feature on a business card, email signature and a letterhead to start off. But going forward you may wish to have posters, banners, car graphics, exhibition stands and signage produced. If your logo is created originally at the wrong size or format this could cause problems in the future. Make sure you read our logo design blog (coming soon).
Pay a graphic designer – Between £15 – £500
Many people think graphic designers cost a fortune, but this is not always the case. There are companies and designers out there that can offer a first class service and high quality design at very affordable prices. All you have to do is look around and chat to a couple of designers along the way. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give one a call, very often after speaking to a designer you can tell if they are passionate about their job and enjoy design. Knightprint design packages start at only £30.00 and we have worked with some of the biggest companies in Europe. We can work to your design brief or our designers will be happy to use their knowledge, creativity and expertise to produce just the right design for you.
Ask a friend or student – FREE – A pint down the pub
Don’t be afraid to ask friends, family or even design students for their help. In your network there is a very good chance you know somebody who can work their way around a design program. Many of these people may have other jobs, but enjoy graphic design as a hobby or a part time job. You may even be able to exchange services, and they may even offer to produce your design for free.
In recent times with the rise of the internet and the wealth of information readily available, online marketing is a must. For many, especially the older generation this may seem somewhat daunting and unexplored. However using the internet to serve your business is proven to be extremely successful and cost effective. If you are reading this blog online then there is no doubt you have the necessary skills to promote your company / product online yourself. Online marketing is an extremely broad subject and this topic in itself contains enough information to blow most peoples minds. Thats why we are going to keep it simple. Below are 3 ways to use the internet to your advantage.
HTML emails – FREE
HTML emails are those pretty emails you receive containing photos, special offers, graphics and information. They often come from companies that you have previously used or signed up to receive their newsletters and offers. You can create your own list of subscribers and send out pretty emails yourself for FREE. A favourite of mine is mailchimp, You can sign up for free and create your own HTML emails with a very intuitive template. Once the email is ready you can send it to multiple email addresses with the click of a button.
You can also create lists and sign up forms easily. Once you have designed a sign up form you can easily embed it to your social media platforms, website and email signatures. When adding customers to your email lists try to compile an organic list, this means a list of customers who have agreed to sign up to your emails. This will give your email campaign a greater success rate and click rate as the customers you are targeting have expressed interest in your products.
Social Media – FREE – £500
In todays World Social is key to any company’s marketing. If gives you a chance to share your products, news, photo’s and views to the World.
There are many social media platforms available, the most popular being Facebook, Instagram, Twitter & Linkedin. You can set up pages representing your business or product for free and start building your network. Social media is great for spreading brand awareness and targeting potential new clients. It is important that you take care when creating your page as it represents your company brand. Try to incorporate your company branding and logos. Sort photo’s into albums and choose a cover photo that will entice your customers to check out your page. There are many extra’s and advantages of different social media platforms that can help your customers interact with you, find out which ones are best for you.
It is important that you post regular interesting and informative information to generate more leads and get the world talking about your products. If designing and creating your own social media page isn’t for you or if you don’t have the time, our team at Knightprint can help. For as little as £100.00 we can create a professional looking social media page tailored around your company. Take a look at our Knightprint Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.
Website – FREE – £UNLIMITED
Websites are crucial in todays fast paced world. Almost everybody has access to the internet and not just from their desktop computer. Most mobile phones now have internet capabilities and growing number of people are surfing the web whilst on the move. Websites are fantastic tools to sell your products and provide detailed information and contact details for your company.
There are many companies and designers offering website packages and they can be extremely expensive. However creating websites does not need to be expensive. In fact now there are a few great free websites where you can build your own site using intuitive templates. Our favourite is Wix, in fact we like it so much we created our own e-commerce site, Knightexhibitions….. This site took me about 40 hours in the evenings and weekends and would have cost £1000.00 + if sent out to any web design agency. Well worth the time.
Again our team at Knightprint can help if you don’t have the time to create your own website. Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
VERY IMPORTANT: Once your website is built you will need to pay for your domain name and web hosting (on average around £50.00 per year)… more importantly
it is crucial to add SEO (search engine optimisation) to your website. Basically this is a list of keywords that people may search for on sites such as Google, Yahoo & Bing. SEO is important because it will help your potential customers find your website. Many people pay for SEO with external companies that specialise in this field. A good SEO company will research your competitors websites and spend some time adding crucial keywords and optimise your site. They should also send you monthly reports on how highly your website is listed on popular search engine platforms. You can add your own keywords and implement your own SEO on Wix but I would advise using an external company to do this for you.
4. Printed materials – £15.00 – £Unlimited
In this blog we have highlighted many ways to market your company. Many of these methods are online, however an older and more trusted method is printed materials. If you meet a potential customer on your travels there is nothing worse that not being able to hand them a business card. Business cards are one of the first items a company will need to get printed. Make sure your branding stays consistent and the business card contains your logo, contact details and website. When designing your business card try not to over crowd it with too much information. Keep it simple and to the point.
Other items you may want to think about when marketing your company are Roll Up Banner, Pop Up Banners, Pull Up Banners, PVC Banners, leaflets, flyers, compliment slips, letterheads, posters, tension banners, exhibition stands, pop up counters, backdrops, loyalty cards. The list is endless and Knightprint can produce the highest quality printed material at very competitive prices.
Be careful which printers you use when ordering your printed items, there are many print companies that offer discount prices but the quality is poor and the machines they use are outdated. Remember when you order printed items that these products are representing your company and they may or may not persuade a customer to contact you.
At Knightprint we pride ourselves on producing the finest quality print, offering a fast, friendly, helpful service. We use the latest machines and finishing techniques to ensure your finished product will exceed your expectations.
We offer business starter packages which include business cards, flyers, compliment slips, letterheads, posters and pop up banners for as little as £50.00.
5. Referral’s – FREE
Everybody loves a freebie and a great way to reward your customers is by setting up a referral scheme. Your customers great experiences can lead to many more leads. Offer your customers an incentive to tell their friends, colleagues and family about your services and products. You can offer future discounts or freebies if customers refer a friend to your company. A scheme like this is extremely easy to set up and costs nothing. Not only will these schemes entice your customers to come back to you in the future it will also give them the feeling that you look after them and reward them for their custom.
Referral schemes are proven to be extremely effective in the world of marketing and this method is widely used by the largest and most successful companies in the World.
Author Craig Leech