20 ways to stretch your marketing budget (and increase your sales)
1) Don’t use three sales letters, when one will do Get a ‘boiler plate’ sales letter written, which can then be adapted for potential customers, existing customers and lapsed customers.
2) Use ‘PR friendly’ magazines Some magazines are more receptive to press releases than others. Find out who they are, and target those. More of your press releases will be used, meaning more publicity for your company.
3) Get a 95% readership for your direct mail Postcards are often more effective than letters, as they don’t have to be opened. In 95% of cases postcards are read, increasing your chances of making sales. Make sure yours stands out.
4) Just in Time Instead of booking your ad space early, ask the ad manager if they can call you when they have a late slot. You’ll have to have your ad ready to go quickly, but you can get discounts of up to 80 per cent this way.
5) Haggle Most magazines and newspapers can be haggled down on their ad rate card prices.
6) Cut mailing costs Make the most of special bulk mailing and small mail run offers that post offices and the like run from time to time.
7) Trade lists Instead of buying an expensive mailing list which may well be out of date. Swap mailing lists with non-competing companies who also supply the customers you want to target.
8) Cut the cost of cold calls
Many prospects are getting harder to get hold of during the day. So try calling a little earlier or later than usual. Depending where you live, calls are often much cheaper, later or earlier in the day.
9) Get clients to promote your company
If a client is pleased with the work your company has done for them, ask them to pass on your business to non-competing companies they are in contact with. Many will, and it can increase your sales. Some may allow you to have a small space in their brochures and other marketing material.
10) Team work. Ask a relevant company if you can support one another
For example, Owen runs a equestrian center, he teams up with Anne who runs a dealership. Anne’s customers are recommended to Owen for lessons on their new horse, and Owen recommends his client’s who are looking for horses to Anne.
11) Get your advisors working for you
Accountants, bankers and so on are all often asked if they know of a good company who do. Give your bank, accountant and other professional advisors, some business cards and brochures, and ask them to give them to people who could be potential clients for you.
12) Turn your cleaning lady into a marketing marvel! And your secretary, assistant and so on
Employees may have hobbies or interests where they are meeting potential clients. Encourage them to spread the good word about your company. One finance company discovered that their cleaning lady’s husband had a passion for large motor cruisers. So she frequently went to shows and the like with him. The finance company asked her to drop a discreet word about where she worked to the people they met at these events. Result… extra sales the finance company would never have got otherwise.
13) Make the most of the government
In the UK you can use the Business Co-operation Network to help find you a marketing partner for business in Europe. This can save you a lot of money and find you plenty of new business. Business advice centers often do discounted mailing lists and other services.
14) Share direct marketing costs
Other companies who have the same customer base as you, but sell different products, are often willing to share the cost of a direct mailing.
15) Supplying business success
Your own suppliers can be a valuable source of business. They may let you swap mailing lists, or put your mailing in with one of theirs to relevant customers.
16) Barter for free radio ads
Local radio stations are always in need of interesting material, so you can get yourself plenty of free publicity by agreeing to an interview about an interesting angle on your company or products. If you’re buying radio advertising, ask if you can have a free ad if you book a particular amount of air time.
17) Sponsor something unusual
But also something that potential customers will see. Unusual things tend to be cheaper and more effective. An insurance company sponsored a cross country fence at a horse trail. They were allowed to name the fence, (Break A Leg) which got them lots of excellent exposure in the horse trials guide, and in horse magazines that covered the event. Which brought in plenty of profitable business.
18) Publish a regular newsletter
Few companies do this well, and the biggest let down of newsletters is often the copy. So get a pro to write it for you. Make yours a bit unusual, it doesn’t need to be full color, black and white is fine. Newsletters can be sent out to clients instead of letters, handed out at exhibitions and so on. They make great business generators, and are cost effective into the bargain.
19) Sell your brain’s contents
Magazines and newspapers welcome articles from experts such as yourself, and it’s all good, cheap publicity for your company. You could also write a book, give speeches and talks, publish a special ‘info-booklet’ and so on. If you want to cheat, have the material ghost-written. You still get all the prestige this way, without the hard work.
20) Be different
One clever company couldn’t afford to have a flashy, all singing, all dancing screen saver made for them. So they made their own. The user enters his/her name, and the screen saver pops up messages like ‘Dave, you’re one in a million’ ‘Jean, we think you’re just great’. There’s a different ‘compliment’ message each day and the company’s logo and name are at the bottom of the screen. It has generated a lot of business for them so far.
This report is copyright of Sara Edlington 1998 and must not be altered without the author’s written permission. It can be freely distributed, provided that it stays in this format.