Ask Dr. Deborah | What are some affordable marketing techniques?
Dear Dr. Deborah:
I’m starting my own professional cleaning business. My focus will be mostly on residential homes, but I will also do commercial spaces as well. I am self-employed and run my business primarily out of my home. Starting out I have a very limited marketing budget, so most ad placements in newspapers, radio, etc. are too expensive. What are some affordable marketing techniques I can use to promote my new business?
Believe me when I tell you, you are not alone! Many of my clients–self-employed and otherwise–run into the same problem. With limited funding, marketing can be difficult for any business owner. What I can tell you is that there are a couple easy fixes for your situation!
First, I recommend you establish an online presence. This means creating a website, social media pages, and registering your business with Google. The majority of American’s search for products and services online, so you want to be sure that they can find you. There are several affordable options for building websites today, such as Wix and Weebly that offer simple plug-and-play designs. For social media, you want to keep in mind that it will require regular maintenance. That may mean only using one platform, at least when you start out. Online channels, such as these are also great ways to promote positive word of mouth with reviews. Approximately 90% of consumers read online reviews, so encourage your customers to review your business on Google, Facebook, or other sites.
When servicing a specific area, as you are, offline marketing becomes extremely important as well. One of the first things I recommend my clients have ready before they launch is their business card. This is a physical item that can by handed out personally, left on display, and passed on through many hands. When designing your first business card, you want to keep the layout simple. It should contain your logo, contact information, and any other essential details. It may be tempting to include a lot of information, but the key is to keep it neat and visually appealing.
Another possible great idea for businesses such as yours that travel to your customers, is to use car decals. Decals make your car a moving advertisement for your business. According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, car advertisements can make up to 70,000 impressions in a day. That’s a lot of eyes!! Just like your business card, your design should be kept simple and include only your logo, contact information, and essential details. To further add value to your moving advertisement, you can attach a business card holder to the outside of your car. This way people passing by can take your information with them.
These are just some examples of affordable marketing techniques. However, possibly the most valuable and cheapest promotional technique is word-of-mouth, so always give top-notch customer service and encourage your customers to tell their friends and colleagues about your business.
Best of luck!