Posted: October 5, 2012
The U.S.Small Business Administration suggests that small businesses (those with annual sales under $5 million) should allocate seven to eight percent of their budget to advertising. This may sound like a large percentage to some and just about right to others, depending on the type of company you own.
I come nowhere close to spending seven percent of my annual sales marketing The Bottom Line. However, I spend about 18 percent of my revenue stream promoting Festival in the Pines. This got me to thinking about ways that business owners could advertise their company in less expensive ways.
MOBILE SIGNAGE: It's relatively inexpensive to have a magnetic sign that can be affixed to a company vehicle. Certainly, there is the added benefit of having permanent signage painted on a car or truck, but if a small business owner uses his/her private vehicle for work, the magnetic signage saves money and can be used on other vehicles.
THANK YOU CARDS/NOTES: I've mentioned this on a number of occasions: There is no better way to thank a customer than to mail a handwritten note or card. The time and effort that it takes is insignificant compared to the positive return on investment. Another way to tell a customer you are thinking about them is to clip out a news article that will help them in some way and mail it to them. To make the biggest impact, be sure to send a handwritten note in an envelope that you personally address.
VOLUNTEERING: The best way to network is to become a part of a vibrant organization. If you are an active member, business is sure to come your way over the course of time. In fact, many times the new business leads don't necessarily come from someone else within the service organization. It's usually someone's neigbhor, relative or colleague at work.
If you are spending a considerable portion of your annual sales on advertising and are not receiving the expected return, it's time to review the methods you are currently using and examine whether your message is somehow getting lost in the shuffle. Small business owners can invest huge sums in marketing, but if the message isn't consistent, repetitive and simple, then it becomes a wasted effort.
Ask sales people who call on you to come up with ideas and plans for ways that you could spend money with the goal of potentially doubling your investment through increased sales. If that doesn't work, then it may be time to call a local sign company, start writing a lot of thank-you cards or become involved with a local service club.