As a small business, we understand the pressures of cash flow, time and resources that are faced every day. It’s part of the territory. Having the right tools and systems can help smooth out the highs and lows of cash flow. For any business, even those running on a shoestring, you need to invest in your brand and communications.
Sometimes the simplest thing can make a difference.
For example, we conduct several workshops each month for small business and non-profits. I’m often amazed at how many “businesses” are using a Gmail, Yahoo, AOL or other generic email address as their primary business email address. Seeing a generic email address is a red flag that screams –‘This isn’t a real business!’
Having your own domain and associated email addresses is not expensive. Annual domain registration is about $15 per year. Most domain registry services include an email address or two.
Now that you have a branded email address, let’s put it to work.
Reach out to your current customers with email marketing. At least once per month, send your current customers a professional looking, branded marketing message via email. Remind them that you exist, and when they see that your emails come from your domain address rather than a generic email address, your brand’s perceived relevance and value will be enhanced. Pressing “SEND” is your friend.
Next, let’s reach beyond your current customers. Social media can help build your audience, but the play-for-free days are coming to an end. So you need to set aside some of your budget for advertising on these channels.
Facebook’s ad model is affordable and can be very effective. Yes, you will need to have a campaign strategy and relevant message/call-to-action and you will need to experiment and adjust. But the exposure should pay off. We’ve seen businesses grow awareness, sales and engagement by using Facebook ads and not really spending a lot of money.
So, back to the $100 investment for a 3-month campaign:
1. Purchase a domain for your business = $15
2. Constant Contact Email Marketing starts at $20/month x 3 months = $60*
3. Facebook ads = $10 x 3 months =$30*
4. That leaves $5 for a cup of coffee - Bonus!
Why not spend it all in one month? You certainly could, but repetition, consistency and perseverance tend to be a better strategy. Hence the 3 months time frame mentioned above.
*Remember this is an investment. Investments tend to have a return over time. The money spent on marketing can generate income that can then be re-purposed to continue to build your business.