You may have the best tacos West of the Mississippi, but you don't have a multi-million dollar marketing budget to let people know it. In an effort to save you some time and A LOT of money, we’ve rounded up 3 successful Fortune 500 marketing practices that small businesses can afford: Big Business Marketing Tools for Small Business Budgets.
1) Invest in branded takeout or shopping bags
Big brands turn business necessities into marketing tools. Sure, custom bags cost more than non-custom bags, but now you’ve turned every takeout customer into a walking billboard for your business. If you’re a salon or a boutique, your customers are your best advertisements. A girl fresh out of the salon chair, looking her best, is a customer you want holding your brand in her hand (all the easier for prospective customers to take note of).
Plus, the green environmental movement means more customers are saving and reusing bags. Your brand might get a walk around the block, twice! And don’t be fooled by your business partners that provide you with bags for “free”. These are the smartest of partners who know the value of your customers toting your brand around town for them. They’re happy to save you this minor expense in exchange for a very inexpensive marketing campaign of their own.
2) Implement a loyalty program
It’s no wonder why big businesses ranging from international airlines to pizza chains have loyalty programs. They know that just a 5% increase in customer loyalty can result in more than a 25% increase in revenue, and that, according to a Deloitte Research Study, 88% of businesses with loyalty programs are more profitable than companies who do not. Take your loyalty program to the next level and partner with Belly, which provides data and analytics that typically only big businesses (with big budgets) once had access to.
3) Create a value menu to attract customers and increase sales
There’s a reason why McDonald's has a Dollar Menu & More, Taco Bell offers a Why Pay More Value Menu, and Subway is known for their $5 Footlongs. These big businesses highlight a variety of their largest markup products, at low prices, to attract customers. Once in the doors, many of these customers also purchase regularly priced items. Offering a fountain drink for just $1 may sound crazy, but with costs of around only 22¢ this is an ideal, high-margin item to discount and promote. Existing customers may be more inclined to add a drink to their order, and prospective customers may make your business their go-to lunch spot because of your affordable drinks.
Another strategy many fast food chains promote are “meals” where value is built-in by grouping an entrée (burger), side (fries), and a drink(soda). The business wins because two of their high-margin products (fries and soda) are purchased thereby increasing profits, and the customer wins because they save money as opposed to purchasing a la’ carte. When choosing marketing tools for small business budgets, incorporating this menu option could substantially impact your bottom line.
If you’re a product or service based businesses, you too can afford and to be creative with this concept. Boutiques can add a $10 jewelry display where customers can count on accessorizing for less, and possibly walk out with an entire ensemble. Spas and Salons can feature 10 minute makeovers for just $10, where complementary cosmetic product sales would be natural and profitable.