Here at NexGen we have the privilege of working together with a multitude of SME businesses in all stages of the growth cycle. One of the common complaints we get from these businesses is that they don’t have the marketing budget to come across as professional or with impact. So, what can businesses do to add maximum effect on a limited budget?
Get a logo
Getting a professional logo done is one of the most important elements to looking proficient and impactful. A well-designed logo is the platform for great brands to thrive. It can tell a story with no words! If you put money anywhere I would urge it to be here. This is because a logo isn’t something you change annually, if ever, do it once and do it well. This means doing the ground work - access competitor logos, award winning logos and ask yourself the right questions around your business, encompass the answers within the log.
Get a website
First and foremost, one must get a website. To keep your budget to an absolute minimum, you could build it yourself. This may sound overwhelming but sites like Wix or Squarespace make it unbelievably easy with their templated formats; simpler websites have also been scientifically proven to have better success rates, so don’t be concerned if you feel your site looks too modest to you. If you think you’d struggle with the site you need, approach a student graphic designer and developer. Students are the most underutilized resource. Their concepts are always fresh and they’re not afraid to take risks (one could say they haven’t been tainted by the corporate world yet).
Use social media
Social media offers low to no cost marketing opportunities to promote your brand. Boosted posts have the potential to reach thousands at the price of what a coffee would cost you. Within your social media platforms its vital that you always remain professional, with a consistent message and look. Utilize apps like PLANN for Instagram to ensure all your posts work cohesively, that way when someone looks at your feed it tells a story and there is no doubt about what your business represents. Remember your brand could reach the masses and drive potential customers to your website, so you want to ensure it does so in the best light. Steer clear of posting self-promoting content, stick to content that benefits the reader, the point of social is to be social, not to bombard people with sales pitches.
Get business cards
It is important to be able to give out a business card when you meet potential clients. There are several online sites that have great templates that you can utilize for free. The most important part of having a professional and impactful business card is in the quality of the card it is printed on. Go for a higher GSM, it automatically portrays a premium look and can elevate you to a more professional level.
Visit events and exhibitions which are relevant to your industry. By going to these events, you will be kept up to date about your industry and you can create brand awareness for your product. Networking could lead to the opportunity for you to co-brand a project or event with a better-established business. Aligning your business with another business that is already perceived as proficient can make potential customers trust you more instantly because they already have trust in the reputable business you are aligning with.
Use co-working spaces
Many small businesses don’t have or need a rented office but when meeting a customer, your house or the local coffee shop could be full of distractions and noise. This is when it is important to look for a space which you can rent per hour to host important meetings. The bonus of using this type of resource is that they will have all the equipment you will need to have a professional meeting.
Lastly, if you can afford a little extra, invest in a PR content specialist. This can be the most effective form of marketing on a tight budget because it gets a quick and vast reach, in the most authentic way. It also ticks a lot of the boxes, it will align you with an already established business ie, the Herald, it’ll position you as a thought leader, so customers will look to you for solutions and it’ll create brand awareness.
There is nothing more satisfying than succeeding on the marketing front with a limited budget, the key is to utilize the gift of free technology and free platforms. I love watching SMES using cost effective and innovative ways to elevate their brands to pristine levels! Go forth and conquer.