Whether your business or budget is big or small, marketing can drive meaningful results if done thoughtfully. Here are a few tips to succeed even on a shoestring budget:

1. Ground Marketing in Research

To make sure your marketing will resonate, first take a step back to understand your audience and what they are looking for from your business. Overall, customers are looking for content that is relevant and personal to them. In fact, 77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience. Understanding customer motives and expectations can help you prioritize your investing, which is especially important when you're working with a limited budget. Doing your homework in advance can help make sure your marketing dollars go further and that your efforts will have an impact. It's also important to continuously adjust and ask for feedback.

2. Prioritize Channels and Content

Rather than pursuing all of them at once, prioritize your marketing channels to make sure you're reaching your target audience as directly as possible. Your research can be a great guide to help you make these decisions. Social media is a safe bet these days, but things like print marketing and email newsletters can also be impactful with the right audience.

The type of content you share can also make a difference. Video is becoming more prominent, with 72 percent of businesses saying video has improved their conversion rate online, and it can be created economically. Things like product demos can help convert shoppers to buyers as they see your products in action. Quick videos or live streams about sales or incentives are great calls to action that don't need to be expensively produced. For in-person interactions, tried-and-true methods like fliers and business cards are great engagement tools.

3. Build Your Brand

For small-business owners, you are the face of the brand and marketing yourself should be a priority. Look for networking opportunities, and get involved in community events to interact with potential customers and other business owners. This can help you build relationships and encourages word-of-mouth marketing, which is vital even in the digital age. According to Nielsen, 92 percent of people trust recommendations from friends and family over any other type of advertising.

Similarly, your employees can also represent your brand externally. Make sure they understand how to market your business when appropriate and to equip them with the right information to draw in new customers.

4. Test and Learn

Take the time to test a few options to see what's working well, and optimize your efforts accordingly. Use research and knowledge of your business to make decisions that are most relevant for you. For example, at the UPS Store, we tested a print station in some of our local stores to see if it contributed to new sales, and adjusted accordingly. Trying new things can help you stay fresh and evolve. Don't let fear of failure prevent you from taking calculated risks.

Marketing doesn't need to be expensive or flashy to make a difference for your business. With the right preparation and ability to adjust as you go, even the smallest budget can make an impact to reach your customers and drive success for your business.

Published on: May 22, 2019