Marketing on a budget (Review)

November 28, 2013

Marketing and strategy

I collaborated with Women’s Business Club on their first learning event, Marketing for Young Organizations on a Budget. The workshop-slash-seminar took place last week Thursday, November 21st. The blog below was first published on Women’s Business Club’s blog.

With a small group we covered the following aspects of marketing as an entrepreneur starting up: marketing vs. sales, strategic marketing, personal branding and online/in print marketing. These are all big topics to cover; this workshop was set up to give our members an introduction to them and give the tools to get started in what has priority for them.

This blog covers a couple of take-aways for our members.

Marketing isn’t sales

Marketing and sales go hand in hand, yet are not synonymous to one another. A marketing expert once told me the major difference in layman’s terms. Marketing is making the horse thirsty. Sales is making the horse drink.

The purpose of marketing is thus to create brand or product awareness, to educate people about the product and your company, or to expand your network. Every entrepreneur is honing her message to achieve this. The overall purpose we mustn’t forget is to build trust and credibility; this is the foundation of every sales connection we make.

Strategic marketing

So, you’re on a budget and you want to market yourself and achieve trust and credibility for yourself and your business. The most important items on your to-do list ought to be:

  1. Researching your target market (start with basic statistics and know in-depth customer behaviour through interviewing);
  2. Working on your value proposition (aka your sales pitch – more on this below);
  3. Branding your company and yourself (invest in a good graphic designer!);
  4. Understanding the purpose of your marketing campaign (e.g. getting the word out, gaining vs. keeping customers, educating your target market, and yes, generating sales);
  5. Considering partnering up (this can be a lifesaver if done well). Reflect on partnering with an established (non-competitive) company that serves complementary services to the same or similar clientele.

Personal branding

People don’t remember your business card, they remember you! This is why it is so strategically important to know your value proposition. When talking about your business, be able to share why your services are slightly different from others and why this benefits your customers.

To get referrals, networking is important. At this point, many of us forget how large our initial network already is. Ask your current contacts, such as family members, friends, and (former) colleagues, to be on the lookout for you.

Another factor in personal branding is your professional image. Make sure you look good, have a website and a proper email (with an appropriate signature), organize events, stay in touch with your clients, and always have updated contact details.

Marketing on-line and in-print

  • Invest in a good website to complement your personal branding;
  • Writing a blog is an amazing positive tools to share your knowledge, build awareness and attract ‘Googlers’;
  • With the right target market you can make good use of social media;
  • Print materials are becoming less attractive as the creation cost is higher. Yet giving an event postcard serves as a good reminder for people to sign up.

Tips

This is a sample of the tips shared during the Marketing for Young Organizations on a Budget.

  • Only use correct promotional materials – if your contact details have changed, hand out only your new business cards
  • Book a librarian at the Toronto Reference Library to help you in your market research
  • Have a free product or service to make people happy, yet yearning for more
  • Invest in branding. Work with a graphic designer to have the right look and feel for all on-line and in-print promotional materials
  • Have, at the very least, a LinkedIn profile.

Women’s Business Club (WBC) organizes monthly networking and learning events for female entrepreneurs. The club is born out of a passion to help other women and an idea that we should all live our best lives while working on our business.

Author

Lisette Andreyko

Lisette is the founder of Kaleidoscope and is passionate about start-up leadership, personal growth and women in business (and psst.. about tea!). She enjoys connecting with small businesses through her network. You can find her on LinkedIn.