Advertising on a budget means carefully considering your long term goals, as well as your short term ones. While every business focuses on generating profits, one sale today from a customer that never comes back won’t help your long-term business prospects. On the other hand, a customer that cannot afford to buy today may be able to make a purchase in the future when the economy turns upward.
Subsequently, all of your advertising strategies should be aimed at making a lasting impression with the client – not just making a temporary sale.
Smart Long-Term Branding
Your advertising is effective only if it builds and cements your branding strategy. People will often buy a brand that they recognize. For example, think of your favorite carbonated beverage. Chances are the first brand that popped into your mind was either a Coke or a Pepsi product; you probably aren’t thinking about the off brand that your grocer also stocks. This instant association is the power of branding.
Branding simply involves getting your name and logo out everywhere. Your logo should be on everything – every product you sell, every brochure, every business card, and every ad in the paper. It can even go on your office stationery.
The Keepsake Advertisement
Another way to maintain your image with the customer is to give them something that they can keep for an extended period of time. Let’s face it – most catalogs, sales ads, and bulk mail end up in the recycling bin shortly after their arrival. This means that you will need to get creative with how you approach the customer.
Many companies find success using an annual calendar. The calendar will be used by the client all year long, and you can include special savings or coupons on each page to encourage them to call. Many realtors use notepads or refrigerator magnets as a way to keep their name in front of their customers. Post-its, T-shirts, ball caps, stickers, magnets – anything that appears to have more value than a sales flyer is often held onto longer, giving you more opportunities to reach the customer. Maybe they can’t buy today, but they’ll be thinking about you tomorrow.
Customer Loyalty Programs
All customers like to feel appreciated, and creating a customer loyalty program is a good way to build repeat business. Some businesses do this in the form of a discount card that members can use to receive special deals. Your local sandwich shop may have a punch card that rewards you with a free meal once you buy 10. Members-only mailing lists with special promotions are also a big hit.
The advantage is that any of these programs is easy to implement – all you need is some printed postcards to take down the client’s information. Punch cards or savings cards are easy to have printed. And once you have the client’s personal information, you can contact them at will – sending them reminder letters, sales ads, and other communications throughout the year.
Remember, the goal is to build customers that will last a lifetime. Focus on building long term customers with your advertising strategies to see the most success.