Free marketing that makes a difference

Good marketing helps you keep customers coming back.

Does good marketing always cost a ton of money? Maybe not…

Generally speaking, businesses use these four areas of marketing to improve their customer base and increase retention rates:

  1. Monitoring customer satisfaction
  2. Communicating with customers and potential customers
  3. Evaluation
  4. Promotion

The best kind of marketing costs money, but there are things you can do to improve your marketing game if you’re on a tight budget.

Monitoring customer satisfaction

One of the most important things any business can do is to monitor customer satisfaction.

For example, were your customers happy with the service? Did the meal taste good? Did the product meet their expectations?

In business we all plan to please customers, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. All our efforts to get the customers in the door in the first place can be lost in an instant.

Customers may move on, or worse still, they may speak about your business in a negative way to their friends or colleagues.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to be brave and ask the question, or watch out for telltale signs like a plate returned with a lot of food remaining.

To conduct a more formal customer satisfaction survey, you can use a tool like Survey Monkey that allows you to send a quick survey to your customers.

Make sure you analyse the results, as there might be a problem you didn’t know about.

READ: 3 ways to listen better to your customers

Communicating with customers

Being in contact with your customers and letting them know about your full range of products or services or any special offers you have is a great way to boost sales from existing customers.

This can be done through email using an online e-marketing product like MailChimp.

MailChimp or other e-marketing products allow you to send bulk emails without breaching the Spam Act.

These can be either free or low-cost, depending on how many you send out.

Evaluation

Knowing what marketing is working — or not working — for your business is vital to improving your results.

One of your biggest marketing investments either in time or money is your website. But how do you know it’s effective?

One of the free tools that is available is Google Analytics.

It gives you information on the number of visitors to your website, what websites or search words referred them to your site, which pages they visit and for how long.

Whether web-based or in-person, all businesses should ask new customers how they heard about the business. It’s free to ask, and the answers tell you what marketing is working.

Promoting your business

Promotion can be one of the most expensive parts of the marketing mix, but there are definitely some no-cost promotions that make a difference.

Always use an email signature with a link to your website or your shop.

You can include a special promotion click through, and it costs nothing! You can set up a signature in your email settings, or you can use the free email signature generator from HubSpot.

Of course, social media is free to use too.

Posts with photos or videos are more likely to reach and be shared by your audience. If you can’t create your own visuals, there are sites that allow you to use stock photos for free.

Managing social media through a management tool such as Hootsuite can save you time, money and promote your business all at the same time!