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How to market and advertise on a shoe-string budget

With Christmas approaching, marketing will have leapt up on your priority list. But, you don’t have to be John Lewis wielding a £7 million advertising budget to get your message across. If you focus your efforts, every small business can get maximum visibility in your market this Christmas.

Focus on one social channel

Spreading yourself too thin trying to communicate on all channels can be a costly waste of resource. “Find the balance between where your customers are most likely to be, and where your competitors aren’t” explains Guy Blaskey, founder of Pooch & Mutt.

Guy has a team of just seven employees but they’ve achieved heady heights of success placing products with some of the largest retailers in the UK, including Waitrose. Part of that success has been their focused approach on social media. “Our Facebook page has over 54,000 followers – it’s the biggest following of any independent dog food company in the UK – you just need to pick one social network and do it well. With a small budget, you can’t do all of them and you shouldn’t try”.

Top tip: Evaluate, how your customers interact with you. If they’re frequently tagging you on Twitter asking about your B&Bs rooms, focus your efforts there. But if your Instagram pictures featuring ‘Christmas dish of day’ is causing an influx of likes and regrams, keep them coming. Watch out for duplicating your competitor’s work, but there’s nothing wrong with healthy banter to catch a consumer’s eye. And remember, get those call to actions front and centre!

Make Christmas a hot and steamy event

No, it’s not what you’re thinking.

While Christmas is a time for ‘good cheer’ (egg nog at the ready, everyone) coffee sales have boomed in 2015, with 1.7 billion cups of coffee selling every year.

Even pubs and fast food chains are muscling into the industry, with Greggs reportedly selling £1 million worth of coffee each week. Small businesses can play to this consumer interest by luring in visitors for a free cup of the good stuff at a specialist event, or even to the first 50 customers who shuffle in out of the cold.

With heightened awareness of drink driving at Christmas, and many consumers driving to city centre locations, consumers will be glad of a non-alcoholic alternative and your Christmas budget won’t binge on booze.

Top tip: Whatever your industry, make sure you tell the local press what you’re up to and invite them along. If you’re planning a live reading of ‘Twas the night before Christmas’ for families and mummy bloggers, see if a local radio station would like to record, or even broadcast the event live.

You could even move your event to a busy high street location. Make sure your social handles, and any offers, are clearly sign posted, and teach every member of staff how to clearly direct your consumers back to your premises or website to raise awareness, and clinch that sale.

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