Using online classifieds and coupon programs for small business marketing
Small business marketing can be difficult if not impossible when your marketing budget is non-existent. Most often startups use classified websites like Gumtree or Craigslist to market their business. It’s a good way to get started as it’s free which helps when money is tight.
These businesses then graduate to sites like Daddy’s deals or Groupon which is phenomenal at generating new business. However these types of websites should be used sparingly and only reserved for months that are known to be off peak in your industry. Use it to fill in the gaps in the lean months.
It should never become your primary source for generating leads as people on these sites are bargain hunters and most visitors to these websites are returning visitors ie. habitual bargain hunters. This makes it a great way for startups to build their portfolio if they sell anything that’s custom made or services that are specific to the client like photography, landscaping, events etc. Basically anything you can be photographed to show off your work. If you don’t offer services of this nature then it can be used to offer a discounted rate on the basis of getting a written recommendation from the client on the quality of your service offering. Portfolios and recommendations are evidence that you are capable of doing your job well and will lead to better prospects.
You’ll notice your classified and coupon ads generating leads initially but interest in your products or services fizzles after a few weeks or months. When the leads decrease you assume that it’s your price and lower it further. This results in another jolt of leads since this market is driven by price. Thus you and your competitors race to the bottom i.e. Who can be the cheapest! These sites are buyers markets and it’s not good for the long term growth of your business. We want to build brand loyalty and for the most part these customers are only loyal to the lowest price. I’m not disregarding these potential customers, I use groupon and gumtree fairly often but for sustainable growth, other avenues must be pursued as well. Other marketing opportunities could be adwords campaigns, organic website traffic, email marketing etc. There are many ways to market your business.
I hope that this article has helped you. What has been your experience when advertising through these websites? Post your comments below.