What is a Business with Low Cost Products and Services?
Millions of low cost products and services are bought by customers in the UK each year. They can be one off purchases made by online shoppers or regular purchases generating subscription income for businesses that may grow and become extremely successful.
A diverse range of products and services may be included in this category such as companies who supply specialist software, local travel tickets or hobby materials such as paper for scrap-booking.
Wikipedia talks about ‘no-frills’ services or products where
“the non-essential features have been removed to keep the price low.”
Wikipedia expands this definition with
“Businesses in certain industries such as airline, supermarkets, holidays and vehicles are given as examples of this approach.”
These companies may or may not have low cost products and services, depending on the final price point that is charged.
A low cost business must guard against pouring away the small amount of profit made from each sale. So how do companies that sell low cost items advertise their businesses without blowing their modest marketing budget?
1. Attract potential customers
Utilising the power of the internet is the main way businesses with low cost products and services market their products in the 21st century.
The Startups Team suggest one strategy is to
“Intrigue the media”
Entrepreneur Will King Entrepreneur and owner of ‘King of Shaves’ continues to describe how he sponsored James Ellington the sprinter when his £32000 ebay bid failed. The international press covered the story and raised his company’s profile.
is a good low cost marketing tool says Cameron Moore from BusinessComputingWorld.co.uk
“Make a short film, a snippet of animation or even a funny Photoshop picture. Stick your logo on the bottom and a link and your traffic should increase.”
Chieu Cao Vice President of marketing at Huddlebuy recommends using multiple social media and internet tools. Multiple social media and internet tools generates “leads from the web” by engaging with new customers. Cao continues
“Linkedin also offers advertising packages that can be targeted by occupation….e-location and Experian also offer this service.”
2. Converse with people who follow you
According to Cao “Good online communication” is key.
“Talk closely with customers with ‘live chat’ online whenever there is an issue or comment.”
The marketing team at MyWebToNet.com web hosting agree that listening carefully to customers comments, feedback and requests is important to developing the most user friendly systems and creating a successful online business.
Trevor Clawson and Ian Wallis at startups.co.uk describe how Seamus Fahy, founder of Dublin-based jeweller Voltaire Diamonds recommends using social media to generate sales
“It’s our number two driver. Around 25% of our sales can be directly attributed to Facebook. It’s a very important channel for us.”
3. Tell your company’s life story
Carolyn Hughes at Forth Day PR also advises business owners to “Be active on social media”. In addition she says
“Write regular blog posts in your own voice and be available to speak to journalists.”
Another great marketing tip that won’t break the bank is
“Tell your story – how you got there and where you are going.”
Telling your story is a technique favoured by the Hampshire based lighting company Anglepoise. This year they gave a presentation for members of the South Coast Design Forum to share their family businesses unique journey and a heritage that goes back to 1855. Their journey as a family business is a major part of their marketing strategy and website design and sets them apart from the competition.
4. Track your marketing impact
Mark Asquith at The Guardian’s “Efficient marketing strategies for SME’s” article champions the ability to “Set Objectives.”
“Tools such as Google Analytics and Hootsuite are perfect for social media metrics.”
Asquith agrees with Cao that gaining leads from the web is a good idea via Linkedin, e-location and Experian. He describes how these companies offer services that can tailor a marketing campaign to reach a specific professional group.
The multitude of marketing possibilities available online, is enough to make a directors head spin! Asquith thankfully reminds us that
“Marketing is one of the more fun aspects of running a business – ultimately it’s about telling people how great your business is.”
The LloydsBankBusiness.com website ‘Marketing Online’ section outlines the basics and gives business owners details of some online marketing programs
“Select relevant online advertising channels and choose ‘Pay-per-click’ (PPC) adverts or ‘Cost-per-action’ (CPA) adverts.”
Lloyds website favours using “social media to market your business”.
Lloyds states the options worth considering include affiliate advertising as well as creating or buying media to use in online marketing. To explain the affiliate term further TheBusinessDirectory.com describes affiliate marketing as a
“means of achieving greater market penetration through websites who target specific groups of internet users.”
Marketing expert Emma Woollacott at businesszone.co.uk encourages company owners with the thought that
“..it’s become possible for even the smallest company to compete, not just nationally but internationally, and at ever-lower cost. In the UK, businesses using the internet at a medium or high level see sales growth seven times higher than those that use it minimally or not at all.”
5. Quality not Quantity
The businesszone.co.uk advises small business owners that
“Content matters; it should be original and rich in the keywords that customers might be using to search.”
Woollacott a marketing expert at businesszone.co.uk explains that
“Links from other sites can help a lot, as do good reviews appearing on reputable sites such as Tripadvisor or Amazon.”
Marketing your organisation via email sounds like a straightforward low cost marketing idea. However care is required before the send button is tapped, as sending unsolicited e-mail is illegal.
Daniel Offer at The Marketing Donut explains
“The difference between a legitimate marketing campaign and spam is that people will actually request emails that are legitimate. All you need to do is create a massive email list of interested parties to send weekly emails to.” he adds “It is important to allow your recipients to remove themselves from your list if they want to.”
Deren Stevens at MarketingEmpire.co.uk recommends the article writing method to improve business marketing. As well as contributing to online discussion forums Stevens suggests
“publishing a newsletter or e-zine. When you build up your (members) list you can offer paid subscriptions or ads.”
Another neat low cost online marketing tip from Stevens is
“If you purchase anything online and are happy with the product or service, always leave a testimonial for the owner asking them to post it on their website.”
Create a Stir with a Pragmatic Approach
This article demonstrates that there are nearly as many different ways, to market your business with low cost products or services, as there are the variety of companies based in the UK. The types of actions chosen for the marketing mix, will depend on the selection and targeting of specific customer groups, for each company and their corporate identity.
With more and more people in the UK shopping online every year, it is certain that online marketing will continue to be important, in building successful brands and businesses. The formula that works best for your unique business will be an individual solution. Like a speciality cocktail, it will be a creative process of mixing different quality ingredients, to discover the perfect recipe for success.
Wikepedia Reference 2013-11-27 “No Frills”
The Startups Team quote Will King, Entrepreneur, King of Shaves 2013-09-11 “Marketing Tricks To Build a Buzz”
Cameron Moore 2011-11-30 at BusinessComputingWorld.co.uk “5 Essential Low-Cost Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses”
Chieu Cao Vice President Marketing at Huddlebuy 2012-12-06 “Business on a Budget: Online Marketing
The Marketing Team at MyWebToNet.com 2013-12-02 Quote received via telephone
Trevor Clawson and Ian Wallis 2013-10-03 “Facebook for business: the low-cost marketing strategy?”
Carolyn Hughes at Forth Day Public Relations 2013-11-07 “Why the company CEO and business owner has to be a true marketer”
Anglepoise, Owners John and Simon Terry (father and son team) Design Council website 2013-12-02 “Anglepoise: relocating, redesigning and reinventing”
Mark Asquith 2013-04-19 Guardian Professional “Efficient marketing strategies for SME’s”
The Marketing Team, Lloyds Bank 2013-11-11 LloydsBankBusiness.com “Marketing Online”
Emma Woollacott 2012-07-03 businesszone.co.uk “How to make the internet work for your small business”
Daniel Offer 2011-03-02 The Marketing Donut, Resources for your business,
“11 cheap (or free) advertising methods to grow your business.”
Deren Stevens 2013-11-12 MarketingEmpire.co.uk
“50 Free Or Cheap Advertising Ideas For Offline and Online Marketing!”
unknown author 2013-12-02 businessdictionary.com “afiliate marketing”