The essentials of shoestring marketing

Why is marketing so important?

Having a successful marketing strategy for your business is like having a powerful train driving customers through your doors. Once these customers are through your doors, you can then sell them your goods and services. All too often, businesses concentrate their efforts on the sales function without really bothering about marketing, which results in poor sales because customers aren’t coming to buy.

I will assume that you don’t have thousands of pounds to spend on marketing. Even if you have a large budget available, be forewarned that the amount you spend on marketing your business does not necessarily equal the size of your sales.

Learning from larger businesses

Before we look at marketing techniques, I want to tell you about an excellent, free way of getting up-to-the-minute telesales training. Every year big businesses invest millions of pounds training their telesales staff in the latest techniques for telemarketing. As soon as you open your business, you will get bombarded with all sorts of people trying to sell you something. I never buy anything over the phone; even if it’s something I’m interested in, I will only decide if and when I see written information, including terms and conditions.

How to approach a cold sales telephone call

How to approach a cold sales telephone call you’ll learn a lot from how they work the ring to get through to the decision-maker. The last thing they want to do is waste their time selling advertising space to not a decision-maker. So listen to how they make their initial approach. What distinguishes professional telesales executives from the others you’ll get calling you is that the pro will have their homework done. They’ll have the name of who they want to speak to.

How to overcome common objections

The reason I urge you to tell them you’re not interested in that then you’ll learn how to handle initial objections. When taking any complaint, the most important thing is to keep a dialogue going and build up a relationship because people find it more challenging to say no to someone they like. The more objections you raise, the better the lesson becomes. I’ve used many of their techniques to affect my own business significantly.

Coping with rejection

Whatever business you’re planning to start, you’re going to have to learn to handle rejection as you’re going to get it. Often in truck loads. When a professional telesales executive calls you and you make it clear you don’t want whatever they’re selling you, they won’t take it personally.

‘Well, thank you very much for your time this morning, Mr. Power; I appreciate how busy you are, but if you ever do change your mind…’ Professionals will be unfailingly polite, respectful of your time, and also will try to leave the door open by saying something like, ‘Would you mind if I give you a call, let’s say in a couple of months, to see if your situation has changed?’ If they sound friendly and reasonable, the chances are you’ll probably say yes. From their point of view, they’ve succeeded in one goal at least – keeping the door open.

A word about advertising sales executives

Beware, be aware that when someone phones you to sell you advertising space, their primary concern is to make a sale for their business, not necessarily to generate increased business for your company. So imagine for a moment someone rings you entirely out of the blue to tell you all about something great that they say will do your business power of good.

Ten ways to market your business with a small budget

  1. Classified advertisements.
  2. Press releases.
  3. Sponsorship.
  4. Media stunts.
  5. Make more use of your business cards.
  6. Join a local networking group.
  7. Use self-employed sales agents.
  8. Leaflet drops.
  9. Give talks to other businesses.
  10. Write for your favorite hobby magazines or create your newsletter.


Effective marketing needn’t be expensive. A good website supported by a relatively inexpensive but carefully constructed classified ad can be far more effective than an extensive and costly glossy ad. The most important thing to get right with your marketing is, to begin with, a budget.

Work out a figure that covers you for a series of small classified advertisements, website promotion, leaflets, business cards, and any other point-of-sale material your business will require, and then stick rigidly to your budget. The most important thing to remember about advertising is that the amount of money you spend on your marketing will not guarantee you a pro-rata amount of business.

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