How do I market my business cheaply?
20 August 2014
Posted by: Author: Howard Fox
Fox (Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine)
Question: I have a "full service” (no additional costs on
quoted rates) refrigerated truck rental business based in Cape Town. At present
I have a sub-contract with a national transport company that rents the two
vehicles for 3 days per week, there is no room for expansion with this
customer. My first objective is to have the current two vehicles rented 6 days
per week. Second objective is to build up to a fleet of six vehicles within 1
year. How would you approach the marketing of this business in the most cost
This requires business-to-business (often
abbreviated as ‘B2B’) marketing. So we aren’t talking about television or
newspaper adverts here, which target large numbers of consumers. Rather we want
to communicate to the (select) few people who are interested in the
refrigerated trucking business.
Firstly you need to identify prospective
markets for your current and future vehicles. I’m not an expert on trucking and
logistics but it strikes me that there are a few obvious markets:
- Trucking companies that already have
refrigerated vehicles who may wish to augment their current fleet
- Trucking companies who don’t have
refrigerated vehicles who have possible business for refrigerated loads but
don’t have their own vehicles or who don’t have sufficient business to justify
owning a vehicle outright
- Trucking companies outside of Cape Town
(i.e. geographic expansion)
- Short duration / last minute "stand-in”
exactly what you are offering customers
- Next you need to determine why your
prospective customers should do business with you rather than competitors, or
acquire their own trucks. This is the most critical part of marketing and the
If you define a truly unique value
proposition (USP) it’s much easier to interest the market.
Do you intend competing on:
- Lowest price (perhaps for long contract
- Best service?
- Short rental periods (i.e. augmenting
customers’ current fleet for capacity overflow)?
- Unique size or other attribute of your
Don’t underestimate the importance of
having a clear USP. Without it, no matter how much marketing communication you
do, you are unlikely to create market interest and build the business.
Given that your (prospective) customers are
also looking for their own customers, they shouldn’t be too difficult to find.
The Internet is a wonderful marketing tool. Trade associations and associated
suppliers such as clearing agents might also help identify prospects.
Even a prospect that turns you down can
offer important information about other players in the market. The aim is to
really understand who’s who, what type of business they concentrate on and how
they compete. Without this information you are blundering around in the dark.
is marketing too
Get out and sell. Nothing beats a
face-to-face meeting (if possible) or as second best a telephone call. But be
prepared; know exactly to whom you need to speak, what their title and
responsibilities are and what business problem you are in a position to offer
Selling is so effective that unfortunately
everyone is doing it. You need to be able to offer possible business solutions
early in the conversation to retain interest and build rapport.
There is in my view, little value in
conventional advertising under these circumstances. You should however, spend
significant effort creating a well thought-through web site (which these days
effectively replaces the "sales brochure” of old).
You can create a remarkably professional
website yourself for very little cost at WordPress . If budgets allow you could
also consider a limited amount of Google search pay-per-click advertising to
attract prospects to your site. As you only pay for those who click through to
your site, this can be very cost effective.
you get paid, it’s not a sale
The most important business lesson in my
career has been the importance of deciding with whom you are not going to do
business. This is particularly pertinent in a business’ growth phase. Easily
available business might be indicative of unattractive business.
Beware of unscrupulous (prospective)
clients who change suppliers when unpaid suppliers finally refuse to continue
the relationship. Remember that a ‘sale’ until paid for is better described as
to original article: http://www.entrepreneurmag.co.za/ask-entrepreneur/marketing-ask-entrepreneur/how-do-i-market-my-business-cheaply/