Nafas Yoga KL is a yoga studio business founded by two friends Suhanna & Zafie. Their mission is to become the best yoga community in the city of Kuala Lumpur. Find out more about them on Instagram @nafasyogakl (more links below).
Small businesses with great products often fail due to its inability to get themselves in front of the mass market.
Despite of the successes of multiple social media platforms, traditional marketing mediums remain to be outside the budget limits of most small businesses.
In today’s article, I’ll share with you top ten ways to market your business with a small budget.
There are a number of websites now that offer free advertisements if you wish to sell product/service such as Mudah.my, Carousell and more.
You can even post advertisement on Facebook Groups which is specifically built for the purpose.
If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money, you can always go for Facebook Ads as it also posts your ad on Instagram – which means you are able to extend your market reach further.
Although, keep in mind that it is important to target your market specifically – or you’ll risk having only traffic to your business but without much sale.
2. Press Releases
Press releases can be expensive depending on which medium you approach. It goes without saying, the larger the news, the more expensive it becomes.
However, if you’re able to attract enough attention from public, most news medium are more likely to come over and have a look at what the big deal is.
Release a statement that you’re organizing a charity event or that you’re helping homeless people to build their homes. Organize events, followed by invitations to news media to cover the stories. It’s a cheap form of publicity.
Sponsorship is not as easy you’d think. Quite a number of entrepreneurs often mistaken that it’s always best to sponsor any events that attract the most customers. While these kind of events can be very expensive, it is also attracting people who are not in your targeted market.
If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know it’s always best to avoid or reduce reliance on the ‘numbers’ game – where the more is better. This is expensive and is kind of a gamble.
Personally, I feel it is best to narrow down the number of consumers by categorizing them into who would need and benefit the most from your product/service. Whilst the market has been minimized to smaller number of consumers, the chances of getting sales return is promising.
For example, if you are selling affordable designer handbags – sponsor a group of fashion influencers who attract women looking for international branded designs but with cheaper price tag. If you sell athletic watches – a group of fitness enthusiasts/celebrity fitness trainers. You get the idea.
Play with numbers where you can afford to lose in case things go south.
4. Media Stunts/Guerrilla Marketing
Media stunts are effective in creating buzz.
Remember when Richard Branson drove a tank through the city?
Or do you remember when Elon Musk launch his Tesla to space?
While small businesses can’t compete at the level of those billionaires, there’s nothing you can’t do with a little bit of ingenuity and creativity.
For a small business, start looking around your neighboring area for things that you feel need to be addressed.
Provide a solution and stamp your brands all over it to create awareness of your company.
Don’t forget to invite news reporters too.
5. Make more use of your business cards
Your business cards are a form of investment – so use it wisely.
It’s not a matter of simply distributing those cards among your family and friends, it’s about creating the need for them to ask for your business cards.
For example, back when I ran Mirsky Mode, I often meet up with my lady friends to catch up on things where I always bring up the ‘handbag’ conversation. We’ll talk about the design, brand and the expensive price tag of the bag. Once we get to the price, talk your way into how your company offers designer handbags for an affordable price. They would immediately ask for a card or even check out your online store on the spot!
This can also be applied to other industries too.
The important thing to do is to make sure the person you intend on distributing the business card is a part of your targeted market – or you’ll risk of wasting away that card.
Then, create a need for them to find out more about your business
6. Join a local networking group
A business that does not connect often fails.
Your company needs to be connected with people to gain their support.
By becoming emotionally connected with people, you are adding value to the relationship. Build on it and when the time is right, people will start visiting you to see what your business has to offer.
I’ve often made new friends from online meetup sites such as Meetup and AirBnB activities.
If you visit the local public library or town hall, there will be notice boards on local events or gathering too.
Pay a visit to one of them and start building relationship with people.
7. Use self-employed sales agents
This is a cheap alternative selling method.
Self-employed sales agents do not take large commissions from you since they do not have to pay any sales agency fees.
They are also highly motivated and very good at working independently.
This is great for you since you do not need to spend too much time on training/teaching them the ropes as they can get the things done on their own.
8. Leaflet drops
The key of a successful leaflet drop is to pick the right market to distribute to.
Leaflet drops is a numbers’ game. Traditionally, the more you distribute, the higher chances of getting sales. This costs money.
Instead, narrow down your market. Target those who you feel the most likely to be interested in your product/service.
Pay more attention to the design of the leaflet. Be more emotionally connected with the consumers on the issues of what your business offers to resolve. Selling part comes later.
I’m not a huge fan of traditional leaflet drops but since I know a few businesses that successfully gain results from it, I’d share with you nonetheless – but with caution as it could costs much money and time which small businesses can’t afford.
9. Give talks to other businesses
I’ve given talks on investment once and learned few things from it.
First, you gain new connection who are in similar fields or interest. This is a no-brainer.
Just be sure to leave your contact or company’s contact details so they can find out more about your business.
Secondly, during Q&A session, I’ve managed to understand what troubles or issues people are experiencing in the field respectively.
The sessions gave me direct insight and I’ve learned numerous issues which my company can help resolve. A win-win.
10. Write for your favorite e-magazines/blogs or create your own newsletter
Contributing articles is a must for bloggers and even writers nowadays.
Reasons are that you will extend your market reach to the blogs you’re contributing to. Don’t forget to leave links back to your blog (with permission, of course). If readers enjoy your writing, they will know where to look to find you.
Being a writer, I’m very fond of this idea. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed writing fiction and as I grew older – business topics. So, why not use this to advantage in growing business?
11. Collaborate With Social Media Influencers
In this digital age where social media thrives able to flood your business with traffic/consumers, you’d best take full advantage of it. Plus, it’s cost varies from low-to-zero.
Influencers’ endorsements are definitely cheap compared to celebrities’. They can help influence their followers with a click of several buttons and your business will be on the ‘maps!’
While some agree to promote your business on reasonable fees, there are also those who simply accept your product/service as payment. It all comes down to negotiation and their popularity rating. Rest assured, they will cost you a lot less than celebrities.
There are numerous creators who have already added their content on the platform and even received partnership offers.
Even an article by Bloomberg have found that large numbers of creators are also moving and/or diversifying towards Ethereum-based platform such as Viewly due to its interesting potential and consistent policies unlike Youtube.
The reason a number of sites are popping up lately (time I write this) is due to constant changes of Youtube policies lately.
That and the fact Youtube seems to be inconsistent when it comes to enforcing their rules and regulations are starting to drive a number of creators looking for another platform to share their content.
And when barriers of entry loosen up, competition will start pouring in soon.
I’m not saying Youtube will lose.
What I’m saying is – this could potentially lead to more platforms competing.
Most of the benefits from that competition will go to content creators such as Youtubers; and it’s competitors will start offering better support and higher ad revenue in order to remain relevant.
This is why I believe the future of content creators, particularly video creators, is going to be more optimistic as more opportunities and potentially better ad revenue will be available soon.
Consequently, this is an opportunity for entrepreneurs (especially solo-preneurs) to create another stream of income by adding valuable video content on these platforms.
So, time to pick up another skill, future millionaires!
Following calls that Tesla Motors brand was too luxe to consider producing an electric truck, Elon Musk went on Twitter with “I hate the whole idea of brands and branding.”
Being dubbed as the world’s first “Influencer CEO”, it was a surprise to many since Musk has embraced strategic branding tactics – and doing very well at it too.
How is he good at it?
Well, here are the 3 lesson we can learn from Elon Musk about branding.
1. Stick to the mission.
Elon Musk insisted his business decisions by stating his main focus is the relentless pursuit of developing technology for the good of humanity.
Once, Musk even maintained his “mission of accelerating the advent of sustainable transport and energy, which is important for all life on Earth.”
Musk had to make touch calls including firing colleagues and prioritizing projects over contracted commitments.
Despite the occasional tweet-storm, or tantrum, he has achieved icon status among general public particularly from the Milennial generation.
He achieved this due to his consistent statements on renewable energy and investing in the future world. Elon Musk managed to make the industry ‘cool’.
In a nutshell, he has the vision and mission which he commands his company(s) to pursue relentless, sticks to it even when it ‘bites’ his credibility; and earned loyal followers who appreciate the dedication.
2. Know when to apologize.
“It takes years to build trust, and a single blunder to lose it all.”
Reputation is difficult to build and doesn’t get easier to maintain. It’s all about timing.
As an executive decision maker, you must learn the importance of owning up to your mistakes and the right way to do it.
Let’s take Musk’s as an example. In a conference call, Mr Musk became impatient, and probably annoyed, with two Wall Street analysts and berated them for their “boring, bonehead questions.” Tesla shares dropped quickly after.
For the next meeting, Elon Musk quickly tried different approach when describing the company outlook and profitability predictions.
He even gave a sincere apology for what was said to the analysts – admitting he was wrong.
Musk didn’t become the most inspirational leader by winning the “popular vote.”
Unlike most CEOs, Musk has little regard for political, legal or financial consequences to his companies by sticking to what he believes in.
For instance, Musk tried to pioneer the ‘green’ car company Tesla despite calls by big players in the auto industry how it will be a ‘fluke’ and the resulting failure could cost billions of dollars.
Let’s face it, before Musk came into the scene, electric cars weren’t so attractive to the general consumers. It wasn’t only unappealing. It lacked battery life, recharging issues, low distance travel and so on. The idea of electric cars replacing the conventional ones seem too far fetched.
When Musk came in, he changed the scene. The car wasn’t only practical, but it looks sleek. With it, the car comes with ‘perfect’ crash tests which no other car makers achieved.
He turned an unpopular idea into mainstream success.
My Final Two Cent
Despite of his successes, Musk isn’t done yet.
He continues to hype up his companies’ potential to disrupt almost every major industry.
By consistently investing in sustainable technology and leveraging all platforms to spread his philosophy, Elon Musk has become one of the most important business and innovation leaders for the past decade – and perhaps for more to come.
In my view, he is the most important human being right now – in aspects developing the future for human race. And if you haven’t noticed, I am an admirer of Elon Musk’s philosophies and work ethics.
Other CEOs are strongly advised to revise their own brand-messaging strategies. Start doing the right thing – and the general masses will follow.
Katrina Dubrovskaya is a model-entrepreneur based in Moscow, Russia. She has been featured in numerous magazines & commercials worldwide. She also is the founder of Kato Wear, a clothing line she personally designs. Find out more about her on Instagram @katrina_model (links below).