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?
Look at Domino’s on how they leverage the potholes problems in US towns by adding their own brands on each of the repairs they conducted.
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.
Read more about what I wrote on selecting the right social media influencer for your small business.