Marketing your small business is an everyday battle, not everyone is willing to show up for, and I don’t blame time, its time consuming and doesn’t always guarantee results.
It’s often best to pay someone to promote your business or spend money on ads, but unfortunately, not everyone can get into the pay to play space or has the margins to play around with to try and reach their audience with a profitable ROI.
It’s even harder when you have no brand recognition and no established audience, and you’re out there hunting down leads either online or offline. Marketing your business for free is not impossible. Still, it can be tough, it’s not a path everyone will be willing to take, but if you are committed and want to make this work without spending on advertising or branding then here are a few tips for you to consider.
Platform like www.classifiedlane.com are the best If you’re looking to sell, then it makes perfect sense to hang out in places where people are looking to buy, and that is without a doubt classified websites. It’s the digital bargain hunters dream, people visit these sites with the sole intention of buying and browsing for deals, so listing your offerings on these sites for free should be a habit of yours. Classified lane allows you to post your ads for free, so why not make use of their offering.
Freelancers can help you with Marketing. www.jobworldfactory.com has many freelancers willing to assist you with Advertising in South Africa. Job World Factory is a popular place to sell professional services such as web site design and podcast editing. A business profile is free. You pay nothing out of pocket. You keep 80% of each sale; Fiverr gets the rest.
3) Coupons and Vouchers
Offer vouchers to pot customers. Create a voucher for one of your product or service and offer online. Can bring in many customers. Everyone loves a discount. Zolgoo.com offers a massive variety of vouchers, and it’s free for Businesses to register and create their vouchers.
4. Press releases
Each time your business does something relevant or newsworthy don’t sit on the story, use it as an opportunity to get some free press. News sites and PR websites and even radio stations love a good entrepreneurial or social upliftment story. Formulate your story and reach out to local media like radio stations, newspapers, and PR sites and see if they would be willing to share your story with their audience.
PR mentions in media feel far more organic to the reader and provide you with a level of credibility you cannot buy with advertising. Remember not every story is PR worthy and takes a good pitch to have journalists and the media foaming at the mouth about publishing what you have to say so pick your moments and be patient. See also www.smartlightpeople.com the most popular online TV
5. Partner with other businesses
Entrepreneurship isn’t a solo journey, and the more friends you make along the way, the easier it becomes to call in favours or pitch ideas. Businesses are all trying to provide their clients with better value, and if you can pitch that to a business owner, as to how you can improve or supplement their services, they will often take you up on the offer.
Businesses often partner up on a campaign to benefit mutually from the same marketing. Depending on your niche, it could be a complementary service like a makeup artist combining with a hairstylist and sharing their clients and doubling up on service.
These collaborations can be as simple as mentioning each other in social posts and sharing those posts with their followers to as complex as creating a combined service; it really is up to what you both are comfortable with committing.
6. Host a workshop
Hosting a free workshop can position your brand as an authority in your field. A one-day or evening workshop held on your premises will cost next to nothing and will spread the word about your business. If you don’t have an office, partner with another company, restaurant or guest house and share the marketing opportunity, this is also good for networking.
Just ensure the topic is something you know well and relates to your business’ offering in some way. Oh and don’t drag things out too long, gauge the room, make sure people feel their time was well spent and take feedback from attendees to improve your workshops.
7. Constant networking
Networking isn’t all about fancy boozy lunches or breakfasts at the hotels it can be conferences, in Meetup groups or at workshops, always be on the lookout for ways to connect with other people and businesses. It’s a place to make contact and learn, please don’t become that person that’s always pushing their services on people at social events.
No one wants to go to a party to be sold something by a pushy entrepreneur. If it comes up naturally, though, be ready with a brief pitch and a business card.
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8. Creating direct lines of communication
The quickest way to anywhere is a straight line, so I find it strange that entrepreneurs ignore this option. When meeting people via your efforts above make sure to grab their contact details, be it in offline or online interaction, it could be an email address, or a phone number and start creating a customer list.
Categorise each of them by the prospect, client, repeat customer or referral and reach out to them either via email or instant messaging when you have an offer that would interest one of your categories and don’t blast the same message to everyone. That is the quickest way to kill lines of communication, a little subtlety and finesse go a long way when it comes to reaching out to people directly.
9. Conferences, Podcasts and Webinars
Speaking engagements are a way for small business owners to draw attention to their companies — and build a personal brand. Don’t think “hard sell”. Instead, be a thought leader who shares insights and expertise. Speaking can include industry conferences, virtual events, podcasts or YouTube channels with target audiences the same as yours. Compose a compelling title and topic, and send an email offering an executive for interviews or as a speaker. Or partner with another business to produce and cross-promote a webinar.
10. List yourself on directories
If you don’t have a website, local directories are a great place to start, and if you do have a website, it can’t do any harm getting all relevant web directories to send links back to your site. South Africa has several directories you can take advantage of depending on your niche and on how willing you are to go and sign up on all these sights. All you would require is a free email account which you can create with services like Gmail, yahoo mail or proton mail and use that to register with these websites.
I would also recommend having a cellular phone number in case prospects prefer to reach you via call, text or instant messaging and be sure to list this email address and phone number on all your directory listings for consistencies sake.