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As if starting a brand new business is not daunting enough, entrepreneurs have to contend with one form of marketing or the other so their businesses can be seen (and heard). Of all the costs associated with starting a brand new business, marketing (or advertising) is one of the most expensive and important.
The equation is simple, for your trade or business to function and make profit, customers need to know about it, for customers to know about it, you need to advertise it. Marketing strategists command so much money these days that its almost impossible for most startups to even consider using their services. But there is hope! There are some simple, cheap (or free) and effective marketing tools that can help promote your new business to the public. Here are 5 of the best ones.
Use Social Media: The use of social media for marketing and promotional purposes has exploded in the past few years. Facebook and Twitter especially is probably the most effective platform for business users to date. The trick is simple – rather than pay thousands to ‘marketing gurus’, simply lump your business on Facebook or Twitter and it will be seen by millions in seconds. What’s best, its FREE to advertise on these platforms. However, for your marketing campaign to be effective, you’ll have to be concise in the description of your company, check for spelling mistakes, include at least 1 eye-catching logo and use your friends and family to help you spread the word. Also, businesses who use Facebook and/or Twitter effectively endeavour to post daily. Its a win/win activity!. You can even use Facebook to target specific customers, regions, gender and age groups. Don’t forget, anything you post on Facebook and Twitter will be seen by millions, so do yourself a favour and ensure your content makes sense and describes your business.
Entrepreneurial Marketing: Also known as one-to-one marketing. EM is the simplest but the most effective tool because you are basically marketing yourself. Entrepreneurial marketing is really about combining marketing methods to market and build your business. Networking, personal branding are all examples of entrepreneurial marketing. If for example your new business is plumbing, you could attend networking events for builders or consumers which will inevitably attract consumers that need the services of builders (plumbers included). Attending that event dressed with the name and logo of your business embroidered on your top is an example of Entrepreneurial Marketing because you are simply marketing yourself and your business to people directly. Its easy because you can choose the events to attend and effective because the more events you attend, the more your business will be seen. There are various other ways EM can work for you, but Networking and Self Branding is the cheapest.
Trade by Barter (exchange of services): Many Entrepreneurs fail to capitalise on the effectiveness of trade by barter. If you approach an established business and are willing to trade a service (or product) in return for them to place your name or Logo on their Website, Newsletter or as part of the suppliers for their events, you are effectively promoting your business without breaking the bank. The important thing to note is that quite a lot of established companies are willing to help startups these days, so why not give it a try? I once approached an established business who I knew spend a lot of money promoting themselves globally and asked if I could recommend clients to them directly on the condition that they include me on their website. They thought it was a fantastic idea! Its a possibility, don’t be too shy to try it.
Home-made promotional materials: Even if you are not a guru with basic software packages like Power Point, Word and Paint you must have a friend or family who can put a simple flyer design together. Creating a promotional material for the use of marketing your business is unbelievably simple. You can even start small by putting the details on the front side of an A4 paper, print out the required copies and post them in the areas of your choice. I know Cafe owners who simply printed their first flyers from their homes. If you are more advanced with the use of Power Point, you could make some killer designs from your home and distribute them on Facebook, Twitter and share the hard copies with your friends, family and associates.
Industry bloggers: Sometimes they are called influencers, bloggers can very easily place you on a map for your chosen industry to see. Bloggers with a multitude of followers can at a touch of a button promote your business to their followers but these guys can cost a pretty penny. This is why initially, you should approach bloggers with not as much but decent enough level of followers. The price won’t be as steep and some of them could do it for you for free since most bloggers do it for the joy derived from writing (or so they say).
These are some of the most effective, yet cheap(est) ways for you to promote your brand new business without having to go further into debt by paying for marketing and promotional services.