How Small Businesses can market without money

Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash How Small Businesses can market without money


" During my interaction with business people around Nigeria, I realised a lot of small businesses lack visibility, amongst other business issues. Some see Marketing as a dreaded technical jargon that requires at least five years of constant dissection of marketing books from Oxford and Harvard. While marketing requires a certain level of knowledge and continuous practice – like any other thing. What entrepreneurs do not understand is that they are indeed already doing marketing of some sort."



Ultimately almost every business person agrees that marketing is the heart of a successful business. Your business, in no small extent, relies solely on successful marketing which is like an umbrella covering: Public relations, advertising, promotion, and sales.


Unbundling Marketing

Marketing in itself is defined in many ways by different experts, and it's understood differently by different people. I would describe it as all the set of activities carried out by a business to enhance the visibility (buying and selling) of a product or service to its ideal customers.

So at its basic, Marketing is: Taking product or service – Identifying its potential customers and – drawing customer's attention to the product or service.

Overcoming the Marketing Phobia

During my interaction with business people around Nigeria, I realised a lot of small businesses lack visibility, amongst other business issues. Some see Marketing as a dreaded technical jargon that requires at least five years of constant dissection of marketing books from Oxford and Harvard. While marketing requires a certain level of knowledge and continuous practice – like any other thing. What entrepreneurs do not understand is that they are indeed already doing marketing of some sort.


Read Entrepreneurship Do's and Don'ts


How then can you market without actual marketing?

Besides the essential but necessary traditional way of marketing your business – market research, profiling target markets, and every other thing it covers. Start by doing those things you're already indulging in well.

Communication is integral part of marketing, so don't just send that shabby email, text or WhatsApp message. Read it thoroughly and ensure you don't only pass across the word but do so in a polite and friendly manner. Check for grammar and spelling errors.


Network with past or potential customers

Send Thank you Emails and messages – its power is limitless. Let the customer know how much you valued their patronage.

Have drinks or lunch with a prospective client and never forget to always link your business to your stories or experiences.

Identify influencers – You don't have to get a Davido or Wizkid for your small business. Look for a niche-based influencer. Could be someone the community loves, an OAP, a youth leader, a fashion critic, or an advocate in a particular niche that is similar to your business. Note that our emotions towards people are dynamic – we may love today, and hate tomorrow. Trade carefully when leveraging the power of influencers.


Give out free product or service – it is better to use that 20k earmarked for radio and TVor whatever ads you want to do, to offer a free product or service to potential customers.

Are you selling clothes? Give influencers your clothes to try on for free and do reviews.

Are you selling headphones? Offer free headphones to popular Instagrammers to use.

Graphic designer? Design for that church or community project for free. Sometimes we have to give a piece to get back.


Focus on decision-makers with the ability to purchase instead of large crowds – I mentioned giving out free products or services, right? Well, focus on people that can either drive others to buy or have the capability of buying.


Nurture your loyal customers – excellent customer service, delivering on promises, communicating regularly, making use of complaints and feedback to improve your product or service. These are always to keep a customer loyal. Leverage on technology and Social media sites to drive interactions.


Final Thoughts

Marketing for a company never stops. As a startup or owner of a small business, you are most likely doing 90% of the work required. Understanding the power of these "false marketing" techniques will help you weather the storm. Never stop learning and improving, attend events, seminars and boot camps. Pay for classes. Read books offline and online, and remember you are increasing the chances of keeping your business alive. 


CURATED BY IBEREDEM GODWIN

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Thursday, 05 December 2019
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