Whilst Marketing is an integral part of the success of any business, there are many ways you can be effective without the need for a large investment. But remember, you cannot hope to achieve commercial success in a business venture without a strongly designed marketing and sales promotion campaign.
The first acid test of your marketing plan will come from your investors and the venture capitalists that you will approach for funding. One of the first questions you will hear is “how to you propose to market your product/ service on a tight budget?”
Reach out by blogging and networking
Blogs are free and require nothing apart from a flair for writing and some creativity. If you feel that you do not possess the requisite skills for maintaining a blog, hire somebody for the job. Professional bloggers will do a good job at very reasonable charges and you will get an online platform in which you can market your products totally free of cost.
Start reading up blogs of people who have done similar work or who are in the same profession. Leave comments and they will feel encouraged to follow your posts. Internet marketing experts are of the opinion that professional blogs are better in terms of traffic generation than company websites as blogs serve as a reading platform to interested parties.
Post the links to your blog on your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter profiles and also give out the link in your company website.
Develop your own PR Circle
If you have any friends who work in local newspapers or radio channels, you can ask them to help you out with your press release. When you are launching a new product/service, make sure you have a crisp attractive press release ready.
Now take reprints of the same matter and circulate it amongst your existing customer database and PR websites. There are several local news channels that are always on the look-out for local entrepreneurial venture stories and you can try your chances to see if you fit the bill.
Go to events where the relevant media might be for your business and see if you can meet a reporter. Tell them about your business. Leave them a business card.
Use the F word frequently
Everybody in India loves the word “Free”. Consumers are automatically drawn towards ad spaces that have the word free regardless of the actual financial worth of the free product/service. The best way to go about this is to announce customer meets and free product samples to those who attend.
You can be sure that there will be a lot of people bringing in their friends and relatives (read potential customers) to check out your products. Early bird contests can also provoke a lot of customer turn around.
Be creative and thoughtful
In India, the small business clientele is generally strong on loyalty provided you can make them feel special. You need not spend a lot of money. Small things like thoughtfully worded wishes and perhaps a small discount coupon for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries (for your customers) can work wonders.
Maintain a database of birthdays and anniversaries of customers on your computer and work on the same. Be smart enough to couple the greeting card/discount coupon you send them with a small mailer detailing the news of your latest product/ service packages.
Spend time on Social Media
Where are your customers likely to be? If you are targeting enterprise companies or people overseas then chances are LinkedIn is a place you should be spending 30mins everyday networking and contributing to discussions.
If you are targeting consumers in India then Facebook is your platform. Again, start a Facebook page for your business and spend time contributing (not marketing or selling) on other peoples pages. Start discussions and add to them. Its the best way for you to be highly thought of.
Also, visit websites where your customers might visit. See if they have a blog. Alot of blogs these days have the facebook blog comments plugin (see below this blog post as Zoostr also uses it). Use this to add to the discussion. If you are targeting small business owners in India then leave a comment below and add how you might market a small business in India. This way you can show your expertise and get some exposure of you or your brand.