When there is no cash for marketing, think out of the box

Rose Muthon@rosemuthoniN

Starting a business can gobble up all your capital and savings, leaving you with little or nothing for other important facets of business, such as marketing.

But marketing being very important for growth, here are several ways to market a business with the little cash that remains afterour business.

Use your imagination, it is free

Creativity, originality and imagination are absolutely free. All you need is to use your God-given abilities to conceive ways to market your business. If you run a restaurant for example, a chalk board can do wonders, for example. Let passersby know just how amazing you meals are by highlighting that fact on the board placed strategically outside your eatery. How about branding a few t-shirts and having your employees wear them? You see, with a little imagination, you can actually move products faster.

Leverage on social media

Social media has revolutionalised how we do business. In such a short time, it has helped build business and crash others. But in your case, you can use social media, at a small fee or for free, to market your startup. There are many social media sites as there are audiences. Popular social media channels include Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, LinkedIn, Google Plus and Snapchat.

Each are unique and require specific ways of engagement. According to Entrepreneur magazine though, rather than trying to master it all at once, choose a few you like and try to master those first.

3. Create valuable content

Big businesses might have huge chunks of money set aside for marketing, but if they mint out shoddy content, then no one will buy. But with your limited budget, you can create special content that can attract new customers. Not only do potential customers love great content, but so does Google. This is where sharing valuable information comes in. There are many ways to share information – blogging, creating videos, hosting podcasts, designing infographics or submitting articles to online authority sites. This might in the long run make you an influencer but at the same time get you free traffic. You don’t always have to produce the content yourself. You can hire freelance writers, graphic designers and personal assistants through websites. If you run out of ideas, you can repackage old content and give it a new spin.

Milk the media

Getting a mention in the media equals free marketing. Capturing the attention of the media is not as complicated as you may think. You can always create a publicity stunt. The famous Virgin Airlines boss Richard Branson once dressed as a female flight attendant onboard his airline and invited the media to cover it. Remember, media loves bizarre stories – the man eat dog type. Doing something for your community is another way that can attract media attention. If you are a hairdresser, for example, you can offer makeovers to homeless people and invite your local TV station to cover it. Another way to leverage on the media is to sponsor an event that is bound to get coverage by donating your products or services as giveaways or prizes. You can always nominate your business contest or award. If you win, even better!

Help yourself by helping others

According to the Entrepreneur magazine, all your marketing should be of some importance to your target audience. There are many ways that you can make marketing efforts a welcome intrusion, rather than an irritant, to your audience. Providing useful information is one way to do it. Information marketing has proven to be highly effective in increasing sales. By educating your audience on problems they care about, you are also not only growing your customer base, but also positioning yourself as a solution provider. To do this, host a WhatsApp group, an event, a class or even an online webinar. Offer to speak at events.

Question and answer sessions on your website or popular sites are also very important. Provide assistance by answering questions posted on forums and websites and direct your audience to your website for more information.

Life is too stressful. Offer your audience an opportunity to laugh, but you can also flip the coin and make them cry. These can be effective ways to market your venture. Think of the funny and touching ads that you see and how quickly they are shared and create some yourself.

On a limited budget therefore, you can still market your business by just being a bit more creative and by daring to think out of the box.

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