Low Budget Solutions to Market Your Business

Marketing is an essential tool for selling products and growing your business. Unfortunately not all businesses have ample budgets to meet this front-end expense. But this doesn’t mean that they are left with no choice. There are a couple of low budget solutions that can help small entrepreneurs with their marketing endeavours. Social media and content marketing are two of the most affordable low budget solutions to market your business.

marketing strategy

Social media has a very wide reach for marketing your products. Even big businesses who can afford to pay for billboards and TV advertisements utilize social media tools to promote their products. Small businesses with zero budget for advertising can start by creating social media pages for their business. This would at least put their products out there within reach of a network of people. You’d also have to work on your posts and tweets so people would want to share them and broaden your exposure. If you want to make your presence felt in the market, then you would have to invest a bit. You can place paid advertisements or sponsored messages to social network users to promote your products. Don’t worry because these ads aren’t as expensive as traditional ads.

Creating a webpage or a blog are also low budget solutions to market your business. Having your own webpage makes it easy for consumers to get to know and purchase your products. A professional looking and user friendly webpage is a great way to boost the image of a business. You can also use the webpage to share positive feedback from satisfied customers. It also helps to have a blog with informative and engaging content to keep people interested in what you have to offer.

Image source: Pexels

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How to Do Video Marketing for Small Businesses

You cannot get left behind by technology these days. Consumers are eager to get everything they need fast and in the most exciting way possible. It’s not enough anymore to simply have an online store and distribute your links to your target market or even to your affiliate marketers. You have to be more aggressive than that in getting your brand, products, and services noticed by the people you want to patronize your business. One of the more exciting ways through which you can promote your business is video marketing for small businesses. This is not a complicated thing to do. In fact, it can be done quite easily with tools that are already accessible to you.

video marketing

Get on the Social Networks

The first step to video marketing for small businesses is to get on the social networks. You need to have a social network account where you can “gather” your target market. This will be where the interaction happens. These interactions will open up a host of possibilities for you to get your customers hooked. You can also use the information you gather from your social network account to tailor fit your video to the preferences of your target market.

Produce High Quality Videos

You cannot have a boring video. If you are to be successful in using video marketing as a promotional tactic, you need to take the time to produce content with high quality. You should know what your target market wants and you should be able to present your products and services in a manner that is most appealing to them. Be cautious of overloading your video with information. The beauty of video marketing is that you can keep on coming up with new ones. You do not necessarily have to tackle everything in one video. In fact, having a video series of relevant and useful information could actually give your target a reason to keep you in mind.

Drum Up Interest

Once you have uploaded your video, you have to start sharing and getting your followers or friends to share it too. A well-crafted video will not be difficult to “sell” at all. When they are “affected” by what they see in your video, your audience will most likely think of other people in their own circles who will be interested in the same information. This broadens your target market instantly. Another great way to drum up interest in your video is to have a contest or a promo to involve your target market. It can be as simple as having the most number of shares or it could be something more personal such as creating a similar video containing their own experiences with your products and services. In this type of promotion, your video becomes a way to generate testimonials as well. All things considered, video marketing for small businesses is something that you cannot just overlook.

Image Credits:
Nongpimmy – FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Paid Surveys: The Fun and Fruitful Way to Share Your Thoughts

Online surveys, reviews and recommendations can make or break a brand – whether it’s about food, gadget or clothing. With more people using the internet to gain information on things that interest them, reading about the real score on the product really matters, thus every consumer opinion counts for every brand. This is what Crowdology specializes in. Contributing in paid surveys is a fun way of sharing your opinions and earning something as you take your time and complete each poll.

surveys

Most brands seek the services of market research companies to get information on how to improve their products for the better. They want first hand experiences for their products and whether these products have satisfied their consumers. These research companies then are responsible for finding a representative number of participants who are willing to share their thoughts and opinions about certain brands or products through polls or surveys.

You may discover that there are hundreds of online paid survey sites, but you have to choose carefully which one to join. There are those that promise high payout but actually underpay and mistreat their members. However there are also those that would treat each survey participant as a valued member and will fairly pay for the time and effort given on each poll or survey that is completed.

As a consumer with first-hand experience on certain products, you can share your thoughts or opinions on these items to other consumer or to its manufacturer by completing polls and surveys. Through sites such as Crowdology, you can help other interested buyers decide whether it’s a good buy or not. You can also send your vote to the maker on whether their product has satisfied you as a consumer or it needs more improvement. And because your opinion matters, you will be rewarded for taking your time to share it through these polls and surveys.

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What Really Happens in Direct Marketing and Selling?

direct marketing

An Example of Direct-Action Advertising (Photo Credit to: Sara Karen/Pinterest)

Direct Marketing is a consolidated strategy by which the seller, in effecting the exchange of products and services with the customer, directs efforts to an identified market using one or additional medium like:

 • Direct selling
• Direct mail
• Telemarketing
• Direct-action advertising
• Catalogue selling
• Cable TV selling

The aim is to solicit a reply through telephone or mail and a personal visit by a prospect or customer. In short, the organizations directly contact the target customers in the hopes of sparking interest, generating a response, and completing a transaction.

Sending mail to prospects is easy but could take some time before results are achieved. On the other hand, you could use a 1300 number that customers can call for faster transactions. Of course, if you are getting a 1300 number, you need to choose a set of numbers or pattern that prospects would easily remember. You must also be aware of the rates and benefits of a 1300 number so your business can take advantage of it fully.

Direct selling first began with Yankee vendors selling their goods to the colonies. When business forms developed, peddling declined, and retail outlets opened. However, manufacturers were not satisfied with this retail manner of commerce, so they started direct sales into their sales force to promote their goods. The men involved in direct selling were very organized. They believed they could compete with the retail market because at that time, retail establishments were incapable of providing adequate services and good quality as well. Direct selling took over the retail market based on their product advantages, convenience to the customer, and specialized knowledge about their distributors. Avon Products is an example of a successful direct sales business that began in the late 19th century.

Approach

Direct Selling is a type of direct marketing that involves personally presenting, demonstrating, and selling merchandise and services to buyers in their homes. In direct marketing, there are no intermediaries – a product is sold directly to the consumer – whereas personal selling is a one-on-one selling the sales person visiting a prospect and able to close a sale.

Pros and Cons of Direct Marketing

1. Direct mail strategy is found to be very effective to reach target audience.
2. Direct mail gives highest customer response fast.
3. When you advertise on a magazine, it would take a month for your ad to appear, so it takes longer to see the result or response of potential customers. Results of direct mail campaign can be seen in days.
4. In direct mailing, the mailing piece can be personalized with color application, appropriate photos, and use of a different font. This is not allowed in newspaper ads. They have a set of standards. Graphics is crucial in direct mail marketing piece.
5. Existing customers give a better response unlike than addressee who has never heard about the company and its product or service before. The existing customers are the best customers.
6. An offer of something free gets a better response than a discount offer.
7. Direct mail when received by prospects either ends up as follows – opened to find out what’s inside, while some discard them. Direct mail is more popularly known as junk mail.
8. Direct mail is affected by the rising cost of postage and promotional materials. It is also time-consuming writing down addresses or even pasting the labels.

Direct Marketing and Selling: Strengths and Weaknesses

  1. Direct selling is an advantage for a company. It sends a commission-earning salesperson directly to the qualified leads instead of waiting for the client to call or contact the company. A good salesperson, during his home-visit presentation, creates a need for a product and fills the need. Customers feel more in-charge of a transaction if done at home or office than at the store.
  2. One thing that repels customers is the pressure put on them to buy products or avail of services. Customers complain of commission-based salespersons who pressure them into buying, and that certainly leads to dissatisfaction and lost customers. Other offices or exclusive communities do not allow direct selling, resulting in a smaller customer base. Others prefer to prolong decision to buy until after they have done comparison-shopping.
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Online or Offline: Choosing Your Marketplace

The world of business has grown. The walls have been knocked down and geographical boundaries have been erased by the interconnection that the internet providers. Today, even an individual can do business from one location and transact with a customer from clear across the globe. In a way, this levels the playing field between bigger players and smaller business owners. Even with their own limited budgets, small business owners can reach their target customers and generate revenues through various channels. The question now for small business owners is which is more profitable, online e-commerce or offline bricks and mortar stores.

marketplace

There are pros and cons to both. While a bricks and mortar store requires a bigger capital and cash outlay for inventory, it gives customers a tangible place to visit and inspect the goods they want to buy. However, this also limits the store’s customer base to those who are within a certain distance from the store’s location. With an online store, you can reach your customers anytime, anywhere. While you address the accessibility factor, you lose the tangibility aspect that some customers are looking for.

The best marketplace is a combination of both online and offline presence. Although you might not have the capital for a bricks and mortar store, you should at least have a facility to address the need of your customers see you as a real company worthy of doing business with. At the very least, you should have a customer service or technical support facility where your customers can talk to real people about their product inquiries and concerns. You also need a strong logistics and delivery support services especially if you are dealing with fast moving consumer goods. These should be combined with online accessibility that gives your customer the convenience of getting information about your products and services anytime they need it. And with aggressive use of online marketing tools, there is no limit to how far small and medium scale businesses can go.

Image Credit:
Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

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