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All businesses need customers. Without them, you can’t earn a profit and sustain your shop. Customers are attracted to good quality products, low prices, wide selections, and excellent service. But all those things won’t reel in customers unless they know you’re there. You need market your business first and let your potential customers that you’re offering these things and more.
For startups and small business owners, marketing may be the last thing in their checklist because of their limited budget. They would rather spend it on setting up their shop and on developing their products. But nowadays, even new business with little to no budget can market themselves all thanks to the internet.
If you’re a new entrepreneur or small business owner, there are ways you can promote your store and products with a shoestring budget.
Create a Website
Starting a business needs money, and it will cost more if you plan to open a physical shop. Instead of paying for expensive rent and shop upkeep, why not go online to do your business and create your own website?
A website will not only help you sell your product; it will also help you market your products. You can hire a professional developer to create your own website or use an online e-commerce platform to build your shop with a few mouse clicks. Many ecommerce sellers prefer retail platforms like Shopify because it’s convenient and provides the tools you need to run a business online. With your own website, you can be more searchable on the internet, reach out to a wider market, post your own content, and do a lot more.
Leverage Social Media Platforms
If you’re looking for people, then social media is where you need to be. You need to get active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and other big social media platforms in order not to miss out on huge opportunities to promote your business.
Social media advertising may be way over your budget, but you don’t really need those to start marketing your business. You can sign up for a free business page and leverage your personal following to kick off your marketing campaign. Then you work continuously, create, and share interesting, informative, and relevant content to attract more attention. There are also plenty free social media marketing tools you can use.
Through social media, you can also find and join communities in your business niche and gain new followers, potential buyers, and business partners.
Be Listed on Internet Directories
Many people use internet directories, like Yahoo, Google, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, when searching for shop and restaurant recommendations. If you want people to be aware of your business, getting listed on internet directories is a great way to do that. The best part is listings are mostly free, but they can have a lot of value for promoting your business.
Website listing are usually part of top-ranking searches, which means they more often than not appear in the first page when you search for recommendations. So even if you can’t get you website on the top search ranks for now, you can still bring traffic and attract customers through listings.
Listings will allow you to link to your own website and social media accounts, provide contact numbers, and gather customer ratings and reviews.
Get Active in Online Communities
It’s easy to find people on the internet. What’s difficult is to find people who are actually interested in what you’re selling. This is the purpose of finding and joining communities in your business niche. When you market in these communities, you’ve already taken the first step of selling your products or services, which to get people interested.
Community members are already looking for the things that you’re selling. What you need to do is to convince them of that your products are good, your prices are reasonable, and your business deserves a chance.
While your main goal is to sell your products, you might not achieve that at the onset by joining communities. However, you can establish yourself as a trusted expert in the field by actively participating in them, and this can attract more business to your shop.
Ask for Reviews
Word of mouth is the oldest and most effective way to market your business. When shoppers love your products or services, they’re bound to talk about it with their family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. They may even go so far as to recommend your shop.
Similarly, if they hate their experience with your business, they may give you negative ratings and reviews and actively discourage people from supporting your shop. Customer feedback can push your business to success, but it can also bring it to ruin.
For a startup or a small business, you don’t have as many advantages as big business have to convince customers to trust you. That’s why you have to milk every successful transaction by asking for a rating and review (preferably positive). This is one way you can build your repute and attract more potential customers.
Create Relevant Content
Every marketing goal you reach is just another step in the ladder. When it comes marketing, there’s no true end goal as long as you want your business to continue being successful. As such, you never stop promoting your business and products or services.
Creating relevant content will help you gain attention and stay on top even when newer, and maybe better, businesses enter the market. The content you create will help establish your expertise and repute in the field. Ultimately, it will make your business the choice that customers will always pick.
While you can be the sole owner of your shop, you really can’t run a business alone. Aside from your employees or staff, you need partners and affiliates to reach out to a wider or a more specific audience.
If you don’t have your own followers yet, you can build relationships with those who already have them, like famous bloggers, influencers, and other businesses. You can create a partnership or affiliation where you get mutual benefits.
For example, you can offer an affiliate program for bloggers and social media personalities. They will let their followers know all about your products or services, and they earn a commision for every purchase made through the link they shared.
There are other ways you can leverage your partnerships with internet personalities. You can try guest blogging, ask for product reviews, and be part of product listings.
Do Contests Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are two ways you can bring attention to your business. People love to win prizes and get freebies. If you offer exciting rewards, more people will be interested to join your contest and giveaway events, and this will generate more attention to your business.
Giveaway events is also a way to show your appreciation to your existing customers, which is necessary to encourage trust and loyalty.
Marketing is a vital part of running a business. It the primary way you can bring in new customers in your shop, but it also works to convince your old customers to keep supporting your business. Big marketing campaigns may be out of your league for now (as startup entrepreneur or a small business owner), but you can still promote your shop with little to no cost. Take advantage of everything the internet has to offer you and propel your business to success.