11 Ways to Market Your Business with a Small Budget

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Photo by bongkarn thanyakij on Pexels.com
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Small businesses with great products often fail due to its inability to get themselves in front of the mass market.

Despite of the successes of multiple social media platforms, traditional marketing mediums remain to be outside the budget limits of most small businesses.

In today’s article, I’ll share with you top ten ways to market your business with a small budget.

1. Advertisements

There are a number of websites now that offer free advertisements if you wish to sell product/service such as Mudah.my, Carousell and more.

You can even post advertisement on Facebook Groups which is specifically built for the purpose.

If you’re willing to spend a little bit of money, you can always go for Facebook Ads as it also posts your ad on Instagram – which means you are able to extend your market reach further.

Although, keep in mind that it is important to target your market specifically – or you’ll risk having only traffic to your business but without much sale.

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2. Press Releases

Press releases can be expensive depending on which medium you approach. It goes without saying, the larger the news, the more expensive it becomes.

However, if you’re able to attract enough attention from public, most news medium are more likely to come over and have a look at what the big deal is.

Release a statement that you’re organizing a charity event or that you’re helping homeless people to build their homes. Organize events, followed by invitations to news media to cover the stories. It’s a cheap form of publicity.

3. Sponsorship

Sponsorship is not as easy you’d think. Quite a number of entrepreneurs often mistaken that it’s always best to sponsor any events that attract the most customers. While these kind of events can be very expensive, it is also attracting people who are not in your targeted market.

If you’ve followed me long enough, you’ll know it’s always best to avoid or reduce reliance on the ‘numbers’ game – where the more is better. This is expensive and is kind of a gamble.

Personally, I feel it is best to narrow down the number of consumers by categorizing them into who would need and benefit the most from your product/service. Whilst the market has been minimized to smaller number of consumers, the chances of getting sales return is promising.

For example, if you are selling affordable designer handbags – sponsor a group of fashion influencers who attract women looking for international branded designs but with cheaper price tag. If you sell athletic watches – a group of fitness enthusiasts/celebrity fitness trainers. You get the idea.

Play with numbers where you can afford to lose in case things go south.

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4. Media Stunts/Guerrilla Marketing

Media stunts are effective in creating buzz.

Remember when Richard Branson drove a tank through the city?

Or do you remember when Elon Musk launch his Tesla to space?

Look at Domino’s on how they leverage the potholes problems in US towns by adding their own brands on each of the repairs they conducted.

While small businesses can’t compete at the level of those billionaires, there’s nothing you can’t do with a little bit of ingenuity and creativity.

For a small business, start looking around your neighboring area for things that you feel need to be addressed.

Provide a solution and stamp your brands all over it to create awareness of your company.

Don’t forget to invite news reporters too.

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5. Make more use of your business cards

Your business cards are a form of investment – so use it wisely.

It’s not a matter of simply distributing those cards among your family and friends, it’s about creating the need for them to ask for your business cards.

For example, back when I ran Mirsky Mode, I often meet up with my lady friends to catch up on things where I always bring up the ‘handbag’ conversation. We’ll talk about the design, brand and the expensive price tag of the bag. Once we get to the price, talk your way into how your company offers designer handbags for an affordable price. They would immediately ask for a card or even check out your online store on the spot!

This can also be applied to other industries too.

The important thing to do is to make sure the person you intend on distributing the business card is a part of your targeted market – or you’ll risk of wasting away that card.

Then, create a need for them to find out more about your business

6. Join a local networking group

A business that does not connect often fails.

Your company needs to be connected with people to gain their support.

By becoming emotionally connected with people, you are adding value to the relationship. Build on it and when the time is right, people will start visiting you to see what your business has to offer.

I’ve often made new friends from online meetup sites such as Meetup and AirBnB activities.

If you visit the local public library or town hall, there will be notice boards on local events or gathering too.

Pay a visit to one of them and start building relationship with people.

7. Use self-employed sales agents

This is a cheap alternative selling method.

Self-employed sales agents do not take large commissions from you since they do not have to pay any sales agency fees.

They are also highly motivated and very good at working independently.

This is great for you since you do not need to spend too much time on training/teaching them the ropes as they can get the things done on their own.

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8. Leaflet drops

The key of a successful leaflet drop is to pick the right market to distribute to.

Leaflet drops is a numbers’ game. Traditionally, the more you distribute, the higher chances of getting sales. This costs money.

Instead, narrow down your market. Target those who you feel the most likely to be interested in your product/service.

Pay more attention to the design of the leaflet. Be more emotionally connected with the consumers on the issues of what your business offers to resolve. Selling part comes later.

I’m not a huge fan of traditional leaflet drops but since I know a few businesses that successfully gain results from it, I’d share with you nonetheless – but with caution as it could costs much money and time which small businesses can’t afford.

9. Give talks to other businesses

I’ve given talks on investment once and learned few things from it.

First, you gain new connection who are in similar fields or interest. This is a no-brainer.

Just be sure to leave your contact or company’s contact details so they can find out more about your business.

Secondly, during Q&A session, I’ve managed to understand what troubles or issues people are experiencing in the field respectively.

The sessions gave me direct insight and I’ve learned numerous issues which my company can help resolve. A win-win.

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10. Write for your favorite e-magazines/blogs or create your own newsletter

Contributing articles is a must for bloggers and even writers nowadays.

Reasons are that you will extend your market reach to the blogs you’re contributing to. Don’t forget to leave links back to your blog (with permission, of course). If readers enjoy your writing, they will know where to look to find you.

Being a writer, I’m very fond of this idea. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always enjoyed writing fiction and as I grew older – business topics. So, why not use this to advantage in growing business?

11. Collaborate With Social Media Influencers

In this digital age where social media thrives able to flood your business with traffic/consumers, you’d best take full advantage of it. Plus, it’s cost varies from low-to-zero.

Influencers’ endorsements are definitely cheap compared to celebrities’. They can help influence their followers with a click of several buttons and your business will be on the ‘maps!’

While some agree to promote your business on reasonable fees, there are also those who simply accept your product/service as payment. It all comes down to negotiation and their popularity rating. Rest assured, they will cost you a lot less than celebrities.

Read more about what I wrote on selecting the right social media influencer for your small business.

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Tips for Growing Your YouTube Channel

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Commit to Posting to YouTube Multiple Times Per Week

Keeping a regular schedule with multiples posts every week is essential to raise your channel in the algorithm quickly. In fact, multiple reports have indicated that Youtube channels that post multiple posts every week perform much better and also getting more recommended views.

Having tons of content in the beginning on your topics (preferably niche) will help your channel in the algorithm department. By having value, you are not only giving reasons to watch your videos, but also a reason to subscribe.

Begin Each Video With an Interesting Hook

Hooking your viewers to stay and watch is nothing new. It’s been a long practice by movie production each time they release trailers for movies. It’s the same case as you publish a new video. Take the best and interesting parts of your video and compile them together. Remember not to include all of the best bits, but just enough to hook viewers to watch your video till the end. Create enough interest to attract viewers. Think about it.

However you hook viewers, make sure your opener relates directly to the subject matter. Viewers clicked because they were interested, so quickly get into the subject they wanted to hear about in the first place.

Keep Titles and Opening Credits Short

Quite a number of Youtubers (even the seasoned ones) continue to create intro which are considered too long. The whole opening intro should not take more than 5 seconds! Remember this.

People click on your thumbnail to get straight to the video. They don’t want to have to wait to watch your content. Not to forget, the amount of ads viewers go through these days which you need to keep in mind too.

Edit Distractions Out of Your Video

Recording videos can be nerve wrecking, even for seasoned Youtuber. Despite of having scripts written down, there will be some mistakes done along the way such as long pauses, mumbles, out of tune voice, mis-pronounciations and so on. Don’t worry, this happens to everyone. What you need to do is to make the best of it. Remove all the unwanted clips that you don’t want included in the final video. Make it concise and interesting. Don’t give a reason for viewers to click away.

Replicate Topics or Tactics From Top-Performing Videos

This method is what I call ‘reverse-engineering’ other successes.

The idea here is to browse through other top Youtubers in your niche and determine their Most Popular videos in the ‘Videos’ tab.

List down the Top 10 videos and be sure to pay attention to each title and keywords involve.

Once you have acquired these videos, replicate the videos that fit your channel best which include the thumbnails, video description, titles, keywords, tags and so on.

You can also find your best converting videos in the Creator Studio by accessing the Analytics, click Subscribers and Youtube Watch Page.

In the list that appears, see which videos attracted the most subscribers.

Develop Videos as a Series

This is where you start leveraging Playlists where you can add videos as series in specific topics of your niches.

You can start developing a series content based on your best performing videos. Then, you can also add a playlist which demonstrates a specific keyword in your niche respectively.

Collaborate With Other YouTubers

Personally, collaboration with other Youtubers is the best way to extend your reach in the market.

It is effective since your channel is being cross-promoted by another Youtuber which is seen as a trustworthy medium compared to advertisements by Youtube.

If you’ve followed my writings enough, you’ll know how often I champion collaborations above other marketing strategies.

This is because social proof has solid influence on people. When a Youtuber collaborates with you, it’s seen as an endorsement to their audience. Viewers who invest heavily in the topics won’t mind to check your channel, and probably subscribe too if they like your content.

Promote Collaborations in the Video’s Title, Tags, and Description

When you collaborate, it’s important you take full leverage of it.

Therefore, it’s important to ensure your collaborator’s viewers are able to find your channel without a fuss.

You need to feature the collaborator’s name, face & link to their channel. Add these in the titles, description and thumbnail. Just be sure to add them subtly. Don’t forget to share these content throughout your entire social media platform.

In return, be sure your collaborator does the same too on their video(s).

Google’s Most Loved and Hated SEO Tricks

There isn’t much information Google publishes about SEO. However, there are many heated exchanges among SEO experts worldwide – who, eventually, have reached conclusions as compiled below. Please note, these are subject to change as algorithms do change from time to time.

Let’s start with what positive factors that is considered as ‘Good’ SEO practices – simplified form:

Positive Factors

  • Keyword in URL
  • Keyword in domain name
  • Head: Keyword in title tag
  • Head: Keyword in description meta tag
  • Head: Keyword in meta tag
  • Body: Keyword density – should be over 5% but do not go over 20%
  • Body: Keyword in H1, H2 and H3
  • Body: Keyword font size (bold, italics etc)
  • Body: Keyword proximity (e.g. where two keywords are close to each other)
  • Size and age of page/site

Negative Factors

  • Text in graphic form only, leaving no content within the body
  • Don’t be an affiliate site with ‘all link and no content’
  • Linking to link farms or a blacklisted site
  • Redirecting through REFRESH meta tags
  • Vile language. Anything deemed offensive; racial and ethnic slurs.
  • Excessive cross links
  • Keyword redundacy
  • Using frames
  • Invisible text (same as background color), small text
  • Gateway pages

How To Keep Your Website In Tip-Top Condition For Search Engines

Running, keeping and creating content at the same time can be an overwhelming experience – especially if you’re doing it on your own.

Today’s article, I’ve provided a checklist for you in order to keep your website in top condition and ranked high in search engine result page (SERP):

  • Ensure that you add new content regularly – search engines prefer sites that continuously add new updates.
  • The more content you add, the better.
  • Get validated. Validate your HTML and CSS code to check that it is accurate.
  • Test your site in different browsers, mobile devices and resolutions, especially after any such major changes e.g. updates by provider (e.g. WordPress). Check on different systems too (Mac, Microsoft etc)
  • Make your site accessible as possible – run your site through accessibility validators regularly.
  • Send out PR regularly to printed and online magazines, ensuring that your web address is clearly marked in the release.
  • Add a standard site map page to your site to help visitors.
  • Add a Google sitemap to your site, and update it regularly, or automate the updating process through  a script.
  • Be on the constant lookout for sites that will link to you – provide reciprocal links where applicable.
  • Resubmit your site to search engines ever 1-2 months – not too frequently or you may get blacklisted for spamming.
  • Check your web stats regularly to ensure that there are no errors and to see what is working and what is not.