Manila, Philippines

Cheap Marketing Tips for Startup and Small Businesses

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So you already have your small business ready for a jump start, all systems go and all you need are customers. So how do you start marketing and promoting the business? Traditional means would be via tri-media: print, radio and TV ads. But of course these are for the big businesses out there. Others also do flyering or via sending unknown text messages from unknown numbers which I don’t really recommend for small and start-up businesses.

 I don’t recommend these two especially if the business is on food, health and beauty services, money and employment, etc since this just makes the business more dubious and shady to customers. Imagine getting unsolicited text messages from unknown numbers promoting unknown products. Or imagine reading flyers of unknown products whose addresses are from not-so-known business areas. Unless you already have a brand recall or your flyering area is just near your store, then I suggest other low cost means such as below:

1. Web. This is a must and a given nowadays for businesses. And this is almost always FREE! Fairly easy and very cheap to create and maintain. Open a Facebook page and Twitter account. Have an online website and store via multiply or via blogs. Engage in some SEO and word-on-web promotions. If you have more funds, consider buying a domain so you have your own site (they say this improves your SEO and makes the business more credible). But developing your own website can be expensive especially for start-ups so I suggest you stick to multiply and blogs for now. Consider as well promotions via search sites (sulit, ayosdito, tipidpc, etc) but just make sure that the business image you want to portray and exude is aligned with the other advertisers here.

2. Friends: Of course before we go out of our outer circles, we start with our inner circle first. Promote and advertise to friends via email blasts, FB messages, twitter posts, emails, text blasts etc. Satisfied and supportive friends will definitely expand your reach easily: as they market to friends of your friends. Accumulate page likes on Facebook so that these are broadcasted to their other friends already outside your circle.
3. Offices: Our offices and officemates are usually captive markets. This usually applies to those who have start-up and business sidelines on top of our usual daytime jobs. Our office colleagues are also a good place to start marketing our businesses. Those with daytime jobs usually lack the time to go shopping and search for bargains on the items and services they need so usually, businesses that come to them are most welcome. Also, similar to our friends, our office colleagues will also give us a good word-of-mouth boost. Lastly, payment arrangements may be easier to make with office colleagues since we see them 5 of 7 days a week anyway. This benefits the business via sales while benefiting office colleagues via flexible payment terms. And of course, discounts!

4. Weddings and Reunions: I like the lure of marketing in weddings and reunions, assuming of course that your product or service fits into the needs or wants of a wedding and reunion. The attendees of these gatherings usually come from different circles with different markets altogether, who just happen to share a common bond: a common friend getting married or sharing the same family tree. Successful marketing in these gatherings enable the products and services establish a wider reach and exposure to different circles all at the same time. I actually prefer these events compared to bazaars and exhibits (even if attendees are similarly from various cicles of markets) because weddings and reunions still have the feeling of exclusivity and closeness: the attendees are more close and bonded and related to one another, which means that the belief in the product, once established, can be stronger: remember that you would trust a single friend’s recommendation more than a mob of unknowns. So assuming you have acquaintances who will soon have these kinds of gatherings, be sure to offer a marketing twist that will make your product or service relevant to the gathering.
5. Bazaars, Booths and Exhibits: Assuming you have more budget, this is also a good place to start for your business to get known to the public. Again, people from different circles attend these events even if the bazaars and exhibits usually have themes. So be sure to choose the bazaar you are attending carefully. Others also share the floor space and rent with other smaller businesses to save on participation costs.

So with these, hopefully you already have some ideas on how to jump start the marketing of your start-up business to the rest of the consumer world.
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