As an entrepreneur, you have inevitably found yourself in the position of having an excellent product or service, but not having the hefty marketing budgets to spring for an advert on prime-time television or a flashy giant billboard on the side of the highway. Here are the pocket-friendly approaches that you need:
The Pictorial Poster Display
Do you have a great product but you can’t afford to keep it at the front-of-shop, so it ends up on some dusty shelf in the back that no one visits? Make up an attractive poster and ask the shopkeeper to display it in the shop window. Remember, the more attractive the poster, the more likely the shopkeeper is to agree! Remind the shopkeeper that when the poster draws in customers, they are likely to end up buying other goods in the shop. Making such an agreement with a number of shops in different locations with immediately increase your reach!
The Cold Call/E-mail
When you’re desperately looking for a big company to partner with, and you just don’t know how to get your foot in the door: resort to the modern day version of a door-to-door salesman: the cold email. This method doesn’t have a high success rate; from 100 emails you send, you might be lucky to get a few positive results. However, this approach is worth it because you never know who might see email: it could be the CEO of your dream company, or someone that forwards your email to their college roommate who happens to be looking for a company just like yours. The trick is to keep your email short and punchy, with a really snazzy subject title that baits the recipient into opening the email. The same goes for the cold call. After 50 abrupt hang ups from a series of receptionists, you may get that one cheery PA who is all too pleased to redirect your call to the purchasing manager! You’ve now got an ear that's willing to listen, and then you have to do your thing!
The Fun-yet-Informative Blog
A great way to build a strong reputation in your industry is by starting a blog. It may take some time to build a following, but if you are consistent, you’ll get there. Make sure you share content from others within your industry on the blog and on social media. Over time others will return the favor and start sharing your content to all their followers - means lots more people shall know about your products! Find creative ways of putting your message across without it being an obvious sales pitch. This can be in the form of a fun comic strip or a compilation of unusual ways your products have been used. Invite readers to post comments as this can help inform future blog ideas. Don’t forget to add a product promotion for those interested in purchasing your products! Remember, being relevant in your industry is your strongest sales statement and the greater your online presence, the greater your legitimacy.
Marketing isn’t an exact science. It varies from industry to industry, and from product to product. You need to keep on throwing out ideas, and see what sticks. The good news is that these approaches are not going to send your bank account into the negative!
Author: Chandni Hirani
Photo credit: Gerard Stolk/Flickr