Friday, November 23, 2007

Market your small business at low cost

Starting a new business in India costs a bit as it is, without taking into account the resources needed to market it. So what is it that you, as a small business owner, can do to get the word out about your services, without burning a hole in your pocket?

Although it may seem improbable, there are indeed a number of low cost ways to market your product or service. Here’s our top 10 list.

  1. Leverage the support of your friends and relatives to create favourable word-out-mouth. A simple tactic is to mail your acquaintances announcing the new business venture. Even if they don’t need your services, they may well know someone else who does.
  2. Enrol in trade organizations or groups which could give you the opportunity to connect with others in your line of work. Seek to participate in any publicity event, presentation and demo.
  3. Supporting a cause or charity event that reflects your company’s values can create a very favourable image for the business.
  4. Once your business picks up speed, ask satisfied customers for referrals. That costs nothing yet is worth everything.
  5. Use the Internet to spread awareness about your line of work, not just your company. The way to do this is to contribute useful and high quality content to sites that fit your business’ end user profile.
  6. Again, be part of the online community, whether it is by way of blogging or being in a discussion forum. We reiterate that the trick is not to oversell - no one wants a hard sales pitch in a friendly chat room.
  7. Use signature files at the end of all your e-mails. Keep them short but precise.
  8. You can even do some low cost or free advertising on the Net. Check out Internet sites that offer free classified advertising space.
  9. If your business has a good website, look to link it with others. Placing in-bound links from popular sites will push up your website’s search engine ranking.
  10. Use traditional media, like press or local radio to spread awareness. An advertorial which is part informative, part commercial can get you much needed recognition.

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