You might have the perfect business idea, but if no one knows about it you won’t have enough customers to make it a success. Stand out from the crowd with these smart, cost-effective marketing tactics. Here are 5 ways on how to market your business for free.
As a Mzansi-preneur, you’re a part of South Africa’s vibrant business landscape, but as we know, competition is fierce. You need to find a way to stand out and here’s a little secret: it doesn’t have to cost a fortune (a fortune you definitely don’t have during the start-up stage).
Here are five ways to market your business for free, which means you can use your cash to deliver great goods and services to your customers, instead of spending your money trying to reach them.
1. Start tweeting, become an Insta star and own your Facebook fans
Your personal Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts might be an extension of your character, but your business needs a social media personality too.
To get started
Set up brand accounts on the social media platforms that your customers use the most. This is an amazing and free way to reach your community.
For Twitter and Instagram:
- Follow as many brands similar to your own as you can, as well as influencers in your community. Instagram will recommend your page to users following similar brands to your own, which will grow your follower base.
- Join as many groups as you can. Find your local community, for example, I LOVE SOWETO in Gauteng or I Love Durban in KZN, and join any marketplaces in your area as well.
- There are also helpful entrepreneurial communities that will give you advice and let you network with your fellow Mzansi-preneurs. (The TymeBank Mzansi-Preneurs group is a great way to reach your community, access top tips and share your business lessons.)
Have fun with your content. No one wants a sales pitch; they want to have conversations with brands and enjoy the content on their feeds. So, if you run a food stall, share a great recipe; post some well-lit, artistic images of your top sellers, and tag photos of your customers enjoying your food. This ensures their friends see your brand and it won’t cost you a cent.
2. Set up a website
Websites can cost as much as you are willing to spend on them. If, for you, that amount is nothing, it’s good to know that you have options. There are a lot of free website-building tools that you can use to build a simple one-page website that lets your customers know who you are, what you do and, most importantly, where they can find you.
To get started
Choose a free web building platform and set up a page www.wix.com, za.godaddy.com and www.squarespace.com are just three of the most popular free website templates in South Africa. They’re easy-to-use and walk you through each step.
Most people will browse your web page on their phones, so keep your words simple and to-the-point and don’t include too many big, flashy images and videos that will make the page slow to open. Keep that content for your social media channels.
3. Use WhatsApp to connect with customers
WhatsApp is a powerful marketing tool because it’s free, personal and doesn’t have many restrictions on the length and format of the information you’re sharing. It’s not only useful for you to market yourself to existing and potential customers, it also makes it easier for happy customers to send referrals to their contacts.
To get started
Before you can send a WhatsApp, you’ll need your customer’s details, so run a promotion or competition that encourages customers to give you their number. Let them know that when they join, they’ll be the first to hear about brand new products and promotions.
WhatsApps are personal, so make sure you speak directly to your customer. Only send a message if you know it adds value to their life. Think about creating some helpful, exciting content that your contacts will share with their contacts.
4. Get people talking about you
Word-of-mouth referrals are the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal, because we’re all more likely to spend our money on products and services that our friends recommend.
To get started
People won’t talk you up if they haven’t had a great experience, so make sure your product is exceptional and your service is the best in the biz.
Once you’re sure your customers are happy, encourage them to spread the word. Offer a free gift or 10% off their next purchase for every new client they send your way. For businesses, send referrals to your fellow entrepreneurs and ask them to do the same – Mzansi-preneurs have each others’ backs – the best businesses are firm fixtures in their communities.
Hashtags and tagging customers in social media posts is another form of word-of-mouth referrals. Encourage customers to take photos of themselves with your brand, give them great hashtags to use, ask them to tag you and reward them for their love (with customer of the week posts, gift cards and even personalised specials).
5. Run specials and competitions
You don’t want to be known as the discount brand that is always setting specials, but a well-placed promo or competition can get your customers excited, sharing your social media content on their pages and it can even attract new customers to your business so that you can show them just how awesome you are (so that you can secure another fan for life).
To get started
- Create a promo or competition calendar
- Focus on specific days that make sense to your brand (small business Friday, Valentine’s Day, or a last-Thursday of the month 20% off everything day)
- Let your customers know via Whatsapp and your social media channels
Make sure you don’t offer such big discounts that you don’t cover your costs. Promos and competitions are a great way to stand out from the crowd, but you don’t want to lose money because of them.
Save and fund your future marketing plans
There are so many smart campaigns you can run without spending a cent, but as your business grows you might require some cash to take things to the next level.
Start a GoalSave today with TymeBank and leverage this powerful savings tool to bankroll your future marketing plans.
- GoalSave is a free savings tool linked to your EveryDay account
- Start 10 different GoalSaves for 10 different goals
- Earn more the longer you save. Get up to 8% interest a year (Ts & Cs apply).
Most importantly, save on bank charges by opening up a TymeBank business account with ZERO monthly fees.