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How to increase sales? Easy, isn’t it? “More customers mean more sales.” Well… Wrong. Many MSME business owners hold this belief dear, but it’s just
Marketing can be defined as the engine that drives any business forward. It’s not just about selling products or services; it’s about understanding your customers, building relationships, and creating value.
Marketing is vital for creating brand awareness, attracting new customers, and retaining existing ones. In the context of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in India, marketing takes on an even greater significance. Given the competitive landscape, honing your marketing skills is not just recommended; it’s mandatory for survival and growth.
Given its multifaceted advantages, marketing is not just an expense but an investment that will yield you a return in the future. Every entrepreneur should learn and implement a few marketing techniques.
How to Do It: Start by identifying businesses near you that offer complementary services. Reach out to them with a win-win proposal—perhaps you can display each other’s flyers or collaborate on a special offer. Put this agreement in simple writing to avoid misunderstandings and then execute your plan.
Why It’s Valuable: Local partnerships are cost-effective; you can share the marketing burden with another business. It’s also a great way to introduce your brand to a new set of customers who are likely to be interested in your services. Not to mention, being active in your local business community can bring unexpected networking opportunities that can benefit your business in the long run.
How to Do It: Choose the social media platform that resonates most with your audience—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Decide on the prize, create the rules, and promote it. You can ask participants to like your page, tag friends, or even post user-generated content using a specific hashtag that aligns with your brand.
Why It’s Valuable: The power of Social Media Marketing is boundless and yet untapped. What social media contests can give you is virality. People love free stuff, but they also love sharing and tagging. As they engage with your contest, your brand gains exposure, which in turn drives new followers or subscribers. It’s a win-win: your audience gets something valuable, and you move closer to your marketing objectives.
How to Do It: To get started, visit the Google My Business website and sign up. If your business is already listed, you can claim it. If not, you’ll need to create a new listing. You’ll be asked to provide various details such as your business name, location, and contact information. Once you’ve filled out these essentials, you’ll need to verify your business, often via a phone call or postcard sent to your physical address. After verification, populate your listing with high-quality images, your hours of operation, and any other relevant information that would help a customer understand what you offer.
Why It’s Valuable: Claiming or creating your Google My Business listing is a straightforward yet highly effective way to enhance your local search engine optimization (SEO). When people in your local area search for services or products you offer, your business is more likely to show up in the search results. This boosts visibility and increases the likelihood of driving foot traffic to your physical location. Moreover, Google My Business enables customers to leave reviews, ask questions, and even book appointments directly through the listing. This multi-functional tool not only helps you meet various marketing objectives but also becomes an indispensable part of your overall marketing mix.
How to Do It: Creating a rewards program doesn’t have to be complicated. Start by identifying what you can offer as incentives — it could be discounts, free products, or even exclusive access to upcoming sales. Once you’ve decided on the rewards, you need to set the criteria for customers to earn them. For example, a point-based system can be established where every purchase earns points that can be redeemed later. Make sure the program is easy to understand and straightforward to use. Use your existing marketing channels, such as social media or email newsletters, to promote the program and encourage sign-ups.
Why It’s Valuable: Customer retention is often cheaper and more efficient than acquiring new customers. A rewards program directly aligns with this aspect of your marketing objectives. By offering tangible benefits for repeat purchases or referrals, you encourage ongoing engagement with your brand. This not only increases the frequency of purchases but also elevates customer lifetime value, making your marketing spend more effective in the long run.
How to Do It: Start by collecting emails via a signup form on your website or during customer transactions. Once you’ve built your list, design newsletters or special offers that bring genuine value to your audience. It’s crucial to track key metrics like open and click-through rates using analytics tools. These insights will help you refine your messages over time.
Why It’s Valuable: Email marketing allows you to keep in touch with an audience that has already shown interest in your products or services. It’s a low-cost way to update your customers, keeping your brand top of mind and encouraging repeat business. This targeted approach can significantly impact customer retention and lifetime value. So, it’s not just a function but a strategic asset for your business.
How to Do It: Start by identifying local events that resonate with your business and target audience. Once you’ve chosen an event, decide how you want to participate: you could set up a booth to showcase your products or services or offer sponsorship in exchange for brand exposure. Make sure to prepare any marketing materials, such as banners or brochures, well in advance to make the most of the opportunity.
Why It’s Valuable: Being part of a community event significantly boosts your local brand visibility. It’s not just about having your logo splashed around; it’s an opportunity to meet potential customers face-to-face, understand their needs, and even get immediate feedback.
How to Do It: Promoting short-term sales starts with choosing the right product or service that you believe will attract your customers. After that, select a specific timeframe—this could be a weekend, a week, or even a single day. Use multiple marketing channels to spread the word. This could include email newsletters, social media marketing, and even SMS notifications if that’s part of your marketing mix. Make sure the promotion is highly visible on your website, too. The key is to create a sense of urgency—use phrases like “Limited Time Offer” or “While Supplies Last” to encourage immediate action.
Why It’s Valuable: Short-term sales play on the principles of scarcity and urgency, which are powerful motivators in customer psychology. People are more inclined to make a purchase if they believe they’re getting a special deal that won’t be available for long. This can result in a spike in sales and revenue, making it an effective tactic in any retail marketing strategy. It’s not just about boosting numbers; it’s also an excellent way to move inventory quickly or to introduce new customers to your products or services. In a nutshell, limited-time offers serve multiple beneficial functions, making them a go-to in any comprehensive marketing playbook.
How to Do It: First, identify satisfied customers who have had a positive experience with your product or service. Reach out to them to ask if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial. Make the process easy for them by perhaps suggesting a few questions they could answer. Once you’ve collected the testimonials, choose the most impactful ones to display. These can be featured on a dedicated “Testimonials” page on your website, included in product descriptions, or highlighted in social media posts. Utilize visuals, such as photos or even short video clips, to make the testimonials more engaging. Always remember to get consent from customers before publishing their names or images.
Why It’s Valuable: Displaying customer testimonials serves as social proof, which is incredibly effective in building trust among potential customers. When visitors to your website or social media pages see authentic reviews from satisfied customers, it lends credibility to your business. This aligns perfectly with marketing objectives focused on enhancing the trustworthiness and authenticity of your brand. This kind of endorsement can be particularly compelling for new visitors or those on the fence about making a purchase. In a way, your satisfied customers become advocates for your brand, their positive experiences serving as a powerful marketing tool in your overall strategy.
How to Do It: Distributing flyers and posters might seem old-school, but they’re far from obsolete. First, you’ll need to design eye-catching and informative materials. Make sure the design aligns with your brand and effectively communicates your value proposition. Once designed, get them professionally printed on high-quality paper to make a good impression.
Next, identify strategic locations within your community to distribute or display these materials. Think busy intersections, popular local businesses, community centers, or any place your target audience frequents. Don’t forget to get the necessary permissions if you’re placing them in private properties or businesses.
Why It’s Valuable: Flyers and posters serve as tangible reminders of your business, making an impact that digital ads often can’t match. They offer something physical that people can take home, pin up, or pass along to friends. This type of marketing does more than just disseminate information; it creates a physical touchpoint between your business and potential customers. In an age where social media marketing is rampant, a well-placed flyer or poster can grab attention effectively, making it a valuable part of your MSME’s overall marketing mix.
How to Do It: Start by reflecting on the pivotal moments in your entrepreneurial journey or the milestones in your business history. Once you have a timeline of sorts, think about the best platform to share this story. It could be in the form of a detailed “About Us” section on your website, a series of blog posts, or even through social media posts. Photos and videos can enhance the narrative, making it more engaging. You could also consider different formats like podcasts or even short documentary-style videos. Don’t just focus on the highlights; the challenges and how you overcame them make your story authentic and inspiring. If your journey has involved mentoring or guidance, that adds another layer to your narrative.
Why It’s Valuable: Sharing your journey does more than just humanize your brand; it makes it relatable, and relatability is a strong marketing tool. When people understand the sweat, tears, and joy behind your business, they are more likely to support it. Furthermore, a compelling story can attract additional resources to help you grow. For example, a business coach might see the value in your approach and offer insights to scale your business further. Investors, too, may see the potential for higher returns, not just in terms of revenue but also in the brand value that a compelling story can create.
How to Do It: Creating ‘how-to’ guides requires a good understanding of your products or services, and more importantly, how they solve specific problems for your customers. Begin by listing common questions or challenges your customers face. Then, develop step-by-step guides to address these. Use a mix of text, images, and even videos for a comprehensive guide. Make these resources easily accessible—whether it’s a downloadable PDF on your website, a blog post, or a video on your YouTube channel. Don’t forget to promote these guides through your marketing channels like social media, newsletters, and even directly to clients when relevant.
Why It’s Valuable: ‘How-to’ guides do more than just provide helpful information; they position you as an expert in your field. By offering valuable, easy-to-follow solutions, you build trust among your potential and existing customer base. This expertise recognition makes your business the go-to place for solutions within your industry, driving up both customer loyalty and referrals. Over time, these guides can become a vital asset in your marketing management strategy, continually providing value and drawing in new customers without the need for ongoing promotion.
If you want to know more about how to start marketing your business, here’s a step-by-step guide.
Before diving into specialized areas like social media marketing or marketing analytics, familiarize yourself with core marketing concepts. Understand what the marketing mix is, and grasp basic terms like “target audience,” “unique selling proposition,” and “marketing channels.”
Your personal or business goals should guide your marketing efforts. Are you aiming to build brand awareness, increase sales, or perhaps improve customer engagement? Knowing your MSMEs objectives can guide your choice of tactics and channels.
Consider taking a formal course in marketing, whether it’s a university degree, an online course, or a crash course on social media marketing. This structured learning can offer in-depth insights into marketing management, strategy, and other advanced topics.
If you can, seek out a business coach or mentor who has experience in marketing. Their real-world insights can prove invaluable, helping you avoid common pitfalls and succeed faster.
The best way to learn is by doing. Real-world experience is invaluable. Start by implementing marketing techniques in a low-risk environment, perhaps a small project or your personal brand, before going big.
Numbers can tell you whether your marketing strategies are working. Learn how to read and interpret data, whether it’s website traffic, engagement rates on social media, or ROI on a particular marketing campaign.
The world of marketing is ever-evolving. Follow industry news, read marketing blogs, and stay updated on the latest tools and trends.
Skills like communication, creativity, and the ability to understand consumer behavior are just as important as knowing how to set up a Google Ads campaign or analyze website traffic.
Joining business networks and communities can not only expand your understanding of marketing but also provide opportunities for practical experience.
Regularly revisit your marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics. Are you meeting your goals? What can you do better? Continuous improvement is key to building marketing capabilities.
Once you’ve gained some expertise, consider sharing your knowledge through blogs, workshops, or even as a business coach. Teaching is a powerful tool for solidifying your own understanding and skill.
Now that you have a step-by-step guide, here’s a YouTube channel that you should subscribe to, to get started on your Marketing journey.
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