Free Marketing Basics 101

The most important aspect for any business to grow regardless of its scale is marketing ­— getting the word out! Marketing a small business might sound easy in theory but when you get into the nitty-gritty of it, it does not take long for you to figure out that it is not a piece of cake and even if you get a burst of creative ideas mixed with a can-do attitude, the word ‘marketing’ stales it out with excessive expenditure and unawareness of tactical multi-layered marketing strategies.
In this era, where new and old businesses are fighting to win their place in the competition of being most visible to their prospective clients and customers, marketing is the only way out there to address it.
A wise entrepreneur should always set aside a budget for marketing alone. The problem is to project that budget in the right direction. Making a decision in that regard can be daunting because it can single- handedly make or break your business. To figure out what direction can be most lucrative for your business, you need to know the basics of marketing.
There are two main types of marketing: traditional and digital. 

Traditional Marketing
It is the oldest yet reliable and a successful form of marketing. Traditional marketing uses conventional methods, modes and mediums to reach semi-targeted audience with various promotional activities and offline advertisements. 
Below are the mediums used in traditional marketing.
•    Print via magazines, newspapers, etc.
•    Broadcast via TV, radio, etc.
•    Direct mail via catalogues, postcards, etc.
•    Telephone via telemarketing, SMS marketing, etc.
•    Outdoor via billboards, flyers, etc.

Digital Marketing
Digital marketing or online marketing refers to any promotional communication conducted through an electronic device and internet. Everything from Google (or other search engines), Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., comes under the big umbrella of digital marketing mediums. 
Website, content marketing, affiliate marketing, Pay-Per-Click (PPC), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), email marketing, Inbound Marketing, automated marketing are all sub-sets of digital marketing.
The stark difference between traditional and digital marketing is the scale of budget required. Though traditional marketing has the leverage of reaching mass audience with most impact, it comes with a very high cost. Digital marketing on the other hand requires comparatively small to no budget for marketing while still having a strong impact.
Now that you understand the difference between the two main forms of marketing, you might be in a better position to make a more suitable decision depending on your business needs and budget. Don’t worry, we would not let you hang in there alone to figure all out. 

Let’s look into some of the ideas through which you can market your business or product or services in a way that makes sense as well as cents without spending a dime! 

Google Free Listing
The foremost step for reaching the right audience is by making your business or product visible to them. If you are old fashioned, you might rely on the word of mouth but this technique will take very long and still would not produce the results you hoped for.
According to statistics, 97% consumers searched the internet to reach a local vendor or business last year. Online positive reviews are another way to set your footing on the ground when it comes to retain old customers and gain new ones. That is why you should make sure to put your business on Google listing. Your listing should have all your information such as, address, phone number, working hours, location (you can also add photos of your shop, restaurant, office, etc, to build trust) and link to website (if available). Google also allows your customers to put up photos and reviews about your business. According to customer behavior stats, if your business has a cumulative score of 4-stars it can have a major impact on your success.

Building a blog realistically takes significant time to develop to be able to attract an audience. It also ensures cost-effectiveness. Once you have a reliable blog, it acts like a magnet to gain swath of people and convert them into customers. 
The key is communication and consistency! You need to make sure you are providing information about every facet of your product or services to build trust and credibility with perseverance, persistence and patience. 
You can build a proper sales funnel for your business based on the demographics that your blog is attracting. Not to exaggerate, but you can literally use your blog to create a six-figure monthly income.

Collaboration can be used in both a traditional and digital medium. You can collaborate with local businesses and communities with respect to your business or service category.
To make use of this technique for best results, you first need to know what is the core of your business. You need to strategize your approach and be clear in what you want to achieve. You might need to invest your time and services free of cost as an investment. To give you an example, suppose you have a small-scale business of stationery. First you need to figure out what sort of customer your business needs; is it corporate or educational or artistic? Let’s say you want a hefty corporate clientele. For this to work, go to different big scale corporate businesses, offer them a customized set of stationery items that stand out with your business branding at a fraction of a price. You might not be able to make much money in the process even after putting so much effort but what it will do is, it will create a solid ground of visibility and traction for your brand. Collaborating and co-branding is a sure way of increasing your business scalability, thus helping it grow financially.

Guerilla Marketing
The key to implement a great guerilla marketing strategy is creativity. You can use creative slogans or visuals to communicate your brand to local audience in smaller budget. For example, you can use magnets with your business logo on it and stick it to every possible spot where your prospective customer comes every day. 
The internet is full of examples; we urge you to look into it to be able to understand its dynamics how something might make your creative juices. 

Digital Presence
Last and the most important is having a brand presence digitally. You have to understand the modern buying behavior and customer psychology. There are a number of statistics to prove how important it is for your brand to be present digitally where people can find you and reach you in the comfort of their beds or sofas with just a click. It is an age where everyone is hooked to screens, whether it’s a tablet, laptop or a smartphone. An illiterate person might not know how to write his name but they have a Facebook profile. In this ever-growing competition of earning a place in mainstream market scene you have to opt for any and every opportunity you can get and what is better than when that opportunity comes without a price tag.
It does not cost a single penny to create a business profile on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, etc. You just need to choose, which medium will serve your business better by doing a little research into each of their algorithms and technicalities. 
When it comes to digital platforms, content is the key, the king, the omega! You just need to strategize your communication in the interest of your product or service to reach potential and viable audience base. Some people or businesses might think of marketing as just another hocus pocus but considering the current industry standards, to play a long shot and to create a strong footing for your business that can stand the test of time you have to take it seriously. That being said, you need to think and act past the outdated marketing techniques to grow your business. As a business you have to make sure you are in the competition if not ahead of it. HH

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