So, you have a fantastic product and you've set up your business.
The next thing to do for any business owner like yourself is to get customers and start making sales.
It seems very easy on paper but there's a problem. Making sales is not that easy.
Like a friend of mine will say, we just dey try, na God dey bring customers.
In fact, making sales has been described as the hardest thing about doing business.
So, what’s the solution to getting more customers and making sales? The answer is simple: Marketing.
But the problem is that I just lied.
Marketing isn’t necessarily simple and it’s definitely not cheap.
So, where does that leave you, the business owner who needs to make sales? It leaves you right here at the article that will explain what marketing is and show you 7 proven tips to make more sales for your business, with zero marketing budget.
Marketing is key to getting your business in front of your potential customers. Every business owner aims to make a profit. It is a no-brainer that you have to sell your products to people to make a profit.
Customers are the lifeblood of any business. Without a customer base, your products will just be lying there on a shelf gathering dust..
Marketing essentially involves pushing and promoting your products or services. It involves various processes, but the primary goal of marketing is to get customers.
"I dey sell everything. Come and buy my market"
Many use this tactic when trying to market their goods to potential customers.
This might work if what you are selling is a scheme to make money overnight, but even for that, it's not every Nigerian that is greedy and will fall for it.
In marketing, you should define your target audience. Who are your ideal or potential customers? Where are they? What do they often buy? Where do they hangout? How much do they make? What are they interested in?
So let’s say you are a Sujimoto now and you sell properties worth over 10 million naira, you won’t be doing any marketing targeted at secondary school students or sharing your flyers with agberos and tell them to tell their friends.
If you are a barber who charges 50,000 per haircut you have no business opening your barbershop in a place like Ishaga or Ajegunle. Your customers are not on that timeline.
If I’m marketing wines, I will go to clubs, restaurants, exclusive events to pitch my product, not hawk it inside traffic.
It’s extremely important to know your customers, so that you can tell if you’re putting the correct price on your products, to know if the people you are trying to sell to, are even interested at all.
"Know your enemy."
Well, not quite because your competitors are not necessarily your enemies; rather, they can be platforms where you can gain valuable knowledge from.
Observing the competition can help you understand what works and what doesn’t.
You can pick up what your target audience likes and what they don’t from the feedback you hear people give about your competitors and this is very useful information for your business.
You can avoid their mistakes, improve on what already works and generally offer better goods and services.
I know the title of this article is literally how to make sales with zero marketing budget but you need to create a marketing plan with a budget and I will tell you why.
Sitting down to actually create a marketing plan will help you know if you actually want to use zero marketing budget.
For example, if you are currently on 1000 followers on Instagram and you want to reach 10,000 in one month, there’s no way you want to achieve that number without spending money.
Also, if in your 3 years of doing business, all you have are 30 constant customers and you want to get to 100 in the space of a month, you know you have to spend money.
Another thing is that most marketing strategies that don’t cost you money might cost you other resources like time to create, edit, post etc.
So, if your time is more expensive to you then maybe a 5k Instagram ads budget isn't so bad after all.
Lastly, you need to create a plan that will outline which of the strategies you want to use and where you want to use them.
Create good content.
Content is the gold mine that you don’t need gold to build. What this means is that creating content is one of the cheapest marketing tactics that can give you the biggest returns if done right.
Content includes blog posts, videos, memes, reels, TikToks, podcasts, emails, newsletters, graphic designs and so much more.
The good thing about content is that you can use it to get new customers and keep old ones interested even if they don't have the money to buy from you at the moment.
For example, you most likely know Aproko Doctor.
He gives out useful health tips. If he was selling a drug or even selling bottled water, it’s easy to understand why people would buy from him.
Why? Over time he has helped them answer health questions, shown them through content, why water is important.
This is one of the reasons he gets invited to speak at different events. He has built that trust.
If you sell skincare products, you can do reels, skits, short videos or simple designs telling people about skin care practices that work. When people try out these things and they work, they will easily patronize you when you sell your skincare products.
For keeping old customers, you can do blogs, or newsletters to inform your customers of new products or share useful information.
For example, business owners on Bumpa are given free website to sell products. The website has a newsletter feature that customers can subscribe to.
Additionally, you can even repost relevant content from other people on your page. Don’t starve your customers of content.
It literally does.
Nobody in this age and time depends solely on physical sales now.
If you’re not using your social media well, you are limiting your business to only the people you know.
Knowing your target audience is very important in deciding the social media platforms you should use. Many small businesses jump on the most popular social media platform because of the buzz, and after a couple of months or years, they realize that they have not been in the right space. This is usually a result of poor customer research.
Imagine spending all your time on Twitter when your customers are on Instagram.
Once you can figure out where your customers congregate, create rapport. Engage them with useful content too. Build trust and watch social media work its magic.
And there’s no excuse now.
You can run a great social media page and run your business easily.
Apps like Bumpa make selling on social media very easy.
For example, you can record all your sales from any social media app on the Bumpa app and at the end of every month, you will get a financial report that will show you the social media platform you get the most customers from and which product sells the most on each platform.
Also, you can create invoices and receipts on the Bumpa app and send it to your customers’ dm on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc.
One cool thing about the app is that you're given a free business website that you can add to your social media bio and customers can buy from you even when you're not online.
You can also use your Bumpa website to run ads on Facebook, instagram, YouTube etc, and actually start marketing your products to people all over the world on these platforms.
Many events are free and even the ones that are paid for, aren’t always very expensive.
If your target audience will be attending the event, carry your body, soul and spirit there and speak to people about what you do.
In fact, you can buy a display table and sell there or sponsor the event if the price is reasonable and make sure your product is adequately posted.
The great thing about events is that you’re only spending your T-fare and spending time but it can have immense benefits. You can even meet investors or people that will not buy but will bring those that will buy to your doorstep.
Prior to the pandemic, networking events usually entailed physical contact with other people, but now, you could attend both physical and online networking events. Networking often opens your business up to local customers you can easily follow up on. Be prepared to mix with people at events; that is the essence of networking. Beware, though, you are not supposed to be at every event.
Let me explain what SEO is.
SEO is Search Engine Optimisation.
You know when you search for something on Google, do you ever scroll past the first two pages?: No. Exactly. It’s SEO that will make your website show up on the first two pages.
Whether you are creating content on your YouTube channel or your blog, your aim in putting content out there is to get people to engage with you or your product.
To reach the widest audience possible, you have to optimize your website or channel. For example, Bumpa’s business websites for business owners are SEO optimized and people can easily find your business online.
When people talk about SEO for blogs, they often think of hiring an expert and paying huge sums to sort this out, and while this is true, there are basic SEO hacks you can employ to attract more traffic to your blog without spending a dime.
You should choose the topics to write about carefully. What questions are your potential customers asking?
Add pictures, meta descriptions, and lists where necessary in your blog content and keywords in your descriptions for YouTube videos. You can easily get other free SEO tips online without getting too technical about your content.
I know you’re already saying we were talking about using a zero marketing budget to get more sales, but calm down, I'm going somewhere.
Hosting a competition or contest might seem like a tip that would cost you much money, but it doesn't have to.
You might be willing to part with your time through a free consultation session or give your product as a prize.
The rewards are immense. Depending on how you structure your competition, you can get straight to the heart of your target audience and get them interested in your product.
After the contest, you also have access to those who participated and can begin to build a community from there.
Setting up competitions can be done through social media. Asking people to retweet, share or tag people is one way by which you can reach out to a wide range of consumers.
But remember to state the terms, conditions, and prizes too clearly. You don't want to be distrusted or accused of not delivering on your promises.
Hosting a class is one of the best ways to show authority and put yourself out there, especially if a service is what you sell.
Classes help your customers gain valuable knowledge and also answers to their questions about an area you deal with.
Even if you sell physical products, a class is an ideal way to show your expertise and experience in your business. Trust me when I say you will attract customers and keep their attention when they know you know what you are doing.
Now classes don't always have to be physical anymore. Platforms like Zoom, Google meet, and even Twitter spaces have created avenues for you to hold classes free of charge.
This probably sounds cliche and is very overlooked but it’s one strategy that works all the time.
If you provide great service, better customer support etc customers will always come back and bring referrals.
If your products are of better quality than others, people will come to you. It's the basic rule of marketing that many business owners overlook. So simple yet so important.
Consistently offer great service, don't dilute your products or use fake materials.
Be consistent for quality and great service and people will always find you even if you’re expensive.
I mentioned earlier that even if you weren't spending so much i.e., operating your marketing on a lean budget, you would have to trade-in time.
Holding classes, networking, building a community, interacting on social media all require time, but they all get the results.
You also need to remember that your purpose for marketing is to make sales; having a platform that facilitates easy sales and sales management processes like Bumpa is essential in your marketing process.
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