Among the biggest problems facing all microenterprises is the financial aspect of things, by which I mean achieving that return on investment and keeping at it by continuously attracting new customers and retaining the existing ones. Building the credibility for the brand would be among the primary concerns to address this because potential customers are more likely to look at brands and buy products or services from them when they have heard about the brand and it is a well established one as opposed to a new small brand that introduces them to a solution. While the problem of customer acquisition faces every brand, the issue becomes increasingly pressing for the small and medium scale enterprises because of the limited budget they can allocate towards marketing.
If you are a micro entrepreneur, raising the price of your products or service might be a suggestion you often hear, but the problem with that is again with reasoning the hiked price to your customers. As long as your service offering is unique and not offered by a competing well known brand, you will have to price your products and services to stay on par with the competing brand. This in itself is a challenge because when a large scale enterprise is competing with your product offerings, their large scale setup would allow them to mass produce at a cost much lesser than what it would cost you to produce the same goods. So, hiking your price isn’t a solution to minting the money you desire.
Here’s a list of strategise that would help you bring in more leads and increase your chances of sales,
- Word of mouth
As the age old saying goes, no one can do better brand advocacy than your pleased customers. Word of mouth till date is the best marketing strategy that can turn the tables of fortune for all micro enterprise. Especially because, a micro enterprise usually does not have heavy budgets for marketing spends. You need to build the credibility for your micro enterprise and no one can do it better than your customers. A happy customer can do your micro enterprise so much good by vouching for your products among their network and this is definitely something that money cannot buy you. So, prioritise you consumers and take precautions to overjoy them. Gone are the days where justly providing a customer service to satisfy them would suffice. Customer satisfaction is an essential, but improving the customer experience and bringing them joy becomes the differentiating factor between competing micro enterprises or brands that defines the loyalty of the customers. Customers can be overjoyed with the smallest of gestures from your micro enterprise like a personalised thank you note on every purchase, a customised email that is more human than promotional etc. Small gestures like these will make big differences for your micro enterprise.
- Make use of the web applications available
Depending on the service offering of your micro enterprise, that is depending on whether your micro enterprise offers a product or a service to the market you can choose web services to help you find leads and close them into paying customers. You can choose services like Amazon to sell products and Fiverr if your micro enterprise offers services.
Amazon – Amazon is the world’s largest and most popular online retailer. The greatest advantage comes with the fact that it has millions of customers worldwide and this will make it easy for you to find your customers. The efforts of having to find customers also becomes minimal unlike that in case of personal selling. To start selling on Amazon, you need to create a seller’s account with details such as your name, type of seller (professional or individual) business name credit card details etc and register yourself. Post this, you need to ship your products and share shipment details. You will receive your payment as and when your items are sold.
– Similarly you can sell your services on Fiverr. For this again, you need to create a seller profile following which you will be redirected to creating your gig. Your gig is the service you are there to offer on Fiverr and all the information the buyers will need. You can add an attractive video to attract more leads. Fiverr also gives you the option of bundling your services, offering exclusive deals and up selling your services on the platform.
- Apps like AppBrowzer
App Browzer is an app aggregator platform that allows people to use apps without having to download it. As their latest add on, they have included the app builder platform which allows micro enterprises to register themselves and sell their products on the AppBrowzer app. They can set up their app in under 5 minutes and start selling, all in the same day. The app builder platform was specifically built to help local businesses and micro enterprises perform well by generating leads through the app.
The business apps that are created take the geographical location of the user and appear in the local apps section to attract the local customers in the nearby vicinity. If your micro enterprise is into selling products or services and caters to a small geographical area, then this is an amazing option for you. All the technology and other design elements are taken care by AppBrowzer itself. You can get started for free. So, here’s how it works
- Log into www.appbrowzer.com/business
- Enter your business details like phone number, business description, name, email address, images etc.
- Add your category – create your own if it doesn’t exist
- Add your products
- Start generating local leads and convert them to make money
- Use Social Media
Social media is the go to channel for almost all publicity reasons – this statement needs not too much explanation. We all spend a lot of time on social media and so does the world. It is always best to meet your customers where they are to push your product or service. So harping on social media can bring your micro enterprise a huge fortune cookie.
But, when I say social media, I’m not talking about the paid marketing aspect of things. While you can use paid options of Facebook, another interesting option has risen these days in the Indian landscape and that is the Facebook marketplace. You can use the marketplace to sell anything. This wing of Facebook, is however, limited to product related micro enterprises only. Just like AppBrowzer, it is very easy to sell on marketplace too.
When you sell an item, you create a public post that can be seen by anyone in Marketplace and in News Feed, search and other places on or off Facebook. To sell an item in Marketplace all you need to do is the following:
- Click Marketplace in the left column of News Feed.
- Click ‘+ Sell Something’
- Enter info (example: the item, price, your location, a category and description).
- Click ‘Add Photos’ to upload a photo of your item from your computer and then click Post.
Once you’re selling an item, tap Selling in the top left of Marketplace to keep track of the items you’re selling and the conversations you’re having with buyers.
For service related micro enterprises you can leverage YouTube to get famous and get potential leads an paying customers. This however, is going to take some time and efforts to build the follower base. You can use YouTube to roll out videos relating your service. For example, if you’re a nutritionist and are looking for clients, you can roll out a few videos about the basics of nutrition etc. The same video can then be edited for different time frames and circulated on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.
The idea is to build a follower base and credibility to scratch the surface of word of mouth marketing so that when it kicks off you have enough and more leads coming in through your social media channels. You can also look for free shoutouts on different social media handles.
- Content marketing
Content is king and the world is realising it better each day with passing time. When this is the truth of the hour, it is almost mandatory for a brand to invest time and efforts in content marketing for best results. This, because of it inexpensive approaches, is something every micro enterprise owner must harness to retrieve maximum benefits.
Also, it isn’t a very difficult thing to do. The idea is to basically push the word about your micro enterprise through online channels. The creation of videos, as discussed above, can also be looked at as a part of content marketing.
The most effective medium for content marketing is the maintenance of a blog, which you keep updated with essential information about the domain you function in. For example, a hair stylist can maintain a blog about the different hairstyles in trend, the different colouring techniques, beauty products, hair styling products etc. You need to however make sure that the blog is optimised for the search engine to be able to crawl your blog and rank it. This, along with needing an SEO expert to do the initial setup also requires time to see fruition, but once successful, is the most powerful tool that can turn the tables of fortune for you.
While, you wait for your blog efforts to start reaping, you can work on other channels like Quora, other blogs in the domain etc. On Quora, you can answer a multitude of questions that pertain to your service and very subtly do a product push. On the other hand, you can also add comments on other relevant blogs with links to your properties.
- Offline Market places
If you’re owning a micro enterprise that has no online presence, then this is an interesting option you must try to benefit from. Marketplaces include your trade shows, flea markets, night markets etc. which has seen a rising popularity these days. Having a stall or simply starting with handing out your business cards by attending one of these events can give you an idea about the kind of responses you can expect from an event like this.
Be careful to assess the event before you spend on the stalls. It is advisable to start off with a free stall event and see the kind of responses you get from the crowd and then move it to a paid stall event.
That brings us to the end of the article. We’ve rolled out this article in the best interest of micro entrepreneurs and their success. Should you think there is a strategy or two we’ve missed in the article, please do discuss the same in the comments section below so that our fellow micro entrepreneurs can benefit from the same.