4 Cost-Effective PR Strategies to Help Grow Your Online Business.

Back in the 2014, I found marketing and advertising are just too expensive for my Mirsky Mode startup. The traditional marketing was definitely out of the question due to high competition from well-established companies. Even online marketing and advertising require large sum of investment for it to be effective. Still, I don’t feel the ROI was enough for my startup.

Then, I found public relations (PR) strategies. It has the ability to be cost-effective if applied carefully. Having reflected on these, I have decided to share with you 4 cost-effective strategies to help grow your online business:

    1. Introduction
    2. Social Media Influencers Collaborations.
    3. e-Magazine (Invite for Interview/Promo on Website)
    4. Write Articles  
    5. Social Event (CSR)
    6. My Final Two Cent

Introduction

If you haven’t realized already, I rarely talk much about advertising. The reason is simple. Advertising is simply too expensive for small and online businesses to utilize as part of their business activities. And for the amount of money spent, the return of investment is simply not enough.

Then I found PR and its effectiveness. It’s cheaper and delivers through referrals which every successful business owners admit that these are highly sought after in the business world. When I started to build my online retail store Mirsky Mode, I knew traditional marketing is simply too expensive. Instead, I started to invite my friends and their friends’ friends to support my business. They brought me 11 customers on the first day and all through referrals which cost near nothing! This has made me realize that business referrals work and cheap too.

Obviously, there are setbacks. PR depends much on your network group. Certain groups are supportive. Some are not. It relies heavily on the types of network that you have. Don’t worry. If you feel you are not getting enough support from your friends, branch out. Meet new friends, make new connections. My advice, make friends with business owners who are by nature supportive of one another. This group of people understands the importance of helping one business to another compared to other groups.   

Collaborate With Social Media Influencers

There is no doubt every single human being on this planet is signed up to at least one social media platform. Depending on your business target market, it is best you select the right social media platform for you. Determine which platform suits best to your needs.

For example, LinkedIn is suitable for B2B purposes, Instagram suits businesses that rely much on photography (e.g. photography, retail business etc), Twitter mainly for blogging and Facebook which is considered an all-rounder – but limited in certain industries. Discover yourself which is the best suited for your business.

Once decided, time to get to the real work. Search the social media platform for the the most popular influencers in your industry. For example, if you have decided to focus on Instagram, select those who have the most engagements with their audience – with large amount of comments or conversations. Do not simply select an influencers based on the number of Likes and Followers they have – be careful since these can be bought.

There are few ways on methods for collaboration. Firstly, you can simply send multiple gifts to the shortlisted influencers and request them to post updates about your product on their page – set the timeframe to weekly or monthly. Secondly, if you feel sending gifts is too costly, request them to promote your business by posting on their Instagram page using the photo you have prepared for them. Ask them to quote on their pricing or for FREE if it’s a friendly party.

I’d also allocate some time to track each influencer’s performance to enable me to identify which collaborators are bringing in good stream of customers. To track this, simply give each social media influencers a special discount code specially designed for them. In this way, you can trace back where these customers come from enabling you choose the best influencers to work with in the future.

Invite and Promote With Magazines/E-Magazines  

There are so many magazines or online magazines scattered in the internet world. Another opportunity to get the word out.

Again it’s all about selecting the right magazines targeted at the right market. For instance, if your business involves fashion, understand who are their audience. Take a look at their social media pages and determine whether they have the right demographic for you. List down 5 best magazines best suited you and focus on working with these, first.

Send out an invite to all these magazines letting them know about your business and offer them the opportunity to interview your business. Being interviewed enables your business to be shared in their article page which helps much better than simply placing an ad on their magazine – which can be expensive. Do not forget to request the magazines to post updates of your business on their website and social media pages too – which will create further hype towards your business.

Again, it is important to track its performance by determining the amount of sales driven from it. Simply provide special discount codes for each magazine to track its performance similarly mentioned above.

Write Articles

If you feel your business or even your area of expertise can provide further insight about the industry or business in general, then you are recommended to offer your expertise to write for online magazines or portals by writing articles for them sharing your knowledge and experience.

This is another cheap way to promote your business since the articles will create lead to your business – as long as you don’t forget to leave a link to your site!   

Social Events (CSR)

Finally, social events. I’m sure some of you are now asking yourself “Organizing Events is not Cheap!” Well, you are right to a certain degree.

But here’s what I’m proposing. Organise events within your limit. Get a bbq session with your best customers, bowling tournaments, collaborate with charity organizations (soup kitchen etc). The opportunity is endless. Just be creative. I realize that you must be thinking what is the relation with online PR, but what better way to invite your favorite fans or customers through these online social media platforms.

Besides, in a relaxed environment, people are prone to open up in social events leaving you the opportunity to get to know your customers so that you’ll understand them more – crucial information for your business.

My Final Two Cent

If you haven’t realised already, I rarely talk much about advertising. The reason is simple. Advertising is simply too expensive for small and online businesses to utilize as part of their business activities. And for the amount of money spent, the return investment is simply not enough.

Then I found PR and its effectiveness. It’s cheaper and delivers through referrals which every successful business owners admit that these are highly sought after in the business world. When I started to build my online retail store Outfit Vibes, I knew traditional marketing is simply too expensive to my liking. Instead, I started to invite my friends and their friends’ friends to support my business. They brought me 11 customers on the first day and all through referrals which cost near nothing! This has made me realize that business referrals work and cheap too.

Obviously, there are setbacks. PR depends much on your network group. Certain groups are supportive. Some are not. It relies heavily on the types of network. Don’t worry. If you feel you are not getting enough support from your friends, branch out. Meet new friends, new connections. My advice, make friends with business owners who are supportive of one another. These group of people understands the importance of helping one business to another compared to other groups of people.

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