The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) identified the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector as one of the critical drivers of the country’s economic growth. MSMEs make up 99.56% of all registered business in the Philippines and employs more than 60% of the country’s workforce. No doubt online sales have contributed to their success.
Then again, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor — as cited in a study done by the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada — points out that the Philippines has a business discontinuance rate of 12.6% compared to the ASEAN average of 4.8%. This means that the likelihood of MSMEs closing shop is high. Among the factors that cause this are the fact that these businesses become unprofitable. This usually happens in saturated markets.
In “Fatal Flaws: 10 Reasons Why SMEs Fail” — an article published in Entrepreneur magazine — Stephen Armitage identifies ineffective marketing as one of the reasons why these businesses fail. He then suggests, “It has never been easier, or more cost-effective, to advertise. The advent of online marketing, social media, and the now well-established routes of email and websites mean that you can place and promote your product where your customers are.”
That said, here are five easily actionable tips on low-cost online sales ideas for MSMEs.
1. Sell smart. While MSMEs don’t have huge budgets for social media promotion, that doesn’t mean they can’t compete with bigger companies when it comes to promoting their products and services. Many business owners make the mistake of thinking that more money spent on ads leads to more clients. That’s not necessarily the case. Keep in mind that your primary goal is to attract the right crowd, the ones who are most likely to avail of your products and services.
Globe myBusiness Facebook Ads will help you maximize your budget for ads on the social media platform. Aside from helping control your ad spend, it also optimizes ads and monitors their performance. This way you’ll know what works and what doesn’t. Through it, you can easily set up ads with just a click.
Streamlining the process of creating ads and launching ad campaigns will enable you to focus on other tasks for your business.
2. Keep the treats coming. People generally welcome freebies and discounts. It doesn’t matter what or how much it is. In this case, it’s really the thought that counts. Plan regular online promos that people can look forward to every week or every month. This will also help more people become aware of your brand. Great examples of this type of online promo are the payday sales or payday specials. The objective is to create an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation among your existing and potential customers. Raffles and contests are also great for this purpose.
3. Give back. A number of successful entrepreneurs have effortlessly ensured that their customers would go back to them with giveaways. Little keepsakes like pens, key chains, USB flash drives, and the like help you forge a bond with your customers. It shows them that you put a premium on making their experience as pleasant as possible. These goodwill gifts go a long way, especially since people are most likely to tell others about them. Just one social media post from a happy customer may attract even more potential buyers.
4. Pair up. Connect with other entrepreneurs and explore the idea of cross-promoting on their websites and social media platforms. You can come up with an exchange deal where you each mention each other in shout-outs or posts on your respective websites and social media platforms.
Ideally, you should team up with someone who also provides services or products to you. For instance, if you sell bags then you could make a deal with a bag repair shop. If you sell food, then you can partner up with a beverage company. Make use of your connections in order to expand the reach of your online promos.
5. Be an advocate. The objective of businesses is, of course, to reap a significant profit for their products and services. However, you can look at the bigger picture and support a cause that would also appeal to your customers — they’ll appreciate the thought that your online sales benefits are not just for you and the business, but for others as well.
For example, if you sell rice or fresh produce, you commit to buying only from local farmers. You can let your customers know that you are doing this so that they would understand why your prices may not be as low as that of imported goods. This way, they would still be willing to pay a few extra pesos to support your advocacy.
You can also decide to donate a portion of your earnings to your chosen beneficiaries. Let your customers know about this so they would be aware of the cause that you support.
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