Just because you’re running a small business on a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t build a buzz around your brand. From traditional publicity to online marketing, there are a few key ways to reach your audience without spending any money. Here are seven tips for generating free publicity, helping you to get more foot traffic and increase your sales.
1. Generate Newsworthy Buzz
Getting featured in a major news publication such as the South China Morning Post, or even on a popular blog, can introduce your brand to a broad audience. But with so many Hong Kong businesses fighting for the spotlight, you have to do something truly newsworthy if you want to get noticed. For example, you could host a free seminar or workshop for the community, hold a demonstration, or host a grand opening bash. Be sure to create a press release describing your upcoming event so you can share it with bloggers, journalists, and reporters who might be interested in covering your story.
2. Leverage Social Media
With 57% of Hong Kong consumers on Facebook and 21% on Instagram, getting active on social media is a solid way to generate some extra publicity for your business. Focus on sharing valuable or interesting content to increase the likelihood of shares, and sprinkle in a few coupons and announcements for upcoming sales. For Instagram, professional-looking photos with good lighting are a hit, especially if you include relevant hashtags such as #HK and #HongKong in your post descriptions.
3. Create an SEO-Friendly Website
Relevant keywords, blog posts, and an easy-to-navigate site layout with no broken links make your site more likely to show up on internet searches. Google is the biggest search engine player in Hong Kong. But to reach the widest possible audience, consider writing all your site’s content in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. This can help you get your site on mainland China’s big search engines Baidu and Shenma.
4. Get Involved With Local Charities
For local businesses, community involvement is still one of the biggest ways to build word-of-mouth buzz. For instance, you could ask employees to volunteer once a month at a local charity such as Helping Hand. Collecting donations for a local cause can also help you build stronger community ties.
5. Ask Customers for Reviews
Customer reviews can be a double-edged sword since you can’t control customers’ ratings, but they are also a great way to increase your business’ web presence without lifting a finger. You can always include a friendly note with every purchase or send a follow-up email asking customers to leave an honest review on sites such as TripAdvisor, Yelp, or OpenRice.
6. Network With Other Businesses
When marketing dollars are tight, find unique ways to collaborate with other local businesses. Some ideas include holding a joint-hosted party or letting another business use your location for an event in exchange for social media mentions. You could also place posters, business cards, or flyers in each other’s businesses.
7. Create Video Content
Hong Kong consumers love watching videos. In fact, YouTube is still more popular than Instagram with 26% of local consumers using the platform. How-to videos are a popular option since they continue to reach potential customers years after being posted. For example, a hair salon might produce a few basic hair-styling tutorials. You could also try your hand at viral videos that fans love to share. Funny or heartwarming stories are generally the most successful.
Whatever methods you choose to market your business, remember to track your sales to see what’s working. If you have accounting software like QuickBooks, you can do this easily with automated sales tracking. While a strong advertising budget can help you reach more customers, these seven free methods are sure to give you a cost-friendly head start.