Business Budgeting: Marketing Russian Small Business on a Budget
There is more to starting a small business in Russia than just setting it up. To get it up and to run, you must start bringing in the customers. They will be the ones that keep your business in operation.
But getting enough customers to come to you can be quite difficult. As a foreigner, marketing challenges will be magnified because you will be new to the scene, and consumers may not trust you. And if you have a limited budget, then you need to think outside the box. Here are 3 ways you can market your Russian small business on a budget:
Strategically Offer A Few Free Products Or Services
It may seem counterproductive to offer a few products or services for free, but you should try doing so. However, it would be best if you did it strategically. Your goal is to find clients who have a lot of influence on your target customers. Then reach out to them with the free offer. In exchange for the free product or service, you can ask that customer if you could include the work you have done for them on your portfolio. This strategy works best if you sell services such as painting, photography, interior design, etc.
If you sell products, then try to find an influencer who will offer an honest review. This could be someone who works on local radio, a TV star or YouTube star, or even a radio presenter. Think of the money you lose by offering a free service or product as an investment. The influencers you reach out to will have an already-built audience. And the marketing they provide is likely to be worth more than what you give them for free.
Embrace Local Social Media Platforms
Social media is one of the best platforms for businesses that want to market but have a small budget. But if you are used to North American social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, you may mistakenly assume that those platforms will work in Russia. That would be a huge mistake on your part, though.
Russia has its own popular social media platforms. VKontakte (VK) is what is popular with Russians currently. It has over 40 million users. While that number is nowhere near Facebook’s or Twitter’s numbers, it doesn’t matter. That’s because it consists of your target audience, which is Russian consumers.
You can use this site to begin creating your business network. And start engaging with people so that you can build trust with them. Do this by creating relevant content within your business niche. And entertain them. People are more likely to buy from you if they trust you. So, when you create business adverts and post them on the platform, you will likely get some customers even if your business is new.
Get Yourself Invited To A Local Show
Generating publicity for yourself in Russia is another way to market your small business on a budget. Find ways of getting yourself invited to a local show in Russia. Russia has about 3,000 radio stations. If you need to, come up with the content for one of the shows you want to feature on. Reach out and inquire if they could interview you on their business segment.
You could discuss your experience as a foreigner operating a new business in Russia and offer your expertise. You can even hold a Q&A forum for other foreigners looking to start businesses in Russia. And at the end of the show, you could subtly invite people to reach out to see what you sell. It would cost you nothing, and the radio host would have free content to share with the audience. It’s a win-win scenario.