3 Cheap Ways Southeast Asian Entrepreneurs Can Market Their Start-up

Get creative!

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 27 Mar 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Around the world, companies spend billions in advertising — Google’s ad revenue can attest to that. To be sure, investing in advertising and other marketing efforts can be worth it, especially for large corporations with big budgets to spend. But for Southeast Asian start-ups without this privilege, how then can they market their products and services, and reach customers? Here are three things they need to remember:


1. Boost your site’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

SEO is a digital marketing field that is utilized to maximize a website’s visibility in organic (non-paid) search engine results. It helps drive traffic to your website and increase your website’s search engine rankings. SEO’s core aspects are utilizing search terms or keywords that can organically drive traffic to your website; building links; making your website friendly to search engines (e.g. Google); and marketing the value of your website in such a way that search engines’ algorithms would understand.

You can start by installing an SEO plug-in like Yoast SEO in your website’s content management system (e.g. WordPress). With it, you can put on every post the focus keyword (the search term you want your page or site to rank in search results) and meta description (keyword-rich short sentences or phrases that will help the search engine and its users to identify your content). Google Keyword Planner can help you find better keywords.

Another way to boost your site’s SEO is to participate in related forums — be truly helpful in those forums and drop some of your website’s links (e.g. a link to your blog post). You can also sign up for online listings and ask your customers to leave reviews about the company on directory sites like Google+ and Yelp.


2. Produce great content

If you look closely at the marketing activities of the top companies around the world, you will probably notice that they generate a lot of content — blog posts, branded photos and graphics, videos, and more. It’s because people consume digital content on a daily basis, hence it is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience. Without spending a single cent, you can start your own blog using a free account, do guest posting or blogging, and find willing bloggers to review your product.

Done right, content marketing can do wonders for your business, just make sure you’re not making these mistakes, as discussed by John Rampton in his Inc. article. He gives examples, such as: your content is too short, you’re too promotional, you’re overusing industry buzzwords, you’re not using internal linking, you’re not writing with your target market in mind, among others.


3. Harness social media

There are a ton of things you can do on social media for free that can give your brand a boost. Get creative. Try to host a giveaway contest, create an incentive/loyalty program (e.g. one retweet or a photo shared on Instagram gives your customer a 10% discount), ask for customer reviews on your Facebook page, and the list goes on.

Try to make your articles go viral with these traits, described by Cheryl Snapp Conner in her Inc. article: an attention-getting headline, a contrarian view, shareability, shock and awe, and numbers and lists.