Business promotion is an essential part of running any successful business. You should spend at least an hour a day on business promotion or planning how to promote your business (and more is better, if you can fit the time in.)
So where do you start?
There are potentially hundreds of different ways you could promote your new business but many can be timely and costly, so it’s a good idea to decide which ones will work best for you and achieve the desired results for your business. Marketing and Promotions is not a ‘one size fits all’ and what works well for one business, may not necessarily work effectively for yours.
This article aims to help you get started and help you grow your business/ service by deciding what might work best for you.
16 ways to promote your business:
1. Have you got a website?
For those with no idea about websites, this suggestion might seem extremely daunting. However a website is one of the most fundamentally important tools you should have to promote your business. One thing you do need to remember though is that just by having a website, it doesn’t mean that everyone is going to start flooding through the door as you need to direct your target audience to your site. There are a number of ways you can do this via some of the further steps below.
Aim for a clean easy to navigate design that tells people what you are offering and emphasises your professionalism and skill. Give your potential clients as much information as you think they will need. Remember, this is most likely going to be your first point of contact with a potential client, and could determine right away whether or not the contract goes to you.
2. Tell everyone you know about it.
Tell everyone you know about your business; what it does, what it offers and who it will benefit. I’m sure family, a few friends and friends of friends will also benefit in some way from your business. Is there anything you could offer them for free as an intial introduction? By offering this sort of introduction, word of mouth should then follow. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways of promoting any business. As long as its positive! If you have made a marked change to their lives or their own business somehow through your business, then they will definitely share this with their friends and family.
3. Buisness Cards, Leaflets, Brochures, Postcards…
Many may think business cards are a bit old hat now when we have so many different social media sites to choose from that we could promote our business through, but there is nothing more engaging and personal than meeting with a potential customer when out and about at a chance meeting and ending the conversation with ‘here take my card, if I can be of any help in the future, please get in touch.’ Far more professional than scribbling down your details on a piece of scrap paper that they kight just throw away in error when they get home. It also demonstrates how serious you are as a business and a professional.
Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients. Call your friends and relatives and tell them you about your business. Visit local business and community centres and leave a stack behind.
You could try and be original and creative with your business cards to. Offer them something a bit different to stand out from the crowd. Take a look at these Top 100 really creative business cards.
Leaflets and brochures are also still very much welcomed when providing an extra source of information to someone looking to find out more about a product or service. Customers are much more savvy these days before they buy and want to go away and think about whats on offer. If you have a leaflet, brochure or something that they can take away and look at that appealing and eye catching that they aren’t just going to throw away then you have an ample opportunity to tell your audience what your business can do for them. With any of your messages or communications, always think about the ‘whats in it for me’.
4. Social Media Networks
Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn, Instagram, PinInterest… the list goes on. But make sure your business is on at least one. They all offer different ways and different advantages to promoting your business. You will need to think about whether you want to sell things, offer a service, share ideas, and provide content or advice or whether you want to just update your customers on your business success.
Put videos of your product or service on YouTube and other video-sharing and slide-sharing sites.
Here are some great tips on getting started with Social Media networks and deciding what might work best for you.
5. Talk to all the vendors from whom you buy products or services.
Give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or service, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed (printers often do, and so do some supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.), ask if yours can be added to the board.
6. Attend meetings of professional groups
Attend groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, or civic associations. Have business cards in a pocket where they are easily reachable. Don’t forget to ask what the people you speak with do, and to really listen to them. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and better remember you because of it.
If the group has a website and publishes a list members on the site, make sure your name and website link get added. Once it is added double check to be sure your contact information is correct and your website link isn’t broken.
LinkedIn offers thousands, if not more, professional groups that you can get involved with and spread the word about your business and its service. You must get involved for them to be of any value, however don’t just ‘sell, sell, sell.’ Share a bit of your personality, what you do and provide guidance where you can. accredit yourself as a professional within your area. People buy from people, not business.
8. Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicise it.
Send out press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, cable TV stations, magazines whose audiences are likely to be interested in buying what you sell. Be sure to post the press releases on one or more online press release services, too, being sure to include links to your website. To increase your chance of having the material published, send along a photo (but not to radio stations) with your press release.
9. Blog or write an article that demonstrates your expertise in your field.
Send it to newspapers, magazines, and websites in your field that accept submissions from experts. Be sure your name, business name, phone number, and a reference to your product or service is included at the end of the article. If the editor can use the article you get your name in print, and possibly get your contact information printed for free, too.
10. Publicise your publicity.
Whenever you do get publicity, get permission from the publisher to reprint the article containing the publicity. Make photocopies and mail the copies out with sales letters or any other literature you use to market your product or service. The publicity clips lend credibility to the claims you make for your products or services.
11. Offer to be a speaker.
Industry conferences, volunteer organizations, libraries, and local business groups often need speakers for meetings. You’ll benefit from the name recognition, contacts and publicity.
12. Offer a free, no obligation consultation
Show people what you can do before they buy to people you think could use your services. During such consultations offer some practical suggestions or ideas and before you leave ask for an “order” to implement the ideas.
13. Free gifts, otherwise known as merchandise
This method does take a little investment to start with but can yield good results if it’s done properly and is correctly targeted. Invest in some branded sweets, pens, USB sticks, fridge magnets etc to promote your business. The advantage of these items over traditional business cards is that they are more likely to be kept, plus your contact/business information generally remains on open view, as opposed to being in a wallet, purse or filing system somewhere.
This will help get your company name and details out to your target audience, and will hopefully get your name and details seen by the right people.
14. Hold an open day or event
Can you hold an open house or event to promote your business? Invite some other local businesses along including press and journalists and tell them all about your business. Provide them with some entertainment and feed them and let them try your business if possible so they can see it for themselves. They will remember you for this and could be the start of a long term working relationship for future positive and ongoing PR opportunities.
15. Create your own app
This isn’t all that difficult to do and there are a number of companies out there already offering this service. You don’t necessarily have to offer an app that actually sells your service or product but perhaps uses it in some way to remind customers of it. An example could include a game which uses your product as part of that game.
A really age old, great way of promoting your business and giving something back to potential customers. It is also a great way of building up your customer database with their details, as with their permission you can then go on to send them future communications about further services or products.
These have only touched the surface on the many opportunities you can utilise to promote your business, but these aim to get you started and get your business out there into the big wide world.
- How to Make Professional Business Cards (answers.com)
- Networking Tips for Business Owners: 5 Ideas for Promotional Products That Will Get You Noticed (amsterdamprinting.com)
- Why Business Card is Important to Every Business? (businesscardsizes.wordpress.com)
- Small Business Marketing Magic – 10 Ways to Use Customer Testimonials (amsterdamprinting.com)
- 5 Top Offline Marketing Tips for Online Businesses (firmology.com)
- The Advantages of Making Business Cards Online (ruralstops.blogspot.com)
- 3 Creative Ways to Market Yourself Without Social Media (thesocialschoolhouse.wordpress.com)
- 10 Commandments of Correct Business Card Marketing (printrunner.com)