There’s no need to run out of good promotion ideas once you read this article. Here are 31 low-cost ways to promote your business. Use a combination of these and put together a marketing mix that will really make an impact on your bottom line.
Starting a business on a shoestring? Looking for ways to stretch your small business marketing budget? Here are 31 low-cost, high-impact methods to advertise and promote your business.
What’s the best way to promote your business? How can you advertise your business and get your name in front of potential prospects when money is tight or you’re just starting up? How can you get the word out about your business in the most affordable way?
Promoting a business is an ongoing challenge for small businesses. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, these proven marketing strategies will help your business find new customers without spending a fortune.
- Plan your attack. Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO of the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest or Facebook? What about in-person networking at local business meetings? Will they be searching for your type of product on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase. Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic.
- If you don’t have a website, get one set up. If you can’t afford to have someone custom-design your website, put your site up using one of the companies like SiteSell.com or HomeStead.com that provide templates and tools that make it easy to create a basic website.
- Set up a free listing for your business in search engine local directories. You can do this at Google.com/local/; Bing.com/local/; and listings.local.yahoo.com/ Be sure to include your website link and business description.
- Set your business profile or page up on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Be sure your business profile includes a good description, keywords and a link to your website. Look for groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the conversations, but don’t spam them with constant promos for what you sell.
- If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationery, have them made up — immediately. Your business card, letterhead and envelope tell prospective customers you are a professional who takes your business seriously. Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create.
- 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 have started a business. Visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.
- 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.
- Attend meetings of professional groups,and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, 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.
- Pay for membership in those groups that attract your target customers.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.
- Become actively involved in 2 or 3 of these groups. That will give you more opportunity to meet possible prospects. But remember: opportunists are quickly spotted for what they are, and get little business. While you won’t want to become involved in many organizations that require a lot of your time in, you can –and should– make real contributions to all of them by offering useful ideas and helping with projects when possible.
- Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicize 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. Editors of printed publications are often in need of “art” (drawings or photos) to fill space and break up the gray look of a page of text.
- Write an article that demonstrates your expertise in your field.Send it to noncompeting 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.
- Publicize 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.
- Ask for work or leads.Contact nonprofit organizations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that have customers who may need your services.
- Network with others who are doing the same type of work you are.Let them know you are available to handle their work overloads. (But don’t try to steal their customers. Word will get out, and will ruin your business reputation.)
- 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.
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