Best Cheap Ways to Promote Your Business
Whether you are a freelance writer like me or if you are a marketing consultant and CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you have to promote your business. Self-promotion is a must in any business. (Even if you work at home as a SAHM, you self-promote by being the CEO of your household and child care, which means you arrange schedules and get the best deals for your business: your family!)
For any business, no matter the size, you can spend hours every day, sending the word out, trying to get new customers and keep the ones you already have. It can seem a tad overwhelming, for sure. I remember when I first got my web site up and going, it was a month-long process, hours squeezed in between writing and mommying and (not enough) sleeping. What are some main promotion points to hit, especially when you are first building your business? Here are some places to start - and no, not all of them are online.
-- Your website. Even the least techy-ist person I know can set up a web site. So many blog/websites are out there now - you can make one for your business. Even if it just gives people the info on how to reach you to find out more info, having a web presence is vital. You need to have something that pops up when people Google "custom cupcakes Atlanta." Another idea if you are tech-fearful: reach out to your local college. I bet there are some computer whizzes that need some extra cash. Tap into their knowledge to set up your site and teach you how to maintain it.
-- Devise a marketing plan. Whether it is ads in your paper or targeted Facebook ads or contacting your area paper about something new you are doing or leaving cards and postcards at your hairdresser or favorite restaurant, plan it out and track the success. If a new customer comes in or contacts you, ask how they found out about your service. This will let you know what is working and what isn't.
-- Hold contests. You can hold contests on Pinterest or Etsy, you can spread the word in your store, anything that gets folks talking and reacting to your business or product is good press, which leads to more customers.
-- Register with your chamber of commerce, your local web search engines (like Google Places and Yahoo Local), get into listings for your area's visitor and tourist web sites. This is essential if you have a store. Make it easy for folks to find you.
-- Donate services or products. If your area is having a walkathon or a blood drive, donate something from your business. A few cases of water to get your logo or name on the t-shirt or banners is so simple to get your name out there for folks to see (not to mention the good karma of helping others!).
What gets you to buy items from small businesses? Do you notice when companies do these things?