1 How to Promote Your Business
Business promotion is to running a successful business as practicing scales is to playing the piano well; it may not be a thrilling activity in itself, but you just have to do it! 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)!
You promote your business by getting the word out. The first axiom of business promotion is that you have to do this consciously.
You can’t rely on other people to do it for you, no matter how great your product or service is.
The second axiom of business promotion is that like every other aspect of your business, it’s a budgeted activity. But promotion doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are ten inexpensive ways to promote your business; all most of these will cost you is some time.
2 Promote Your Business Whenever You Communicate
Promote your business with your correspondence. Image (c) Dave Mcleod
You have business cards, but you also put out a lot of other documents in the course of doing business. Check these to make sure you’re using their promotional possibilities to full advantage.
Is your business name, logo, contact information (including web address), and slogan present on all your correspondence? Any document that you send out (whether electronic or printed) should have a letterhead with all of your company information.
And don’t forget to make sure that your email has a complete signature that provides all your business information and a promotional tagline. You can also add a section with links for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest so the recipient can connect with you on social media.
Electronic documents, such as email, are easy to update with your latest business promotion information, whether it be a special price on your product or service or letting people know that your company has won an award.
Remember – it’s not just an email, it’s a business promotion tool! You’re sending it out anyway, so why not make it work for you?
3 Turn Your Vehicle Into a Mobile Billboard With a Vehicle Wrap
Promote your business with your vehicle. Image (c) Dave Mcleod
Mobile business promotion isn’t just for white delivery vans. Where I live, one in every four vehicles has the name and phone number of a business decorating one of the windows or doors. Think of all the people who see your vehicle when you’re driving around – especially if you live in a place where people often get stuck in traffic!
Modern vehicle wrap advertising consists of applying removable “stickers” containing your business logo and information. Wraps are digitally printed onto a specially-applied media and will not harm the vehicle paint job.
According to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, depending on your locale and population size a single vehicle wrap can generate 30,000 to 70,000 views per day, making it one of the most inexpensive ways to promote your business.
And if you want to go all out, there’s nothing like a special paint job for eye-catching advertising.
4 Use Social Media to Promote Your Business
Use social media to promote your business. Image (c) Alex Slobodkin / Getty Images
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great ways to promote your business through social media.
A good example of how this can be effective was illustrated to me recently when we had a power outage that affected some areas of our community. One of the local restaurants posted on Facebook that they had power and were open for business and within an hour they were packed with customers.
To get started with social media see How to Create a Social Media Plan. See also How to Create Facebook Fan Pages and How to Promote your Business on Twitter. If you are skilled with taking video (or know someone who is) you can record video promotions of your products or services and post them on YouTube.
5 Promote Your Business by Blogging and Writing Articles
How to promote your business by blogging. Yuri_Arcurs/E+/Getty Images
When you’re thinking of how to promote your business, don’t forget about writing articles.
Well-written articles can provide free advertising and build positive word-of-mouth. If you’re a realtor, for instance, you could write a piece on preparing your home to be shown. If you’re a website designer, you might write a piece about assessing website usability.
The more specific your topic the better. Write a short biographical note, or “blurb” about you and your business to go with the article. Then send it out!
Where? As the goal is to promote your business, ideally you’d like it to appear in a publication that your target market will be reading.
1) Blogs/websites – There are an astronomical number of these that are hungry for content! Many accept, even seek out, “guest posts”, blogs or articles from people not employed by the person or business running the site.
These can be great promotional placements for you as long as you choose the blog or website you allow to publish your work carefully. Having one or more of your articles on a site that gets little traffic isn’t going to help you and may even hurt your business if it’s a spammy looking site. Ideally, you want to get your piece published on a blog or website that has high traffic and has a good chance of being visited by your prospective customers.
You also have to choose carefully in terms of your target market. If you’re selling baby clothes, getting one of your articles published on a blog about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) isn’t going to be seen by many (if any) of the customers you hope to impress. Getting your work on a popular blog directly related to bringing up baby would be a much better fit.
2) Magazines – The magazine industry isn’t dead yet and many of them are always looking for content too. Once again, the trick is to get your article published in a magazine that your target market is likely to read. Search for these online by specific topic (i.e. baby magazines).
Freelance writing sites also provide a great deal of information on all kinds of publications that might publish your efforts. Make your research easier by starting with a great site that provides all kinds of lists and information on markets such as Freelance Writing or FreelanceWriting.com.
3) Newspapers can still be good places to place your business promotion article. Try contacting the Business editor of your local paper and pitching your article. If this approach fails, you might be able to get your piece into the printed or online version of the paper by sending it in as a letter to the Editorial section.
6 Use Press Releases for Business Promotion
How to promote your business: press releases. Image (c) Nicolas McComber / Getty Images
Sending out press releases is another great way to get some free business promotion.
The caveat to using press releases as a business promotion tool is that your press release has to actually contain information that is newsworthy, and be engaging enough to get people’s interest.
Has your business recently expanded? Do you have a new product? Have you been involved in some promotional activity such as sponsoring a charity event? Have you or your company recently won an award? All of these are examples of “news” that you can capitalize on to get some free promotion for your business.
Press releases can be published online or in print.
7 Use Buddy Marketing (Cross-Promotion)
How to promote your business: cross-promotion. Image (c) Ababsolutum / Getty Images
Buddy marketing involves joining up with another business or businesses and pooling your resources to promote all of your businesses. Like a joint venture, buddy marketing is a great way to extend your reach.
For example, when you send out brochures, you could include a leaflet and/or business card of another business which had agreed to do the same for you. This gives you the chance to reach a whole new pool of potential customers.
You might also plan and carry out business promotions with complementary businesses. A pet store and a pet grooming business, for example, might use shared advertising, or run a contest together. This can considerably cut down the cost of promoting your business and allow each business to use promotion techniques that would be too expensive to implement alone.
8 Give Out Freebies as Business Promotion
Promotional items. Image (c) Zoran Milich / Getty Images
We’re all familiar with hearing or reading advertisements that promise that the first 50 people to visit a particular store will receive a free (____). You fill in the blank. It could be anything from a red rose through an ice-cream cone! Pens, designer mugs, ball caps, and T-shirts are always popular as well.
We’re all familiar with this kind of spot promotion because it works. People love to receive things that are free.
Besides using freebies as business promotions, you can also use them regularly as customer “rewards”. For example, I recently had a picture framed; the framer had attached a free picture hanger to the painting’s wire, with a small card thanking me for my patronage. It’s only a small thing which certainly didn’t cost him much, but as the customer, I appreciate not having to rummage through my home looking for a suitable hanger and can’t help thinking positively about the service he provides.
What small, inexpensive things could you give out with your product or service that will get your customer thinking good thoughts about you? Combining business promotion with customer rewards is definitely a win-win situation.
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