Categorised | Small Business

Effective, Low-cost ways to Promote your Business

Business promotion is not always the most exciting part to starting up your own business, but it’s something you just have to do! You should spend at least an hour a day on business promotion or planning how to promote your business – especially if you are just starting up.

You cannot rely on other people to do it for you, no matter how great your product or service is. Business promotion doesn’t have to cost you a fortune either… Here are some low-cost ways to promote your business.

Use every outgoing piece of paper and every electronic document as business promotion.

Business stationery is an ideal business promotion tool. Is your business name, logo, contact information (including URL if you have one), on your envelopes as well as on your letterhead? Your phone and fax numbers, your URL, and even a memorable slogan should be there. It’s not just an envelope; it’s a business promotion tool! You’re sending it out anyway, so why not make it work for you?

Whatever paper you send out should carry your full company message. And don’t forget to make sure that your email has a complete signature that provides all your business information and a promotional tagline. Email is also 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.

Use buddy marketing to promote your business

For example, if 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. If you support a charity, then utlise that as a partner, and tap into their member base to advertise sales or promotions. 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 business promotion, and allow each business to use promotion techniques that would be too expensive to implement alone.

Writing articles on topics related to your business expertise is an excellent business promotion technique.

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 hair dresser, you might write a piece about caring for hair. The more specific your topic, the better. Write a short biographical note about you and your business to go with the article (usually at the bottom) Then send it out!

Where? As the goal is to promote your business, you’d like it to appear in a publication that your target audience will be reading. Magazines generally have a long lead time, so I would focus my first efforts on the net. There are an astronomical number of e-zines and sites with newsletters that are hungry for content.

Newspapers are also excellent places to place your business promotion article, as they too have a much shorter lead-time than magazines and are always looking for material. Try contacting the Business editor of your local paper and pitching your article.

Sending a press release is another great way to get some free business promotion

The catch? Well… it must be newsworthy and capture people’s interest. 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. Check out www.reversepr.com.au.

Give out freebies as business promotion

I’m sure you’re familiar with the saying ‘the first 50 people to visit a particular store will receive a free (____)’. You fill in the blank. We’re familiar with this kind of spot promotion because it works. People love to receive things that are free.

How about? using this 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? Definitely a win-win situation.

Promote your business by guest speaking at a seminar or presentation

You have expertise that other people are interested in! Why not share that expertise and promote your business at the same time?

For example, a local hardware store advertises a free seminar on installation techniques for a type fire alarm. Participants not only learn how to install this type of alarm themselves, but are offered special discount prices if they wish to purchase the item.

If there’s no direct tie-in to your product or service, you can still give a presentation on a related topic. Many government-sponsored organisations, Economic Development Centres, and non-profit programs are always looking for experienced business people who are willing to give presentations. You may also be able to arrange to present your topic through the Continuing Education branch of your local college or university.

Public speaking not for you? Start small by making a presentation to one of your local groups such as your Home-Based Business Association or Business Women’s network. Try something like Toastmasters; this organisation has helped many people become great public speakers.

Use your vehicle to promote your business
Depending on your business, this might work. I have seen vehicles that note the name and phone number of a business decorated on their 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!

Promote your business through your leisure activities
Everyone does something for “fun”. Whether your chosen leisure activity is working on a cause or project. There are all kinds of ways to promote your business while you do what you love to do.
• If your activity involves a group with possibly a quarterly newsletter, you might ask to contribute in exchange for your business information to be noted.
• Consider sponsoring an event and utilising this to either present a speech or promote your business by means of branding.

With a little experimentation and time, you’ll find out which of these ideas work best for your small business.

*Jennifer Black is a specialist PR Executive with expertise in Public Relations, Marketing and Image Consulting. To learn more see: www.blacklinepr.com.au

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