A guide for small business owners
Small business may feel that having an online marketing strategy is beyond them, but in fact for small businesses, having an online marketing presence is not only essential but also a great way of business promotion and can be done on a minimal budget.
Here are some simple ideas which can be used to promote your business:
List your business
There are many local business directories where you can post to promote your business and services. This doesn’t cost anything and can reach new customers, so make sure you are listed. This works on the basic premise is that the more people that realise that your business exists, the more chance there is of generating a sale. For those with a physical address, a listing can also be created on Google My Business.
Encouraging customers to review your services or products online (on Google) can also generate additional publicity for your company.
Sending emails is a great way of ensuring that customers are up to date with your products and services. Sending out a regular email with interesting information, helpful tips, or even a competition is a way of generating and promoting brand loyalty, at minimal cost.
Write a blog
Having a blog is an easy way of creating content. This can be done using websites such as WordPress; which is also free to use. Blogging not only provides a way of broadcasting information to your viewers but can also encourage viewer interaction and create a fan-base as long as the content is interesting and informative.
If your blog can establish your business as an expert in your field, this combined with user interaction and keyword tagging will also raise your business profile in terms of search engines, thus increasing your business visibility.
Participate in social media platforms
Once you have established a blog and are confident at posting, why not participate in other social media websites? Creating a social media presence can promote your business but makes sure your posts are constructive, professional and positive. Avoid being critical of other businesses or individuals as this can backfire.
People are bombarded with promotional emails, updates and tweets on a daily basis, so ensure that your posts are seen by making them original, creative and unique so that they capture people’s imagination. In this way they will look out for your posts and read them eagerly. If they are dull and unimaginative, chances are they won’t even be read.
The same applies to business cards. If your cards are original and eye-catching, people will hold on to them whether they require your services or not, and who knows when that eye-catching, visual business card might come in handy for their friends or relatives? If they are unimaginative and dull they are likely to end up in the bin.
Loyalty rewards and freebies
Everyone loves gets a free gift no matter how small. Offering a free sample in return for an e-mail subscription could be the start of a blossoming relationship between you and your customers. Offering discounts and special offers to a select group of loyal customers can promote a sense of allegiance and is sometimes offered in return for introducing a new member.
Whilst public speaking may not be your ideal pastime, why not advertise talks to local groups or your website, or on local notice boards?
Although not a direct pitch for business, offering yourself as a guest speaker is a good way of moving your business from the virtual world back to the real world. Your talk doesn’t have to be excessively long. Simply cover a few key points of interest winding up with a question and answer session.
The key to success is that, as a guest speaker, you have immediately established yourself as an expert in that field and as such people will refer to you as and when your services are required.
All of the above strategies are available for minimal cost and can be extremely effective in making contact with new customers and the associated business that this might generate.
Don’t underestimate yourself just because you are a small business. Take a deep breath, and try some of them out. After all, what have you got to lose?