How to Promote Your Business
Entrepreneurs and business owners tend to be busy people and can therefore often neglect the basics when it comes to promoting their own business. We hope that you will find the following tips useful in helping your venture to thrive and succeed:
The Importance of Branding
As previously discussed, widespread brand recognition should be the goal of every business, since it builds credibility and inspires others to spread the word about what you are doing. Your brand logo should therefore appear consistently everywhere it needs to be: business stationery, business cards, email signatures, brochures, signage, websites and merchandising materials.
Meeting professionals from other, related businesses is an effective form of business promotion, since it gives you the opportunity to: explain what you do to potential customers; gather valuable competitor information; seek referrals; form mutually beneficial partnerships; and generally spread awareness about your business. You can network with other professionals in the following ways:
- Attend networking groups/meet-ups. Details of many networking events/groups can be found online and via trade publications. Go along and introduce yourself to others, explaining what makes your business different and what you are looking for in business relationships.
- Interact with others in your industry and ask relevant questions. This might include editors of your trade publication, bloggers or consultants who have a web presence. Don't be afraid to reach out and connect with others as this frequently results in creating new business contacts.
Consider the following methods for advertising your business:
- Signs. You may opt for storefront signs, billboards, marquee boards or street-side yard signs
- Print. Place print ads in magazines, newspapers, coupon books, trade journals and industry magazines. Choose print media that are suited to your business. For example, if you run a technology parts recycling warehouse, then you may consider placing ads in computer classifieds and technology magazines
- Commercials. Television and radio commercials are effective ways to promote your business to a broad audience, but are relatively costly forms of advertising
- Advertisements. You can pass out promotional materials at trade shows, store fronts, car parks or other highly-populated areas. Some businesses, like nightclubs and entertainment venues, hire street crews to hand out advertisements and attract new customers
- Direct Mail. You can purchase mailing lists targeted to your segment of the consumer market, then mail out letters, brochures, catalogues or postcards. This method is effective when you want to provide potential customers with paper coupons, vouchers, business cards or other promotional merchandising
- Public Relations (PR) Firms. You may hire a PR firm to create publicity for you in the form of news write-ups and press releases
- Internet. Promoting a business online involves setting up a business website, participating in industry/trade forum discussions, running a blog, setting up accounts on social networking sites, using pay-per-click and banner ads, listing your business information in business directories and employing search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques. Every business, regardless of its size or scope, could benefit from Internet marketing and much online marketing media is free to use
- Networking. Build business partnerships with other organisations. You can also collaborate with other businesses to maximum effect. For example, we advertise our client's businesses via our social media sites
The Power of Social Networks
Social networks have risen in popularity and become a favourite of advertisers, simply because if you do social media right, a lot of the leg work is done for you by fans or followers for free. You could pay someone to advertise for you – or you could invest some time in growing a social community of followers who advertise by word of mouth at little or no cost.
Many companies have harnessed the power of social media by launching engagement campaigns that have reached far and wide. For example, one company created a funny, relatable music video for its product. It took off on Facebook and Google+ and the company now has over a million combined subscribers across the two platforms.
Facebook fan pages are the ideal vehicle for posting discount voucher codes, exclusive to your online followers. You can also pass out branded merchandise – pens, t-shirts, baseball caps, computer memory sticks etc – to everyone you meet at networking events, trade shows, client meetings and even personal social gatherings.
Develop Your Relationship With Your Customers
It's important to remember that customers are people, not numbers. Consideration and effort needs to be put into building strong personal relationships with them. Simple things like sending out Christmas cards each year can help maintain customer loyalty and also inspire customers to tell others about your business or service.