Businesses Growing Together
Business promotion is the key to your business success. It might not be fun but like anything else it’s got to be done.
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 adage 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 adage of business promotion is that like every other aspect of your business, it's a budgeted activity. But business 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.
#1 – Be a walking billboard
You see the big companies do this all the time. There's a reason they do it - IT WORKS! Maybe you can't afford to give away free wearable items to your customers all the time and not every business can afford to buy thousands at one time. But at Promote-101 we cater to the small businesses so you can buy just one and there are no set up fees on our wearable promotional items.
We have t-shirts, button earrings , and watches and many other wearable items that can be made with your store name and URL on them. Even wearable items for the kids - bibs, creepers and more.
#2 Use every outgoing piece of paper, and every electronic document as business promotion.
You have business cards, but you also put out a lot of other documents and emails in the course of doing business.
Check these to make sure you're using their promotional possibilities to full advantage.
For instance, business stationery is an ideal business promotion tool. Is your business name, logo, contact information including your URL and slogan on your envelopes and labels as well as on your packing slips? Or are your labels only printed with your business name and return address? What a waste! Your phone and fax numbers, your URL, and even a memorable slogan should be there, too. It's not just an label, it's a business promotion tool! You're sending it out anyway, so why not make it work for you?
The same goes for outgoing faxes, bill payments, receipts; 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.
#3 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 Web site designer, you might write a piece about assessing Web site 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 audience will be reading. Realistically, you may have to send it to a publication that accepts unsolicited work from unknown authors. 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. One place to look for e-zines to send articles to is The Internet's Best E-Zine Directories. E-zines also provide excellent advertising value; the trick is to find the right e-zine for your target audience.
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. If this approach fails, you might be able to get your piece into the paper by sending it in as a letter to the Editorial section.
#4 - Forums, Buddy Marketing and Freebies As Business Promotion
Posting messages in forums (a.k.a. bulletin boards) is a great way to make your business known to people you would otherwise be unable to contact. You can't blatantly advertise your business on most forums, but you can show others that you're a knowledgeable, personable individual and promote your business through your signature file.
Getting people interested in your business and perhaps attracting new customers works best if you choose forums that are business-related or product related.
The other caveat with choosing forums to post in is to check their level of activity; posting in a forum that doesn't have much traffic or regular activity isn't going to do much to promote your business.
#5 - Use buddy marketing to promote your business.
Businesses Growing Together has some great programs for having online merchants promote your business. This gives you the chance to reach more online shoppers. The BGT programs 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.
#6 - Give out freebies as business promotion.
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". 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.
As a grand opening special during August our Promote store is offering a free matching logo gift with a purchase of $25 or more.
#7 - Use your vehicle to promote your business.
Mobile business promotion isn't just for white delivery vans. Put the name and phone number and URL of your business on your car 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!
You can get a pair of magnetic signs or window decals from Jeri's Signs. Or for under $20 including shipping get a license plate holder with your URL.
#8 – What to do with your business cards
Do not leave home without them! Put your business cards to work. When you pay that bill hand the clerk or waitress your business card. When you go to the library slip them in some books. When you go in a public restroom leave some on the counter. Get in the habit of doing business promotion wherever you go and you'll be surprised how word-of-mouth builds.
#9 - Talk it up!
There's always the opportunity to promote your business by letting other people know what you do and how it could benefit them. This doesn't mean that you talk about nothing else, but there are bound to be chances to talk about your business that crop up during normal conversation.
These business promotion ideas are just some of the ways you can promote your small business without spending a small fortune. With a little experimentation and time, you'll find out which of these ideas work best for you - and best get the word out about your small business.