Five Simple and Inexpensive Things You Should Be Doing
to Promote your Business.
By Ray Boucher
Many people make the decision to go into business for themselves. Many also find that once they're up and running they hit a road block when it comes to finding new customers. Advertising can be quite expensive and most new business do not have money in their budget for costly advertising. But if you don't promote your business it will be hard to find customers. so what do you do? The following are simple ways to promote your business that won't put a strain on your wallet. they are very inexpensive and in some cases free. These are things that you should already be doing and if you are not now's the time to kickstart your marketing campaign. Keep in mind, this is a foundation. these are techniques to get you started. A foundation to build on as your business grows.
1 - Have a Plan.
This sounds like a no-brainer but most small businesses neglect it and it is the first and most important step you should take in promoting your business or services. Know what you are going to do before you do it. When you build a house you have a plan. You plan every last detail of a wedding or a vacation. Why wouldn't you have a strategy for promoting your business? You can make adjustments to the plan as you go along. But you should definitely have a well defined outline to start with and a timeline with achievable goals.
2 - Hand out Business Cards
Business cards are cheap. If you don't have business cards to hand out to potential customers - You need to order some immediately. You should never be anywhere without your business card. You want to hand one of those babies to anyone and everyone who could possibly have any need for your services or products or anyone who may know someone else who needs them. So basically everyone you meet. When you're promoting your business, exposure is everything. You want to get your name in front of as many people as possible and handing out business cards is one of the easiest ways to do this.
3 - Ask for referrals.
Word of mouth can be a very effective promoting tool for small regional businesses. A satisfied customer can be your best salesperson. Encourage every person that you provide services or products for to refer anyone who they think may be interested in your company to you. Chances are if they were happy with their experience with you they will be glad to refer their friends or associates to you. How many times have you been in a situation where you're talking to someone about getting repairs done on your car or making renovations on your home and someone chimes in and says "Hey I've got a guy that does great work"? People will always be willing to do this because they feel like they are helping in some way and guess what? They are. They're helping you find someone to fix your car or remodel your home and they're helping the business by passing their information on to you. Referrals rock.
4 - Send out Emails
Create a short informative message describing your business. Include some bullet points spotlighting some of your products or services or maybe just a short description of one of your top products. Make sure you include your contact information - Including your location if you have an office or storefront, your telephone number, website URL if you have one. Also make sure the name of your business appears several times in the message. Include a discount code in the email for the recipients to refer to when they follow up so that you can track the results. Send the email to everyone you know and ask them to forward it to everyone in their address book and so on. Most people have at least 20 - 30 email contacts in their address book. If you send the message to 30 people and they all send it to 30 people and so on .Well you get the idea. Oh yeah. And guess what? Email is free
5 - Put up a website
What? You don't have a website? OK not to worry. there are many low cost web hosts out there nowadays. You can purchase a domain name and sign up for a year of hosting for about $100.00. If you don't have the funds right away to pay someone to build you a professional website most of the hosting companies have interfaces on their site where you can assemble your own basic site using stock elements that they'll provide you. Your web site is where you can really go all out and put up a lot of information about your business. You can describe your products in depth, put a map so people can find your office, and put an email link so people can contact you with questions about your products, post special discounts or promotions to get people to try your products. The possibilities are endless. Most reputable web hosting companies have starter plans ranging from $10 to $20 per month, for basic web hosting and email.
These are just a few ideas to give you a kickstart for promoting your business. Remember promotion and marketing are ongoing processes. there is no exact formula that will work the same for everyone. You will want to try different approaches and different combinations of ideas. If you don't get the results you are looking for immediately, don't get discouraged. It's not something you do once and like magic you're a complete success. If you are consistent and persistent you will get results. There are many inexpensive ways that you can promote your business. The ones we've highlighted in this article are some of the easiest to initiate and certainly ones that will be effective if done consistently.
About the author:
Ray Boucher is a marketing professional, author and the founder of inthinktive.
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