Starting a small business is an adventure, but success requires a lot of work and planning. It takes more than having a great product. You have to let people know you are available and that you have something they want. You might make the world’s most delicious cookies or have the best pet-sitting business on the planet, but no one will know that if you don’t tell them.
Promoting your businesses isn’t tricky, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. It just requires that you put in some time and effort.
Here are seven ways that you can effectively promote your small business.
Maintain a social media presence.
Social media is a must for a modern business. You may not enjoy social media, but your business will suffer without it.
At the minimum, create a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Get as many people to follow you as possible. Post to these accounts every day, even if it’s just with something simple. For example, you might tweet a good quote you heard on the topic of your business, or you might post a picture of your work on that day. The idea is to stay fresh in the minds of your customers and potential clients.
Increase your followers by offering exclusive coupons or offers through social media. If you are inclined, you might also start a blog. That takes more time, but it is a fun way of letting your clients connect with you. It’s perfect if your small business involves something that looks great in pictures, like growing flowers or baking cupcakes.
Be active in your community.
Just as you want to be seen on social media, you will also want your neighborhood and town to see you as well. You want people to hear your name and know who you are and what you do.
Become active in your town’s business association and offer to help sponsor community events and kids’ sports teams. Enter a float in a local parade, or volunteer to keep a section of the highway clean. You want people to see your business name and recognize it.
Partner up with another business.
Small businesses can help promote each other through recommendations and spreading the word. That is especially useful for companies that cater to the same clients. For example, a wedding cake baker might feature pictures from a local photographer who is available to be hired for weddings.
See if other businesses will allow you to leave promotional items or free samples at their locations. You might package your homemade chocolates as samples available at a dry cleaner, or you might ask a doggie daycare to advertise your knitted sweaters for dogs. When businesses help each other, everyone succeeds.
Offer incentives for passing the word.
Word of mouth is still one of the most effective forms of advertising a business. People are likely to try a service or product suggested by a friend, family member or even acquaintance.
Encourage your happy customers to pass on their satisfaction by offering incentives for bringing in new customers. Clients might get a free item or a percentage off of your services when they make a referral becomes a customer.
Set up a contest.
People love winning. Come up with a prize and raffle it off in the promotion of your business. Merely put a fishbowl on the counter and let customers leave their contact information.
You could get more creative with this idea by having an essay contest or a poster contest advertising your business. Ask local kids to create an advertisement and then run the winner in the local paper. Anything that gets people talking about you will work.
Hand out promotional items.
Order some promotional items with the name and contact information of your business. These could be water bottle labels, toys, magnets, sunglasses or just about anything you can imagine. Look for a product that is related to your business and that people will want to take home and use.
Take these items to a local event like a parade or a community day at the park and pass them out to the public. Free water bottles or towels are perfect for warm days.
Throw a party.
Invite people to learn about your business by throwing a party or an open house. Provide samples of your product or service and offer fun family activities. You can rent a bounce house or ask someone to paint faces. That is especially effective if you have a business geared toward children or young families.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of promoting your small business. You have many choices when it comes to getting the word out about what you have to offer. Carefully consider the type of business you have and where you might find potential clients. Then reach out to them in a creative way that they will notice.
You can make your small business a success. Start with these seven ideas for promoting who you are and what you can do.