You may have a business, a product or perhaps an idea that you think you can make work but in order to make it successful you need to let people know about it.
To take charge of your success you will need to promote yourself and your business both efficiently and economically. These top ten ways to promote your business will give you insights into how you can make the business and products you are selling, something that others want.
Your business cards as your brand
It sounds obvious but this is your first MUST have! Business cards are one of the most effective marketing tools because they let customers know you are a professional. They have the potential to make a statement about who you are and what your business is like.
Don’t scrimp on your business cards because they are your second opportunity to make an impression (the first is yourself). While it may be tempting to get those free Vista Print cards, believe me, if you cut corners on something as important as business cards your potential clients will wonder what else you are doing on the cheap.
Make sure your business cards include all your important details such as your name, company name, telephone number, email and fax numbers. If you’re on Twitter include that too. If you have a Facebook page let people know that way too. Your business card should act as your own personal advertisement, so advertise yourself properly.
Once your business cards are complete hand them out to your friends and family. Ask them to hand them out for you too. This will save you both time and money.
Business cards don’t have to cost a fortune. Moo.com is a great resource for getting fantastic personalised cards that make an impression.
Use a vehicle to promote your business
Using a vehicle to promote your business isn’t something that builders and decorators can just do – you could use this technique too! Mobile promotion is one of the best ways to publicise your business freely.
Why not have your company name, phone number, email or web address etched on your vehicle? When you’re driving around or get stuck in traffic potential customers will be encouraged to write down your contact information. This way you’re drumming up business without actually doing anything!
If you don’t fancy having your business details directly on your car, why not invest in magnetic signs (kind of like a driving instructors sign) or you could have your number plate personalised with your company name (although this is likely to be a little bit pricier).
Promote your business by giving seminars and presentations
Giving a seminar is one of the most effective ways of positioning yourself and your business in the marketplace and to show customers you’re most outstanding qualities.
Presentations and seminars lets potential customers learn about the kind of services that you offer and tell them about your field of expertise. They can even provide you and your company with a great reputation and recognition.
You could even offer special discounts to anyone who attends your seminars to encourage them to use your services.
Give out freebies
People love a freebie! Giving away a free item is one of the best ways to entice customers to remember and return to your business. You could relate the freebie to your business or if you don’t want it to be serious why not make it fun and interesting?
Remember freebies don’t always have to be expensive. Why not give away small, inexpensive things? What a great way to get your customers thinking positive things about you and your company.
Write articles on topics related to your area of expertise
Want free advertising? Why not write an article? Well-written articles can act as positive word of mouth. If a media outlet publishes your article it shows they think enough of you and what you have to say to print it.
While you might not be getting paid, you and the editor could strike a deal. If you write for the publication the editor should offer you the opportunity to publish your name, address and telephone number. What a cheap way of getting your business free exposure and credibility!
Women Unlimited regularly features articles written from a business specialist perspective.
Search engine optimisation
Start out by making sure your website is optimised for search engines. It’s not much more work to get this right and your website designer should have at least a basic understanding of what’s required. If you’re not on Google you are missing out on a fantastic opportunity to promote your business.
Also, why not try out Google Adsense or Facebook Ads? They are a fast and easy way of advertising your business and a great way to earn money if your website publishes ads.
Use Social Media
Social Media is an extremely powerful way to build relationships with people you may otherwise not have met. Why not build a reputation for yourself? Use blogs, forums, communities and groups to show you are an expert in your field. Offer potential customers advice and suggestions.
Do your best to make sure your messages relate to a specific audience. Post your advice on forums that receive traffic from other sites, as regular activity will ensure that your business and expertise are promoted properly.
Networking, networking and more networking
If you are well known, trusted and respected, people will buy from you, so networking is possibly the easiest way to develop relationships that could lead you to a sale or sales.
Try to network with people and companies that offer the same business as you. You can size up the competition and any work they can’t handle could get passed your way. They might even recommend you as an alternative service to some of their customers.
However try not to steal your competitions customers – you don’t want to damage your reputation before you have started.
Volunteer for non-profit organizations
Volunteering can act as another form of networking and we all know that networking is a great way to get you and your business established.
Try contacting schools, colleges and businesses. See if they need your services and check out who is on the board of those organizations. You never know how those important people may benefit you some time in the future, so try and reach out to them.
The people you are volunteering for may know people who need your services. They could even have potential leads, which you could follow up.
A thank you goes a long way
What better way to show your appreciation than to say thank you? By thanking people who use your service, buy your products and attend your presentations, you will a leave a positive impression.
Taking the time to thank people who are making your business a success will ensure your customers will return. Everyone likes to be noticed and when you say thank you unexpectedly people are always surprised and always tell others about the thank you they have received.
Saying thank you doesn’t have to cost a lot either. Why not drop your customers with their name in it. A personalised email will show that you really care about your customers. You could even say thank you by offering further discounts.
So if you want to gain more business and want existing customers to return show your appreciation and before you know it you could have more business than ever!
If your starting your business, why not try these steps out? Or if you already have a business and we’ve missed any steps that you think are important why not let us know?
And remember the best way to make your business a success is to promote yourself, your business and your values!
About the Author: Rachel Thompson is a writer for Women Unlimited