Here are twelve great ideas to promote your business – use them to your advantage!
1. Have your business card handy, and pass it out whenever you have the chance. Your card should leave a lasting impression on the recipient; cookie-cutter cards need not apply! The most effective business cards are unique and oozing with personality, so the recipient will want to hang on to it for future reference.
2. Network with other business owners, especially businesses that complement your own. If you have a bakery, then seek out owners of restaurants, ice cream shops, and so on. Arrange to refer customers to each others’ business.
3. Know your competition. Study them, and determine what you can offer that they don’t (or won’t). Once you identify these advantages, tell the world! Facebook it, tweet it, blog it; make sure your customers know what makes your business unique.
4. Update, freshen up, or totally redesign your website. As your business evolves, your website should evolve too! If you offer premium products/services or state-of-the-art technology, but your website lists only basic offerings from years past, it’s doing you a disservice.
5. Put your website URL on everything: your business cards, letterhead, emails, and any other correspondence you have with customers, suppliers, or even family and friends. Make sure they know you have a website, and where to find it!
6. Make sure that those closest to you know about your business. Your friends and family can be your best promoters, if you let them! Give your biggest supporters plenty of business cards, brochures, and other marketing materials to make it easy for them spread the word. Don’t forget to thank them for their support!
7. Offer coupons and discounts. Depending on your business, you may want to do this for certain holidays, seasons, or on a particular day of the week. Loyalty cards are great too, for example: buy nine, get the tenth free. An attractive coupon/discount/loyalty card will do wonders for bringing in new customers!
8. Designate a few days a year to pass out free products/provide free services. Choose your best offerings and give them away as product samples/trial services, or have a prize drawing. Freebies give people a chance to try your product or service, and if they like it, they will come back for more!
9. Consider offering a discount through a service such as Groupon. You can reach tons of potential new customers, since these sites already have a multitude of people on their mailing lists.
10. Create a mailing campaign to get your brand in front of potential customers. This is especially helpful if your business is new and you need to get the word out. Send out one initial mailing to let them know of your products/services, then schedule additional mailings a few weeks/months apart with coupons or sales announcements.
11. Establish a presence on Facebook and/or Twitter. Use them to announce sales, coupons, and giveaways. Share information that your customers would find useful or entertaining.
12. Start a blog. Share your expertise with your customers! Give them useful information, news, and ideas. Showcase your latest products, new or upgraded services you offer, or spread the word about sales and giveaways.
And please, if you apply any or all of these tips to your business, tell me about it in the comments below!
Read my first post: Diamonds and Design 101
About Barbara Austin
As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!