With all that there is to do in owning, managing and running a small business, it can be hard to find the time to concentrate on business promotion. However, planning how to promote your small business is one of the most crucial tasks that any business owner should factor into their day. The good news is that promotion of your small business need not cost you the earth; there are some very effective ways to promote your business that involve minimal cost. Nine tips for promoting your small business:
- Include your business name, logo, contact information (including web address) on all business stationery. Think of envelopes, papers, booklets, business cards and all other collateral as tools for promoting your small business. When preparing for booklet printing and business card printing this should be considered – when you send out from your business, you may as well maximise the exposure of your business.
- Email communication is key to any business’ operations and ongoing success. Ensure that your email has a complete signature which provides fundamental information about your business and a promotional tagline. Email presents an easy and effective way to communicate your latest promotions and even achievements and the successes of your business.
- Perhaps there is another business that you can partner with and have a reciprocal arrangement so that when you send out information or leaflets for your business, you include leaflets or business cards for their business and vice versa. The advantage of this is that you (and the other business) are able to access a new pool of potential customers. Buddying with other businesses and organisations in a variety of ways can reduce the cost of promoting your small business and allow each entity to use promotion techniques that would be too expensive to use independently.
- Consider writing an article or two in your field of expertise. For example, if you are the owner of a toy store, you might write a piece about the most popular or educationally beneficial toys for children. Or, if you have a homewares store, you could write about new and exciting items for the home. The benefit of writing such articles is that they can provide free advertising and get people talking positively about your industry and business. Ensure that a short biographical note about you and your business accompanies your article and submit it to publications (including websites and online magazines) that are likely to be read by your target audience.
- A press release that is newsworthy, interesting and presents something new, can be a great way to promote your business – for free! Has your business won an award? Are you offering a new product or service? Have you been involved with a charity or some other promotional activity?
- Consider the small and inexpensive things that you could do or give to your customers as a reward or sign of gratitude for their custom and loyalty. Many businesses also effectively use spot promotion where they will offer a free gift or discount for a specified number of customers. This is such a well-known form of advertising because it works and ultimately, leads your customers to think positive thoughts about your business.
- You are an expert in your field and, in all likelihood, have knowledge and skills that others will be interested in and benefit from. It may be possible for you to share your expertise as a guest speaker and deliver presentations that simultaneously give you an opportunity to impart information and promote your business. Not-for-profit organisations, economic development organisations, vocational education colleges and universities seek business people to deliver presentations at different times.
- For some businesses, it can be relevant and effective to use vehicle signage to promote your business or service. When you think of the number of people that see a vehicle when it is on the road (or stuck in traffic), having the business’ name, telephone number and web address featured, can be a great way of raising awareness of your brand and business.
- Consider how your business may be promoted through your leisure activities – can you contribute to a newsletter? Or sponsor an event? Can you make a special offer for others involved and provide some encouragement for them to introduce others to your business?
No matter how you go about promoting your small business, ensure that:
- You convey only one simple and compelling message at a time.
- Your advertising is credible. Your customer must believe that you are genuine and that your business can be trusted.
- You gain useful insight by asking customers where and how they heard of your business.
- Make it easy for customers to contact you – an important consideration for business card printing.
- The message of your advertising is directly and specifically focused on the target group.
- Your ads are interesting and leave your customers craving more information.
No two small businesses are identical, so some experimentation and time should be taken to find the best promotional medium for your small business.