How to Advertise Your Business
Think of business promotion like practicing any hobby or skill and learning how to advertise your business as a way to increase your bottom line. You need to spend at least an hour every day on promotion of your business, no matter how small, in order to get any better at it. That might sound like a lot, but think of it as helping you make more money, while training yourself in a valuable commercial skill.
Promoting your business means getting the word out about your products or services. You can have the best product in the world, the best staff or a unique business that fills a niche, but if you don’t get the word out, you aren’t going to make it as a business owner.
Business promotion is also an exercise in budgeting skills. You’d be surprised how much money you can dump into promotional expenses…but if you don’t spend it the right way you may as well throw your money out on the sidewalk.
Here’s three low-cost ways to get you started advertising your business. Spend a little time each day on ideas like this and you’ll find your promotional skills (and business) increasing.
1. Promote your business all the time
Think about all the paper and electronic communication that flows in and out of your business: receipts, bills to customers and suppliers, emails to clients and associates. These are all advertising opportunities that you could be using at no extra cost.
Develop a simple lot of business stationery using your computer. Add your business name, a logo if you have one, and your updated contact information to your envelopes. Do the same for your bills, receipts – pretty much any company stationary.
Remember that all your correspondence is more than just that — it is a business promotion.
Take this one step further. You need to have business cards and other promotional material ready to hand out in casual situations. You’d be surprised how many chances you may have the next time you go out to hand some a card or point them toward your website.
The bottom line is: always be promoting.
2. Use the Internet
The Internet is amazing for advertising your business. Everyone these days is using some kind of web-based promotion. But many businesses still aren’t using the Internet to its fullest, and that’s where a little knowledge and time on the Internet will do you good.
Even if you don’t sell goods and services online, think of all the people in your local area.
Just about every one of these people has a computer these days. A lot of people look online to find local business’s phone number and address, instead of the phone book. It’s expected you’ll advertise in the phone book, so why not the Internet?
Use social networking as a kind of tangential advertisement for your products or services. This doesn’t mean posting rude messages on Facebook cajoling people into buying your stuff. You can use social activity online to promote your business online just like you do in the real world.
Join a few bulletin board communities or forums and become an active member. By indicating your skills or knowledge in an area (and linking to your website or your company in a secondhand way like in a profile) you can gain some familiarity and eventually some traffic in your community. Use your company logo as your profile picture or signature line.
3. Give Away Free Stuff
Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and have a giveaway. Giveaways may cost you a bit on the back end, but there’s no new money coming out of your cash register and that means it is a low impact expense. Free giveaway promotions work to get your door darkened if only because people like free stuff.
Put out a sign that says “First 50 customers get free ice cream”, or the equivalent for your business. Get bodies into your store. You can give anything away. The point isn’t the item; it’s the foot traffic.
Business promotion doesn’t have to be about how much money you can throw at a problem. Remember to work smarter and not harder, as the old idiom goes. Get ready to increase your business without spending much money out of pocket by learning how to advertise your business smartly.