6 Modern, Easy & Inexpensive Ways to Market Your Small Business
You have just launched your small business and now comes the really difficult part: Marketing your business. Marketing is key to getting your business name circulated and to building a reputation. The problem is that it can cost a small fortune and this is difficult to bear for most fledgling businesses.
Business cards are a handy tool for any business. They serve as a quick reference for all of your business contact information. There are a large array of designs, finishes, cardstock grades and prices ranges available. If you are on a budget, a simple approach will suffice. It still serves the purpose which is to create name and contact distribution. In fact, Vista Print, www.vistaprint.com offers free cards to new customers and various upgrades are available to meet your individual needs. The free cards do have their ad on the back because they realize name distribution grows their visibility, like it will yours.
You should leave your cards with people you come in contact with. If you meet someone new, finish with something like, "It was great to meet you. Here's my card". Network with people and exchange business cards. Keep a book or box of business contacts you meet. If you use their services, they may be more likely to use or recommend your service or product.
Leave your card for your server when you go to a restaurant. Even if they don't need your services or product, they may know someone. I have always heard that if you can make five in person contacts per day. you chances of generating leads increases significantly.
How to Design a Business Card
Local Business Directories
Make sure your business information is listed with as many directories as possible and verify hat it is correct if it is already listed. YP.com, google.com, and yahoo.com, among many others have free business listings. There are charges to place ads, but generally, listing is free.
Coupons offer incentive for new customers or consumers to try your services or product. Often, when a consumer is looking for a type of business for which they don't already have a regular relationship, they look at two major factors: price and reputation. You are currently building your reputation, but at least not having one means there is no existing poor reputation. You can work with that. Focus on getting traffic because word of mouth is the best form of advertisement and it is free. Creating a coupon campaign does mean receiving less income from those transactions utilizing a coupon, but realize that you may not have had that customer at all if not for the coupon and at least you are making some income from it. Also, use it as your opportunity to impress. Leave a lasting impression of great service and superior skill or products. This will much more than likely result in repeat business and referrals, far more than compensating for the loss from coupon usage. There are those consumers who are avid coupon users and they will only go where they have a coupon. This is not the majority and don't waste time worrying about them. Focus on getting as many people as possible to try your business. Most people will revisit businesses where they had a great experience.
Coupons don't have to be fancy. You do want them to stand out. Colored paper is a good option. There are many free templates available online. Also, you can make your free business cards be a coupon and card in one. Another key element is to make the deal worthwhile or significant. There are other competitors using coupons, so you need yours to seal the deal.
Social media is a modern way to create name distribution for your business. Create pages for as many social media sites as possible. The more, the better. Managing them should be easy because you can just cut and paste content from one to another. In other words, you only have to create content once for each post. You can use the same photos. Invite as many "friends" as possible and friends of friends will also gain visibility to your business. Then friends of friends of friends and so forth. Remember to make your pages as attractive and interesting as possible.
Online Classifieds Sites and Forums
According to Wikipedia, "Newspaper's revenue from classifieds advertisements is decreasing continually as internet classifieds grow. Classified advertising at some of the larger newspaper chains dropped by 14% to 20% in 2007, while traffic to classified sites grew by 23%".
Create an ad and place it on as many free online classified sites and forums as possible. This will generate business name distribution. You can copy and paste the same ad, so it will not be very time-consuming. With classified sites and forum, you often need to renew your ad regularly, but this typically involves logging in and clicking "renew" or "re-post".
Network! Network! Network!
Every person and business you come in contact with is a potential opportunity. As discussed earlier, you should be exchanging cards with others and leaving your cards wherever you can, such as restaurants. Networking can be taken much further. Once you have created you online ads, business cards, coupons, and more, you should be distributing them. You must expand your market pool as far as possible. Visit apartment complexes to ask them to place your coupon, flyer and/or business cards into their move-in packets. Many of their residents may be completely new to the area or your area of town. Even if it means going business to business to introduce yourself, doing so will ultimately promote your success and continuity of networking will make your business more sustainable over time.