Business Marketing How To
Posted by Ruth Graham

BUSINESS MARKETING

HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS 

You’re a one-man band or a small business, and you’re looking for ways to get ahead. You don’t have a huge budget, but you need people to know what you are doing.  This blog is aimed at people who have a reasonable idea, but are happy to admit they need a hand. Read on, take from it what you need, and if you still need help – get in touch with me!

1) GET A WEBSITE

(And read point 2 before you do)! This may sound ridiculous, but there are still small businesses that rely on leaflet drops and listings. This is madness! Everything is done online now – and you’re missing out completely if you don’t have a website. They don’t have to cost a fortune either – there are many affordable web designers who work from home and charge just a few hundred for a site. Why not try http://lesleyclarke-webdesign.co.uk/  for affordable web design in the West Midlands and UK-wide?

When you do decide on a site, get a quote from your chosen designer and make sure you can have access to the site afterwards in order to make changes – the last thing you want is to be paying someone every time you want to add some information or change a picture.

2) GET AN APPROPRIATE WEBSITE

I’ve worked with so many businesses over the years that don’t have the ‘right’ website for their needs. They may have grown, and need an e-commerce site. Or they may have an e-commerce site, but no need for it (I advised one recently to close their website down and open an e-bay shop – it was much more appropriate for them). Be realistic about your current needs, and what you will need in the future.

3) CAPTURE DATA

In its most basic form, this is email addresses. Every time you encounter a customer, or a potential customer, get their information.! You can get this from exhibitions, trade shows, surveys or even your own website (encourage people to leave their details by offering them something in return – maybe a 10% off first order). You can then use these addresses in the future for mailouts of information that may be of interest.

4) FREE LISTINGS

If you look around the web, there are lots of outlets for you to advertise what you do. Google – free listings sites, and see what comes up.

5) CLAIM YOUR BUSINESS ON GOOGLE

Register with Google Maps and make sure your information is up to date. It’s another way of making your presence known on the search engine.

6) USE LINKEDIN

With the plethora of social media available, it’s hard to know what’s best for your business. Many small business owners still don’t use LinkedIn properly, but it’s the largest social media platform of all. The value of the site lies in the opportunity to build relationships and generate sales leads.

It’s of a more serious nature than many social media outlets, but will only work effectively if the profile is completed fully. It should be approached seriously, with the expectation that people involved want serious, informative and professional information.

There are big opportunities here to network effectively, with people in your industry, share content, find answers and view and post job opportunities. You may even find a voice as an industry expert within the site. There’s significant exposure if it is handled properly.

7) GENERATE PRESS CONTACTS

Cultivate your local journalists – phone the news desk on your local papers (and their online versions). Find out what their ‘lead’ times are (how far in advance they need the news). Invite them to anything of interest – an open day, a family day, a re-launch, a refurbishment – anything that fills the pages that is of value or interest to your local community.

8) GIVE SOMETHING AWAY

Run a competition and give away a prize. This could be a physical prize, or something of value like your time (perhaps you could offer an apprenticeship or a week in your office to train someone up). Be creative in what you can give away. Then ‘sell’ it like mad. Use Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Tumblr, local press, radio – whatever you can to promote it. Alternatively, donate something to charity and make sure they acknowledge it in the most public way possible.

9) SPONSOR SOMETHING OR SOMEBODY

If you can attach your name to a popular event, that’s going to stand you in good stead.  Check if you can have banners at the event, or flyers or a name in the programme, or a namecheck throughout the event. Again – don’t forget to data-capture if at all possible.

10) KEEP YOUR WEBSITE UPDATED

You need to constantly feed new material to the website to keep it fresh and recognisable by Google. You can do this by loading new products and pictures on to it (if appropriate), or by adding new blogs. A static website will not rate as highly as an active website, so it’s important to do this and keep things ticking over.

I hope some of these tips have helped. There is so much more to cover (branding, affinity marketing, social media management, webinars,  the list goes on) – but don’t forget my services are available if you need them.

Good luck with your business!