You can't grow your business without marketing – and you can’t market your business without money. How can you market yourself for as little as possible? Try these options to get your name out there.
No matter what kind of business you’re in, you need a website. It’s your online brochure and often the first way potential customers “meet” you. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it should be professional and up to date. Web hosting plan can run just a few dollars a month, and if your budget doesn’t allow for a graphic designer, don’t worry -- premade templates make getting an attractive website easy.
You know it, we know it – if your business isn’t on at least one social media platform, you’re missing out. Facebook is an easy way to start, though new rules governing business pages will force you to be more creative to get noticed. (Watch for more on that on our blog in a few weeks.)
Other popular social media for beginners is Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. You don’t have to be everywhere at once; start with one social medium, and once you’ve mastered it, choose another. Make sure your profile is complete, including address, telephone numbers, email addresses, website link, company description, etc. Then, start posting! Share links to your website or blog, news about your business, or interesting links. Don’t just sell, sell, sell to your followers. Give them entertaining and useful content, too.
Share What You Know
A regularly updated blog is a great way to share news and establish yourself as an expert in your field. If you’ve already got a website, most hosting plans include blogging plug ins you can add to your website.
If you don’t have a website but you want to blog, WordPress, Blogger, and Tumblr are three of the most popular free blogging platforms.
Setting up a blog may be free, but maintaining a blog will cost you – time, that is. A blog is only successful if you keep up with it. Set a posting schedule – once a week, twice a week, twice a month – and stick to it. The search engines love websites that are consistently updated. Make yours one of them.
Similarly, if you’ve got a great blog topic idea or a blog post you’d like to share with a wider audience, look for blogs and online publications that accept submissions from guest writers.
On social media? Host a Q&A on social media. Choose a topic, set a date, create a hashtag for the conversation, and let your fans and customers know what’s going on.
Send a Newsletter
Even if you’ve got regular, loyal customers, it’d nice to occasionally remind them that you exist. A monthly newsletter is the perfect way to do this. Share knowledge, tell them about new products or services, share successes, and keep them on top of trends. Offer a monthly coupon or promotional offer to entice your customers to come back – or refer you to their friends.
Give Out a Great Business Card
Business cards are often forgotten amongst their glitzier cousins in social media. But if your business card is boring, it’s not going to stand out when you hand them out at a networking event or meeting. Don’t go straight for the free, preset designs – lots of people are using those designs, and yours will get lost. Rather, create a custom design for yourself, or hire someone to do it for you. Creative designs, photographs, and unique colors can help your card stand out. Just don’t be too cute. Keep it professional.
Backing a community event is a great way spread your brand and build a reputation as someone who cares about the place where you live. You never know where you’ll find your next customer! Volunteer at a charity event or sponsor an event being planned by your favorite organization. Sponsor a youth sports team – they’ll wear your name whenever they take the field. If donating money to a cause is your choice – great! Most charities publicly thank large donors. It’s a win-win: You market your business while benefitting your favorite cause.
Need help getting online? PNSolutions can help you get on track. Contact us today!