Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. If you recently started one, whether out of your home or in an office space, your next step is to get the word out about you and what you do to the people in your area. Not all advertising involves hiring a massive marketing corporation to handle a global, multitiered campaign. Some forms of advertising work on a smaller scale and cost next to nothing but bring big results. Here are four affordable ways to market your small business.
Print advertising may seem old-fashioned, but don’t count it out yet. On a local scale, you can reach a lot of people through posters in public places. Create your own or hire a designer, but remember that a simple design, color scheme, and choice of fonts can catch more eyes than an overly busy layout. Wide-format printers produce perfect marketing posters, and at a reasonable cost too. Talk to your local print service about running off a half dozen or more, then ask local merchants, institutions, and organizations if they’ll let you set up a poster in their store or facility. Most already have spots for free public advertising.
If there are other businesses in town that produce goods and services that align, however slightly, with your own, reach out to discuss mutually beneficial projects and ways to promote one another. For instance, if you run a hotel, ask the owners of local restaurants, entertainment centers, stores, and other businesses your guests might appreciate to share your business cards, fliers, and other advertising with their clientele. Do likewise for them. Implement referrals and offer discounts to customers they send your way. If you don’t already have a local merchants association, consider starting one so that you can all stay in touch and figure out how to help one another.
If you’re not online yet, do it today. Establish your presence on the various social media sites. Many people use social media platforms like Facebook as search engines when seeking local businesses that can help them. Getting on social media and remaining active also raises your profile on Google and other actual search engines. You don’t need to post every day, but do so at least once or twice a week. Advertise specials, events, celebrations, and more. Respond to comments as soon as possible to build trust and impress potential clients with your knowledge.
Here’s the last of our four affordable ways to market your small business. Keep in touch with clients through email. Collect their email addresses and periodically check in with them. Create an e-newsletter to keep them posted about what you’ve been doing and any new services or products you offer, including coupons and other offers. Note what customers are looking for and craft the newsletter to address their specific needs as well. Have your social media reflect the newsletter’s contents too for consistency and to support messaging.