1 Have a Plan
This sounds like a no-brainer but most small businesses neglect it and it is the first and most important step you should take in promoting your business or services. Know what you are going to do before you do it. When you build a house you have a plan. You plan every last detail of a wedding or a vacation. Why wouldnt you have a strategy for promoting your business? You can make adjustments to the plan as you go along. But you should definitely have a well defined outline to start with and a timeline with achievable goals.
2 Hand out Business Cards
Business cards are cheap. If you dont have business cards to hand out to potential customers - You need to order some immediately. You should never be anywhere without your business card. You want to hand one of those babies to anyone and everyone who could possibly have any need for your services or products or anyone who may know someone else who needs them. So basically everyone you meet. When youre promoting your business, exposure is everything. You want to get your name in front of as many people as possible and handing out business cards is one of the easiest ways to do this.
3 Ask for referrals
Word of mouth can be a very effective promoting tool for small regional businesses. A satisfied customer can be your best salesperson. Encourage every person that you provide services or products for to refer anyone who they think may be interested in your company to you. Chances are if they were happy with their experience with you they will be glad to refer their friends or associates to you. How many times have you been in a situation where youre talking to someone about getting repairs done on your car or making renovations on your home and someone chimes in and says Hey Ive got a guy that does great work? People will always be willing to do this because they feel like they are helping in some way and guess what? They are. Theyre helping you find someone to fix your car or remodel your home and theyre helping the business by passing their information on to you. Referrals rock.
4 Send out Emails
Create a short informative message describing your business. Include some bullet points spotlighting some of your products or services or maybe just a short description of one of your top products. Make sure you include your contact information Including your location if you have an office or store front, your telephone number, website URL if you have one. Also make sure the name of your business appears several times in the message. Include a discount code in the email for the recipients to refer to when they follow up so that you can track the results. Send the email to everyone you know and ask them to forward it to everyone in their address book and so on. Most people have at least 20 30 email contacts in their address book. If you send the message to 30 people and they all send it to 30 people and so on Well you get the idea. Oh yeah. And guess what? Email is free.
5 Put up a website
What? You dont have a website? OK not to worry there are many low cost web hosts out there nowadays. You can purchase a domain name and sign up for a year of hosting for about $100.00. If you dont have the funds right away to pay someone to build you a professional website most of the hosting companies have interfaces on their site where you can assemble your own basic site using stock elements that theyll provide you. Your web site is where you can really go all out and put up a lot of information about your business. You can describe your products in depth, put a map so people can find your office, and put an email link so people can contact you with questions about your products, post special discounts or promotions to get people to try your products. The possibilities are endless. Most reputable web hosting companies have starter plans ranging from $10 to $20 per month, for basic web hosting and email.
These are just a few ideas to give you a kickstart for promoting your business. Remember promotion and marketing are ongoing processes. there is no exact formula that will work the same for everyone. You will want to try different approaches and different combinations of ideas. If you don't get the results you are looking for immediately, don't get discouraged. It's not something you do once and like magic you're a complete success. If you are consistent and persistent you will get results. There are many inexpensive ways that you can promote your business. The ones we've highlighted in this article are some of the easiest to initiate and certainly ones that will be effective if done consistently.