Are you stressed out from thinking about the best ways to market your business?
Take a few breaths and calm down. There are a number of simple, effective and cheap ways for you to spread the word about your business.
One of the most important steps in this process is realizing there are several steps to effectively marketing a business. Step one is to have a plan and a strategy. Marketing your business is not just about one gimmick. You have to commit funds to marketing your business, and of course, you'll want to spend that money wisely.
Then, if you're struggling to come up with a fresh way to market your business, check out these ideas — some simple, some creative — from the National Women's Business Council and the Small Business Administration.
Be your own marketing expert
At the end of the day, you are your own best spokesperson. Business owners can become an important and effective voice in publicizing their company by taking some simple steps:
- Carry business cards with you (all day, every day), and pass them out.
- Ask clients why they hired you, and solicit suggestions for improvement.
- Ask former clients why they left you.
- Identify a new market.
New technologies can give marketers a big boost in their efforts. These technologies can help business owners in ways they previously may not have imagined. Some examples of how companies can use technology in marketing include the following:
- Offer a simpler/cheaper/smaller version of your product or service.
- Offer a fancier/more expensive/faster/bigger version of your product or service.
- Utilize social media marketing.
Listen to your employees
Because employees spend the majority of their time at work, they oftentimes have a different insight into the business and can be a useful tool in marketing. Businesses can utilize this resource by creating a suggestion box for employees.
Treat your customers right
Customer service can be another overlooked way to spread the word about businesses. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is to turn your customers into advocates for your brand. Some simple ways to achieve this include the following:
- Give regular clients a discount.
- Offer financing or installment plans.
- Publish a newsletter for customers and prospects.
- Create a poster or calendar to give away to customers and prospects.
- Develop a website, and offer advice that customers find truly useful.
- Send timely and newsworthy press releases (how about celebrating your 1,000th customer?).
- Create an annual award, and publicize it.
Remember the little things
Sometimes, little touches can go a long way in helping to spread the word about your business. This holds especially true in the digital world. Simple ways to reach customers include the following:
- Send handwritten thank-you notes.
- Send birthday cards and appropriate seasonal greetings.
- Give away hats, pens, mouse pads or mugs with your logo on them.
- Return phone calls promptly.
Get involved in your local community
Lastly, business owners can benefit greatly from utilizing one of their most important resources: their local community. Here are some simple ways business owners can do this:
- Join a chamber of commerce or other local business organization.
- Get a booth at a fair or trade show.
- Sponsor or host a special event at your business in cooperation with a local nonprofit organization.
- Sponsor a local youth sports team.
- Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper or trade magazine.
- Take the local newspaper editor to lunch.
- Consider placing ads in your newspaper's Classifieds section — they tend to be cheap and effective.