You’ve had an incredible business idea. You’ve set up a website and honed your product or service until it shines. But nobody will know about your moment of genius if you don’t shout about it. Then you look at your ‘marketing budget’ and realise it’s barely enough to create a whisper.
According to the National Federation of Self Employed and Small Businesses (FSB), there has been 197,000 new small businesses set up in the UK since 2016. That’s a lot of competition if you’re just starting out.
How do you get the edge and promote your business if you’ve got little or no money in the pot? You might have channelled your cash into your business idea but there’s no point if no one knows it’s there.
Don’t despair! We’re on hand with some great ideas to help you promote your burgeoning empire on a shoestring.
6 Ways to Promote Your Business for Next to Nothing
1. Be Visible Online
In today’s techy world, it’s near impossible to run a business without social media.
Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn are your first port of call when starting out and are (for the most part) free.
But don’t just post boring, salesy updates and links to your website. You should be using these platforms to interact with your followers. Know your target audience well and post things of interest to them.
Once you are up and running and gaining followers, post every day and reply to comments. Savvy business people layer their businessy posts with snaps of family and friends to make their timeline look more personal and less corporate (a sure-fire way to lose followers!)
Put a picture of yourself on your profile page. It reinforces your confidence in your product or service if you’re willing to put your face by it.
Get all your social media platforms in one place with Hootsuite, to keep on top. Being active on social media will increase visibility for just a bit of hard work (and more importantly, it’s free).
2. Blogs Away
There’s nothing worse than a ‘dead’ website which never changes – it puts out the message that you can’t be bothered or worse, your business has gone under. Set up a regular blog and update your offering with fresh and engaging content.
Make sure the blog is interactive with a comment box and social media sharing buttons. You should also promote your blog through all your platforms.
Most importantly, ensure the blog is grammatically correct and SEO’d up to the max by adding keywords relating to your business.
Websites regularly get ‘crawled’ and this will help people pick up on what you are offering. Try and ensure your website includes all those social media icons – it makes potential customers and existing clients feel confident that you’ve embraced internet marketing.
3. Old-School Business Cards
Using traditional methods of promoting your business can be gold dust especially to more old-school customers. Get some low-cost business cards to hand out to potential customers when you are out and about – you still can’t beat the personal touch.
We like Hello Print UK, they offer personalised and eye-catching business cards and stationery (among thousands of other low-cost stuff, from T shirts to umbrellas) which will improve your visibility wherever you go. And you can take advantage of their offer for 500 super professional business cards for £20.95 right now.
4. Use the Media
The traditional media is not to be sniffed at. If you have an interesting angle on your business, or a story you have come across in relation to your product/service, send out a monthly press release to local newspaper and magazine editors.
They like to support businesses in their communities and they might mention your business name in any article published.
Building relationships with people in your local area is just as important as making contact with the rest of the world online.
A press release costs nothing but time. Remember press releases have a better chance of being used if you include some nice pictures (sneakily include your company name in the snap on a T-shirt or banner to make sure you get maximum exposure).
5. Get Your Pictures Moving
In the changing world of business, video is fast-replacing the written word in helping businesses reach customers.
Make some promotional videos at home and post them on YouTube. Set up Flickr, Instagram and Pinterest profiles while you’re at it, this will give you a place to post all your photos and provides a link back to your website.
6. Face-to-Face Time
There’s no better way to promote your business than making that all-important eye contact with potential clients. We’re still human, and meeting people face-to-face is still the best way to make a business connection.
You can talk to potential clients via video chat on Skype or join networking groups on LinkedIn. Even better, go to local networking events where you can make real-time contacts.
Find out about networking events in your area and beyond through EventBrite and get your face, as well as your business, out there. Local events cost as little as £10 per ticket, a small outlay and you might get a sneaky peek at any competitors.
All of these ideas cost very little, but you do need to invest your time. Get your business name out there today.
Over to you!
Do you have any more ideas to add to our list? Have you promoted your business to success for next to nothing? Share with us here!