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Easy ways to promote your business
Starting a business isn’t easy, and it’s one thing that most entrepreneurs must do on a shoestring budget. Even if it’s a labor of love, making your new business succeed takes focused effort and consistent reevaluation. So what are the best ways to promote your new business that will help it to grow and become sustainable?
GET GREAT LEADS WITH TARGETED EMAIL MARKETING
Experts agree that email marketing is a must for any business. Research shows that email marketing is one of the most effective sources of good leads, the easiest and most effective digital marketing tactic for great ROI and one of the best ways to get new customers.
But it’s not enough to just promote your business via email. You need to create a designated email marketing strategy. Email your customers a high-quality newsletter packed with insight, analysis of industry trends and special deals. Think of it this way: If you fill your newsletter with information your customers actually want and need, they’re more likely to bring their business to you and keep reading your marketing materials. If you fill your newsletter with useless promotional material, people will simply unsubscribe from your list.
A great newsletter gets forwarded and draws news customers. Use free email campaign services like MailChimp to send automated messages, targeted campaigns and marketing emails to customers, or use an email marketing tool like Sidekick that allows you to personalize your approach.
One of the best ways to promote your business is by targeting potential customers in your area. Earn new customers by being seen in local media and industry publications and by appearing on websites of other local businesses. Each new place your business is seen gives your business a new audience, and if that audience is local and interested in your industry, you are far more likely to gain great leads and customers than if you were by randomly placing advertisements online.
Do your research when you start this process: Know the reporters and publications that cover your local business community and your industry as a whole, and subscribe to Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to learn about scheduled articles that need industry commentary. Craft tailored, specific pitches for these contacts that will get them interested in your business. Highlight things like your local sales, your niche or your partnerships with other local businesses. If you’re looking for cross-promotional opportunities, target businesses in your area that are in a similar field or that offer a product supplemental to your own. You can engage in a free trade partnership, exchanging services for publicity or vice versa.
LET YOUR HAPPY CUSTOMERS HELP YOU
Few things sell your business like loyal customers. That’s why it’s so crucial to create a raving fan culture around your business. Great client testimonials and dialog are free forms of marketing that pack a powerful punch. Make sure you make and keep connections with your satisfied customers via email and on social media platforms. If you have a very loyal and articulate customer, share their story with a reporter covering local businesses (with their permission and involvement, of course). The story will be compelling and include a great human-interest element that makes for excellent copy.
BE SOCIAL MEDIA SAVVY
Social media is free and almost everyone uses it, which is why it’s a great medium to grow your business — as long as you make sure you use the right strategies to promote your brand.
First, choose the right platforms for your business. Facebook and Twitter are the two biggest platforms for most businesses, and almost any business can benefit from being on LinkedIn and YouTube (free commercials, anyone?). From there, though, you need to be cautious of taking a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Is your business a very visual one with beautiful products? Try Instagram and make the most of your compelling images. If your target audience is primarily mothers, give Pinterest a try, as the site is often used by a primarily female demographic. Whichever platform you choose, focus on quality and do your research. Don’t post anything that isn’t your absolute best.
You should also make sure to have your brand guidelines and marketing strategy figured out before posting anything on social media. What’s your brand’s voice and core messaging principles? We’ve all seen even the biggest brands commit a huge social media faux pas. As long as you have some guidelines in place, you can compose a post that will keep true to your product and your brand.
One of the most important things about social media is the social aspect – engage with your followers! Don’t let the only sounds your business make on social media be asking for business or likes. Be part of the conversation instead. Follow Entrepreneur Magazine’s 80/20 rule and focus at least 80% of your social media activity on engagement and connection, not promotion.
Customers and potential customers will contact your business via social media, so don’t ever miss these opportunities. You can leverage even negative comments on social media if you handle them quickly and helpfully. If someone is deliberately posting offensive material or posts on your page, block that user right away, but never fail to handle legitimate complaints.
If you foresee a busier day than normal in your future, you can manage your social media with ease by automating a post without seeming impersonal. You can do this by using a dashboard app like Hootsuite to plan out your social media week, and you can add in more spontaneous posts about trending issues as you go.
A brand new business is usually in desperate need of great marketing and bereft of a gigantic marketing budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t catapult your business forward. Smart, organized business owners can use a variety of easy ways to promote their businesses without sending the business into financial distress.
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