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How to promote your business
13 proven ways to find customers and create lasting growth
Starting a business isn’t easy. Many entrepreneurs must do it on a shoestring budget. Figuring out how to promote your business with limited finances and staffing takes focused effort and consistent re-evaluation.
For a savvy entrepreneur, it is possible to advertise your business and grow it effectively and inexpensively. As business guru Jay Abraham points out, there are only three fundamental ways to grow your business: increase the number of buyers or clients, increase the frequency of purchase and increase the utility value. To achieve any of these, you need effective business promotion.
Wondering how to advertise your business on a start-up budget? By harnessing the power of technology and networking, there are ways to promote your business without breaking the bank.
1. Create a website and blog
In today’s online world, if your company doesn’t have a website, you might as well not exist. Step one for how to promote your business is always to create an online presence with a website. Make sure it includes contact information, details about your product or service and promotional materials like testimonials, demonstration videos and positive reviews. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to add a blog.
If you start a blog full of engaging topics and thought-provoking commentary about your industry, you can gain notoriety as a thought leader and attract the right type of customers. A blog gets people talking and educates them about issues that are important to them. As soon as you become known as the go-to authority in your industry, new business will come your way.
2. Connect with customers on social media
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 use the right ways to promote your business. First, choose the right platforms for your company. 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?).
Choose platforms based on your products or services – Instagram is ideal if you have a very visual business – as well as your target market. In addition to marketing and advertising, use your social media platforms to nurture connections with your customers, answer questions, chase down leads and defuse negative reviews and reactions.
3. Leverage online reviews and publicity
Positive online reviews are one of the best ways to promote your business at a low cost, because nearly everyone reads online reviews and also finds them trustworthy. Put a system in place to solicit and manage online reviews from your customers so you can promote your top reviews as well as problem solve for customers that report a negative experience.
Another way to gain free publicity is the news. If you have a particularly loyal and articulate customer, share their story with a reporter covering local businesses (with their permission and involvement, of course). Make sure to share this story on your social media for maximum exposure.
4. Advertise your business online
Even with your website, blog, social media and online review system set up, there are even more ways to promote your business online. Even small businesses can use online advertising to strengthen their brand, reach new clients and stand out in a crowded market. It isn’t free, but with the level of targeting that is possible, you can typically keep costs low and make the most of your money.
Facebook ads can be very targeted to a certain group of people while Google Ads can utilize keywords that your target audience is searching for. There’s also advertising on LinkedIn and Instagram with banner or retargeting ads to keep your business in front of your customers, as well as chatbots that you can implement on your website to grab your audience’s attention and keep it by answering questions in real time or providing discounts when they visit your site or social media page.
5. Use targeted email marketing
Want to know how to promote your business to high-quality, vetted leads? The answer is email marketing. Research shows that email marketing is one of the most effective sources of good leads, the easiest and most effective digital marketing tactic for high ROI and an excellent way to get new customers.
To properly promote your business, you need to create a designated email marketing strategy. Send out a high-quality newsletter packed with valuable information and insights, analysis of industry trends and special deals. A compelling newsletter gets forwarded and draws new 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 to personalize your approach.
6. Hold a free training or webinar
Depending on your business, it could be worthwhile to hold a free training or webinar for your email leads, referrals or social media followers. If a potential customer is on the fence about engaging with your business and you can see a clear fit between their needs and what your business can offer, then that extra step of investing in them further could be a very wise one.
As marketing guru Jay Abraham notes, you know the value of your time, your knowledge and what your ideas can do, whereas they do not know that yet. Taking that extra step of offering potential customers something of real value can result in a big payoff for your business, especially when it comes to how to promote your business.
7. Create quality content
Whether you’re drafting emails, social media posts or blogs, determining how to promote your business requires you to focus on quality and do your research. Don’t send out anything that isn’t your absolute best. This means proofreading your text, selecting clear, well-lit images and making sure your links go to functioning pages. On social media, don’t focus only on promotional posts to advertise your business. Start conversations and engage your followers to learn more about your customers’ lives and better understand how to serve them.
Follow Entrepreneur Magazine’s 80/20 rule and focus at least 80% of your social media activity on engagement and connection, not promotion. And always remember that your online presence often doubles as the actual face of your company, so uphold your brand’s core values and personality when you’re engaging with the public.
8. Think local
One of the top ways to promote your business is by targeting potential customers in your area. Get to know the reporters and publications that cover your community and industry to get your brand into the local media. Look for cross-promotional opportunities with businesses that are in a similar field or that offer a product supplemental to your own and ask if you can appear on their website. Consider engaging in a free trade partnership, exchanging services for publicity or vice versa.
When you build these local connections, you not only learn how to promote your business, you also gain valuable contacts. Each new place your business is seen gives it a fresh audience, and if that audience is local and interested in your industry, you are far likelier to gain leads and customers than you would by placing advertisements in irrelevant online markets.
9. Find the right referrals
People are more likely to buy your products or use your service if it is recommended to them by a trusted source, but getting referrals for a service business requires finesse and careful strategy. For businesses just starting out, building your customer base through referrals can be a challenge. You’ll reach more customers if you take the time to understand the psychology of customers willing to give you referrals. Are they at the beginning of their careers? Are they more experienced? Are they driven by a commission off the initial sale?
Develop buyer personas to hone in on your target market. Once you understand the type of person who is willing to send you a referral, leverage that knowledge to get even more quality referral business. This is one of the key strategies for how to promote your business.
10. Cultivate loyal customers
To learn how to promote your business, the only thing you really need to know is how to create raving fan customers. Whether you’re a handyman or Steve Jobs, every company is ultimately in the business of providing customer satisfaction. That’s because happy customers not only keep coming back, they’re also the best salespeople your business can get.
Loyal customers provide several low-cost ways to promote your business. Client testimonials and dialogue are free forms of marketing that pack a powerful punch. Add them to your website and promote them on social media. They’ll also provide you valuable word-of-mouth advertising in the form of referrals and positive reviews. Make sure you reward these long-time customers with a solid loyalty campaign that involves discounts, free products or exclusive promotions.
11. Join networking groups
You can connect with others who will help you discover how to promote your business and bring you referrals by joining local networking groups. You have plenty of options, including industry-specific groups, your local Chamber of Commerce and referral groups whose sole purpose is generating leads for members. Find a mastermind group near you that can offer support and advice. Networking groups are an affordable way to get your name out there, make valuable connections and surround yourself with quality people who will elevate your own life.
If you’re wondering how to promote your business in a networking group, always focus on giving value to others. Ask them questions about their products or services and how you can help them with their business promotion – and listen deeply to the answers. Once you start bringing value to others, they will in turn give value to you.
12. Get involved in events
There are plenty of professional events that happen around the world each year, including Tony Robbins’ life-changing Business Mastery event. This five-day program provides strategies and tools that will help you unlock how to promote your business and create lasting growth in any economy. And now, it’s easier than ever to attend or even host an event virtually, without even leaving your home or office.
Another way to promote your business at events is to get a spot at a trade show. You’ll make instant connections with hundreds or even thousands of potential customers in the span of a few hours and answer their questions or show them product demos. You’ll also network with other business owners who would make good referral partners and promote your business through contests or giveaways. Research potential trade shows before you sign up to ensure they are attracting your target market.
13. Work with a business coach
Still wondering how to promote your business? Work with a business coach or mentor who has experience with new business promotion. A business coach can give you examples of low-cost ways to promote your business and guide you through the marketing and promotion process. They’ll also help you dive deep into your target market, ensuring you’re spending money wisely by marketing to the right groups of people and determining benchmarks to evaluate if your marketing efforts are working.
Now that you know how to promote your business, you’re ready to get started. A brand new business is usually in desperate need of stellar marketing and lacks a large marketing budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find affordable and successful ways to promote your business. Smart, organized business owners have a variety of ways to interact with potential customers and earn their loyalty.