You’re a small business owner with a great product. The problem is that almost no one knows about your product or your company. The big players can afford to pour thousands, if not millions of dollars into advertising and public relations. While you can’t hope to match those figures, you can generate buzz around your company that inspires customers to open their bill folders and pocketbooks to buy.
If your company provides services or products that require a high level of expertise, let people know! Offer your speaking services to companies that provide complimentary products or services. For instance, a master carpenter could approach furniture showrooms to educate customers on how to spot well-made pieces. If you’re an artist, inquire with your local supplier about setting up an easel to provide quick portraits of customers browsing in the store. Such events represent a win-win situation for you and the merchant by providing an event that has the potential to draw attendees that might not otherwise visit the merchant or contact you for services.
Make It Easy for Customers to Buy
If you sell products through your company’s website, make sure that your online shopping cart is seamlessly integrated into the shopping experience. Provide clear and detailed product descriptions and photos that show your company’s merchandise to its best advantage, but also accurately. If you operate a brick and mortar store, train your staff to be responsive without being overbearing. Keep your shelves (virtual and actual) well stocked to reassure customers that they can find what they want.
Sponsorship is a great way to get your company’s name out to the public. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to sponsor an event. For instance, if you own a sporting goods store, you could provide jerseys for a Little League team free or at reduced cost, in exchange for having the team credit your store as a sponsor. If you’re a caterer, you can provide food or drink for an upcoming event in exchange for prominent exposure on the event program or in publicity pieces about the event.
Ask for Word-of-Mouth Referrals
People trust recommendations made by family and friends more than they trust advertising claims. Your satisfied customers represent a powerful potential draw for new customers. Ask them to spread the good word about your superior products or first-class service to people they know. Many of them will comply voluntarily. However, you may provide added incentive in the form of a discount or gift for every new customer they refer to your company.
Consider Social Media
You don’t have to be a search engine optimization guru to take advantage of social media. Post a Facebook page and integrate it with your company’s website to build engagement and a sense of community with online visitors. Allow visitors to provide feedback, and follow up on comments that mention service problems or other unsatisfactory transactions.
Local News and Advertising
Just because you can’t afford to buy an ad during the Super Bowl doesn’t mean that you should give up on advertising altogether, especially if you run a brick and mortar establishment. Advertising rates for local newspapers, magazines, radio and even television stations are much more affordable than national ad buys. Local advertising has the advantage of reaching out directly to your target customer base.
Press releases and press kits promoting newsworthy events can generate free publicity in the form of news stories. Is your store expanding to a new location and hiring new employees? Have you or your company received an award or other praiseworthy recognition? Many news outlets will eagerly run a story about a local company offering jobs to local residents, or other stories that reflect well on their communities.
About the Author
Guest post was contributed by David Kendall for Ligerion.com who specialize in Debt Collection. David is a freelance writer and business consultant. His articles appear on various online business publications.