Many small business owners do little to no activities to promote their products and services. But, ask yourself this, “If I don't promote my services, how will people know what I have to offer?" We are all consumers and everyday we see or hear ads promoting ones product or service. Well, you may not have the budget for monthly radio, TV, or print ads; but there are several low cost ways you can promote your services. These are the most common ways:
Flyers & brochures - are affordable and can be used as a direct mail piece, used in your information packet, or used during a tradeshow. Sometimes this can run you a few hundred dollars if you hire someone to do them for you, or use a do-it-yourself services from an online vendor.
News Releases-creating a news release and sending it to the media when you have some news worthy information is a great way to get free publicity. Be care though. The media only wants releases that have a clever angle or is a hot topic. If your store just got a new arrival of silk shirts by a top designer, don't send out a news release mentioning it. Try to come up with an angle instead.
Networking - anyone who provides products or services should be networking; whether its at your local chamber or local organization. Networking is your opportunity to qualify prospective customers, build relationships, and promote what you have to offer.
Public Speaking-not many people have the guts to get up in front of a crowd and start talking about their business, but this is a low cost way to promote what you have to your target market. If you'd rather jump out of an airplane than speak publicly, then join your local Toastmasters. Toastmasters will help you get over that fear and become a polished speaker.
Discount coupons - you've seen them; on your doorknob, on the counter at your local store, or in the mail. Discount coupons or offers can be used as incentives to get potential customers to try your products or come into your store.
Online directories - an online directory is like the phone book, but online. It contains categories of topics with listings of products and services. Most directories are free and you can include a website link for an additional fee.
Newsletters and articles - create your own monthly newsletter promoting your services. Be sure to include any special offers or discounts that are available. Always get permission to send an email newsletter to a customer. You can obtain permission by having a sign up link on your website or a sign up card near your cash register. My favorite is Constant Contact.
Well you have it. Several low cost or no cost ways you can promote your business in 2006. Start drafting your marketing plan now!
Tarsha Polk, aka The Marketing Lady is a small business marketing coach who helps people make the transition from full-time employee to successful entrepreneur. She offers individual coaching and consulting to client. To contact Tarsha, please visit http://www.themarketinglady.com