Finding a product or service to sell is only half the story. Now you have to get out there and tell people about it. In the days before the internet and social media, promoting your business meant spending a fortune on advertising or PR services, a high cost for a small business trying to get off the ground. Not anymore.
Thanks to new technology, there are now lots of ways that a small fledgling business can get word of their products or services out to prospective customers – many of them free.
There is a variety of online and offline mechanisms to market your business, such as social networking, advertisements, word of mouth and outdoor advertising, some pricier than others. Here are 60 ways you can promote whatever business, product or service you have, whether it’s offline or online.
1. Create a brand & logo
Don’t be fooled by how simplistic this first tip may seem. Widespread brand recognition is your ultimate goal, and your business needs to inspire credibility and persuade others to spread the word about your work.
You need to create a brand you can build on from the start. Start by taking inventory of your business’ unique value proposition, its personality, and the values that define it. Then you can start to think about your visual brand.
Hiring a design firm may be costly, but there are popular crowdsourced design services on the web, such as crowdspring, that provide a selection of custom logo designs for your brand, and at an affordable price. Your visual brand may evolve with your business, but you need to start with something on which you can build your business’ reputation.
2. Create a website
Setting up a website is relatively easy. Making sure it’s attractive, functional, accessible, and mobile-friendly can make your business look professional. There are many affordable website services you can use to get your business online fast and with little cost.
These services offer ready-made website templates with lead-generation features, free logos and other features. Or, if you’d prefer to have more control over your site, you can always use WordPress, the world’s most popular (and entirely free) content management system. Thanks to the vast selection of available WordPress themes for professional business websites, anyone can easily set up a fully functional and expertly designed site. The overall cost of a site can vary from the type of design and function. Additionally, before marketing your website through any online channels, make sure your metadata is accurate and follows Google Webmaster guidelines.
Remember, too, to put everything on your website. If you book a stand at a trade fair, for example, get your team to wear t-shirts with your logo, phone number and website details on the back. You could even paint your car with your company logo and include your brand’s contact details.
3. Get some business stationary
You’ve got your brand, you’ve got your logo – now to get it out there. You want to create the strongest association possible between your logo and branding and your actual business, this is where business stationary comes into play. Print business cards, order letterheads and envelopes – you can even get a franking machine to print your company brand onto all outgoing post.
Make sure you’ve got your website listed on your business card, at the bottom of emails, printed onto all physical advertising copy leaving your office. The best way to get the word out, is to establish mental imagery with your company.
4. Engage with Google
Google has some smart tools to help promote your business. You can create an account on Google Business and Google Places. More people search for businesses online than anywhere else, and adding your website and company information to Google’s business directory can be helpful.
Most importantly, it’s free and straightforward, so there’s no reason not to. You can also manage your listing information, including business description, product or service details, pictures, videos and offers. Being listed in local directories can also increase the number of trusted inbound links to your website.
5. Optimise! Search engine optimisation
Your website will be of little use if nobody can find it on their search engine. To generate the most online traffic, and therefore customers, you need to rank highly on Google. Because really, does anyone click to the second page of results?
To rank, you will need to work on your SEO techniques regularly, monitoring your statistics closely and refining your features accordingly. One of the first things to do is carry out keyword research on sites like Serpstat, SEMRush or Keywords Everywhere. What phrases are your customers searching? What questions do they have? Do your best to answer all their queries, in one place. But be wary of keyword stuffing: Google can spot this a mile off and may penalise you for it in the rankings.
You will also need to update your site frequently with keyword-rich content and work on building quality backlinks to your site. Make use of internal links too: spread credibility from high-ranking sites to your own by creating natural links between pages.
6. Check your online NAPs
In SEO, NAP stands for name, address and phone number. It’s a crucial factor in ranking well in organic search results. Google takes your contact details into account when determining what results to show for geo-targeted searches. If you’ve listed your company on Google My Business, make sure your details are correct first and foremost, and make sure they line up with all your other listings on the web.
7. Go Mobile and create an app
An effective online promotion involves more than just a mobile-friendly website. Firms with a mobile app are ahead of the game when it comes to next-level marketing. That’s just to say that mobile apps increase the visibility of your business to customers at all times, improve customer engagement, and turn them into loyal lovers of your product or service!
When setting up your business profile on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, make sure to include a good description, relevant keywords and a link to your website. Join groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the discussions. Be careful not to spam them with constant promos for what you sell, or you’ll damage your reputation.
On Facebook, you can create a page for your business, on which you can post information, offers, photos and details of forthcoming events. You can use Twitter to build up a following amongst potential and existing customers – the secret is to initiate conversations with potential consumers rather than pushing how fantastic your product is. Linkedin is an online address book which you can use to connect to professionals in your industry. The best way to get your business noticed, however, is to create a dedicated YouTube Channel just for your company – effectively free marketing which you can use to reach thousands of potential customers.
9. Start building your email list from day one
Many small businesses aren’t aware of the benefits of email marketing and fail to leverage their website or blog to grow their mailing list. Having a simple email signup form on your website can yield great results and should be done from the very beginning.
Email signup is also a quick way to learn more about your customers – when they enter their contact details, consider including an optional box asking them how they got to your site, or why they’re here. This will double as active market research.
10. Get yourself a trusted email marketing platform
Once you’ve got your own email list of leads, go ahead and start sending those enticing emails that will draw customers to your landing page. The best way to do that is to get yourself a reliable email service, along with other access to communication channels like Web Push or SMS to promote your business.
11. Add calls to action in your emails
We are inundated with emails every single day. At work, at home, on the move. How is yours going to stand out from the hundreds of others crowding your customers’ inboxes?
Ultimately, what you want is a click – you want your customers to read your email, and visit your site. There’s no better way to achieve this than with a big, bright call to action button. Ask a question, spike your reader’s interest or give them an offer, with a blindingly obvious button they can hit to follow this interest.
12. Ask for reviews
Most local and national sites and directories allow customer reviews. Encourage your customers to write reviews about your products or services. Whether good or bad, reviews make your business more credible to future customers and can be lessons learned for you.
You can ask for reviews on the website by leaving a comment section, include a review link in your email marketing or even add a Pop-Up on your website to encourage people to leave feedback. Be sure to record customer feedback somewhere prominent on your site, so that others can find and read the results.
13. Set up a blog
Setting up a blog costs next to nothing. So long as it’s easily maintained, a blog is an excellent way to engage with your customers (both existing and prospective), provide them with updates, and publish content that is useful for your search engine presence.
Interviewing other experts in your field is a fantastic way to network, and can help you build credibility among your audience. Create useful content that your readers will want to share. If you need free editorial images for your blog, check out our post on free stock photos.
14. Business directories
You can get free advertisement on various directories, so take advantage of this offline marketing method. Yellow pages directories are updated and distributed to millions of households every year. They also have online equivalents and offer small businesses discounts for buying advertising in both formats. There are also plenty of free and paid-for local directories.
Maximise your brand awareness by sending out press releases, advertising in local or national newspapers, magazines and radio stations. If you’re just starting out, your local newspaper may have a section in the paper just for that. Also, try printing out the URL of your website on your business cards or letterhead, as a well-known URL can play a significant role in business advertisement.
High-quality ads can be costly, but they’re an expense that’s likely to have a lucrative payback. The single best way to increase your revenue is to increase your client base, which, quite simply, means reaching more people. That leads us on to Google ads.
16. Google AdWords
Google’s paid advertising program is a very effective way to get your website listed on search engines for your desired search terms. It can be a game-changer, particularly in the short-term while you work on improving your organic rank in the free listings. Due to increasing competition, the cost per click can be high, but you can set a maximum monthly budget to keep your costs under control. You can also try free advertising vouchers and get some advertising for your business for free.
17. Learn to repurpose content
Disseminating your marketing or blog content to promote your business is extremely important, but creating content takes a lot of time and effort. SEO teaches us that quality content is vital, but how do you create killer content again and again?
This is where repurposing becomes useful. When you repurpose content, you use existing information and repackage it in a different format, to distribute through new channels and increase your marketing reach. For example, you can convert a blog post into a podcast, or an article into a video. Squeeze every drop of value out of your best content by reusing the material in ingenious ways.
18. Take steps to boost conversions
Your website may get a lot of traffic, but if you fail to convert visitors into leads, this traffic is of little use. An easy way to convert website visitors into leads would be to use a call-to-action on your website, and in all your marketing material. Make sure call-to-actions appear prominently throughout your site, and make sure they appeal directly to your target market.
Want to get the best car insurance deals sent straight to your inbox? Do you want to be the first to get your hands on my new book? Include relevant questions that grab your readers’ attention, with a call-to-action such as: enter your email address below for the latest offers!
19. Distribute promotional merchandise
Taking your business promotion offline can also reap sizeable rewards. Research from the British Promotional Merchandise Association (BPMA) has shown that over 79% of survey respondents feel appreciated when they receive a promotional gift (such as custom air fresheners, luxury pens or novelty mugs).
How useful a promotional product is, is one of the most significant factors that customers consider when deciding whether or not to keep a product, so be sure to do some research on the best, most useable items for your brand and target audience. Keep in mind that single-use plastics and other throwaway items harm the environment and are likely to upset eco-conscious customers. On the contrary, things like travel mugs or reusable bags can be great options. These items are highly useful and often used, which will maximise your brand awareness.
20. Outdoor promotion
Outdoor advertising, like a billboard ad, is considered expensive for small businesses. But, hiring one out in a strategic location – e.g. in close proximity to your firm – can cost about the same as an advert in a newspaper, will last far longer and be seen by your potential customers.
21. Use vehicle branding
Using your own vehicle as advertising space is also a smart, cost-effective idea for creating local or regional brand awareness. If you run a business which involves a lot of driving, capitalise on this by using your drive-time as a marketing tool.
If you’ve got a fleet of vehicles, you can order car magnets and stick them on to all your company-owned vans. Anywhere your vehicles go, people will see your branding, which is great for boosting name-recognition in your area.
22. Don’t ignore the power of videos
Videos are very popular with today’s consumers and offer an excellent way to market your business. Displaying videos showing your product, or publishing instructional videos is a very effective way to increase your customer base.
There are many ways a small business can use videos as part of their marketing strategy. Being active on YouTube is one of them: YouTube is the most widely used video platform on the web. Building a YouTube presence is fantastic exposure for your business. A popular channel can attract enormous passive footfall and ultimately attract new customers. Commenting on videos relevant to your niche is another way to engage with users and increase your brand visibility.
23. Use affiliates to promote your products
Affiliate marketing is one of the most effective ways to maximise brand awareness. It involves enlisting other people with wide-reaching platforms and capitalising on their following to increase your company’s exposure. In return for endorsing your product, the affiliate marketer will get a commission on all sales generated through their link.
The most valuable affiliate marketers are undoubtedly social media influencers. The term ‘influencer’ is crucial here: not only will their endorsement reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers, but if followers think their favourite Instagram personality is using your product, they’re more than likely to follow suit. Items of clothing, for example, have been known to sell out in minutes when a famous Instagram influencer tags their outfit.
To capitalise on this method, be sure to use social media marketers within your niche. Fitness influencers are inundated daily with affiliate marketing opportunities from health and fitness brands, as their target audiences match almost exactly.
If you don’t have the time to seek out relevant affiliate marketers, there are many affiliate channels you can use, which have tens of thousands of affiliates actively seeking products to promote.
24. Join associations and attend meetings of professional groups
Groups such as your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or civic associations represent powerful networking opportunities for your company. Meet-ups of local businesses and entrepreneurs have become common in most cities. Attend as many as you can, and try and forge relationships with companies or individuals in your industry.
Have business cards at the ready, and don’t forget to listen to the people you speak to. Ask them what they do and take in an interest in what they have to say. They’ll be flattered by your attention, and better remember you because of it. Even better is to follow up these connections when you get home – connect on LinkedIn, or send them an email to cement your links.
25. Partner up
Network with other small businesses who are doing similar work to you and collaborate with them to offer a special deal to local customers. The aim is for both companies to profit by coming up with an offer that benefits the customer base of both companies. A dual offer should encourage customers to take up both services, so make sure that your companies offer products that complement each other.
Pairing up creates not only a doubly attractive offer for a client, but also halves your marketing costs. By working together, you can save money on promotional costs and get valuable referrals.
26. Offer a free consultation
Offering a no-obligation consultation gives you the opportunity to turn prospective clients into customers. Find people you think could use your services and offer them a free visit or meeting.
This allows you to provide practical solutions to the client and demonstrate the value you can bring them. It’s also a fantastic way to explain what your business offers and how it can help them personally, which will ultimately encourage them to try out your services.
27. Word of mouth
92% of people trust the recommendation of friends and family, which can work to your advantage, particularly in a local community-based setting. Getting your first few customers is the hardest work you’ll have to do.
When you’re working with your first customers, don’t forget that you’re already indirectly marketing to their circles of friends and family. Go the extra mile for your customers, and they’re more likely to tell other people about your service. Make it easy for them to recommend you through referral and rewards schemes.
28. Teach classes in your community
If your business area lends itself to specialist knowledge, offer to teach some free classes at local venues. You’ll attract like-minded individuals, which could mean prospective clients or useful industry connections. Either way, it will increase your brand awareness as well as reputation, particularly if the classes are free of charge and offer a benefit to the community in some way.
Alternatively, sign up to be a teacher for Community Education classes through a local college. Make sure that all your attendees have your company details, and encourage them to get in touch and engage with your business on social media.
29. Donate a prize to a local fundraiser
If you make or sell hard goods, try donating some of your products to be a prize at a local fundraiser. If you offer services, donate a gift certificate instead. Not only will you be helping local causes, but you’ll be increasing your brand exposure in the local community. The better the prize, the more people will talk about it, and the more money the charity will make, too.
30. Offer to speak at a local event or meeting
This is much like the idea of teaching classes in your community but requires much less time and commitment. A talk can be an hour or less and is an opportunity to gather prospective customers together, which gives you a valuable marketing opportunity.
Not only does a talk showcase your knowledge and skills, but it can also be an invaluable place to network with people that may not generally attend actual ‘networking events’.
Talks relevant to your industry will attract meaningful connections, which is essential for expanding your business network. Try to include a mixer at the end of such events, to give you a chance to build a rapport with prospective customers and links.
31. List your business on online marketplaces
Many online marketplaces connect buyers and sellers. Listing your business on these platforms is a great way to improve the visibility of your brand and promote your services.
Established platforms attract high traffic volume, which can lead to a dramatic spike in sales without any active effort on your part. Selling on reputable sites also boosts your credibility, another valuable currency in the marketing world.
32. Hold a competition
We’ve already talked about donating a prize for a local competition or fundraiser. But why not host your own? Use your social media channels to promote an exciting competition. Encourage your followers to share it with their friends by tagging people they know for extra entries, to increase your following.
Giveaways, freebies, prize draws or sweepstakes will generate a buzz around your business. The bigger the buzz, the better the exposure – focus on getting your giveaway as viral as possible for maximum impact. Make sure the freebie is relevant to the products you sell or your business services in some way. Check out websites such as CustomInk to find customisable products that link well with your business. Choose products that’ll grab the attention of your target market, and that they’re likely to use regularly.
33. Corporate social responsibility
Make sure your business has a corporate social responsibility strategy integrated into your business model. Such a strategy involves integrating social or environmental concerns into your business operations, to hold the business accountable to its impact on society, and to build an invested engagement with your employees.
CSR endeavours are valuable for the company as well as the community. They’re important for building positive relationships with employees and connecting the business with the public. Publicise your activities internally as well as externally to all stakeholders, and encourage them to join you in your efforts.
34. Host events in your community
Community events are a great way to build a rapport with the public. Some businesses have collaborated to host scavenger hunts in their local towns. Participants pick up a map from the starting point, which could be your company’s office or your shop storefront, before following a set route around other participating businesses. On the way, they’re on the lookout for items to collect or spot, with a prize incentive.
Not only does the publicity around a scavenger hunt create brand awareness, but the design of the event means all participants will have to pass by your shop or premises, making sure they know where you are. Events like these aim to show people what’s available locally. Be sure to give the most enthusiastic participants the chance to win prizes.
35. Wear and use your products in public
If you ever bump into Graham Milton at a party, there’s a high chance that he will be wearing a tuxedo shirt with an extravagant design on the back. That’s because his business, Fluxedo Shirts, sells exactly that. Milton seizes every opportunity to show off his shirts, wearing them to all kinds of places such as Notting Hill Carnival and music festivals, where his formal attire makes him stand out from the crowd. Whenever he goes, he gets a lot of questions about his clothes and where to buy them.
This publicity is efficient marketing. Don your products every opportunity you get, to squeeze in marketing wherever you can!
36. Get talking
Every kind of occasion, whether planned or unexpected, presents an opportunity for an entrepreneur to promote their venture. Always carry a business card or samples of your products. Ali Wallace, who started up the recruitment agency DNA, has found several new clients by merely getting chatting to his fellow travellers on the commuter train from his home in North Hertfordshire to London.
Even if a business opportunity doesn’t immediately present itself, it is worth staying in touch with people you meet by sending them an email after an event or introducing them to other useful contacts to keep the connection alive. That way, they are more likely to remember you when something comes along that’s helpful for your business.
37. Get in touch with your local newspaper
Contact your local newsagents, papers and magazines. See if they want to do a feature on your business. Not only is coverage like this free, but it will also give your company and product far greater credibility than a paid-for advert could ever achieve.
The smaller the paper, the more likely you’ll feature. Start with local publications and work your way up once you’ve had some successful feature pieces.
38. Enter as many business awards as you can
There seems to be a new ‘Entrepreneur of the year’ competition popping up every week – someone has got to win, and if you are creating something unique, there’s no reason why it can’t be you! If you win – or are even shortlisted – you’ll get lots of press coverage and recognition, which is a truly fabulous way of promoting your business.
39. Get on the phone
Put together a call list of useful contacts and prospective clients and reach out. Cold-calling has a bad rep, but can be a brilliant tactic for introducing yourself to potential clients and arousing interest in your brand. Try and find the contact for the person who’s going to be best able to help you, or who’s in a position to make a decision about working with you, to cut out waiting time needed for the message to filter up internally. Your best bets will be the head of marketing or, if you can, the director themselves.
Briefly describe your business model and what you can offer them. Ask to book in a meeting or appointment to discuss how you can solve an issue for them or help them meet their needs. Depending on the service you offer, an informal chat, such as going for a coffee, might work better.
40. Comment on related blogs
Capitalise on the readers of blogs related to your business by engaging on these sites. Find blogs in your niche, and comment on posts, including your URL if you can. Not only will this build links within the community you’re targeting, it also serves an SEO purpose. If the website is reputable, Google will pick up the link between the blog and your site and index your content higher in the rankings by association.
Aside from SEO, valuable comments will provoke interest and get engagement from the public. Anyone who interacts with you, or even anyone who sees your comment, is a potential customer. Building friendly relationships with competitors and other bloggers also opens the door for future collaborations.
41. Start guest posting
Maximise your exposure by taking advantage of other people’s followers and readership. Guest posting is where you produce content such as a post or article as a guest on somebody else’s site. They’ll publish it to their audience, which gives your brand authority and credibility among a new group of people.
This is also an effective way to procure backlinks to your website from popular sites with impressive domain authority. This will spread valuable link authority back to your own site, which is a vital part of SEO.
Writing an article closely linked to your business – or better, one that actively promotes your product – is also free marketing. You can even offer to reciprocate with similar brands by offering them a guest spot on your own site.
42. Exhibit at trade shows
Attending networking events is one thing, but exhibiting at trade shows has even greater value. Not only can you make valuable connections with key players in your field, but you can also target prospective customers.
Trade shows are usually industry specific, which means you’re instantly exposed to masses of buyers looking for products like yours. The only downside is that a spot at a popular trade show can be expensive. Do your research first, to figure out how much you’re likely to profit from each one.
43. Go on air
Local TV stations are always looking for new guests and local features. Talk shows, too, are on a constant look-out for innovative content and interesting people to interview. You’ve got nothing to lose – contact as many talk shows and news stations as you can and offer to appear. Include a brief profile about who you are, what your business does and why you’re unique or interesting.
The podcast market has also exploded in recent years. There are now thousands of podcasts freely available to huge audiences. Find some popular podcasts in your niche and write to them, offering to share your expertise or carry out an interview. If you can, find podcasts published on the larger platforms such as Apple Podcasts or Spotify, which have greater authority and more download traffic.
44. Facebook ads
One form of advertising that deserves a special mention is Facebook ads. Facebook holds a lot of data on its users, which means they can perfectly target specific demographics of people who might need your products. To get the most out of Facebook ads, you need to know your customer well, so you can tell Facebook who they should target.
You can use metrics like age, marital status, geographic location and hobbies to whittle down your target market. Using these metrics, you can implement strategic landing pages, where you can encourage visitors to enter their data, creating valuable business leads.
Facebook ads can be costly but have the advantage of reaching the public on a colossal scale. Experiment with your Facebook ads and see which copy and landing pages generate the most leads.
45. Leverage the following of relevant Instagrammers
We’ve already talked about the power of Instagram Influencers as a marketing tool, under affiliate marketing. But you don’t need to pay these Instagrammers to capitalise on their following.
If there are big Instagram Influencers in the same niche as your business, they’re unlikely to reject a free product. Send them a freebie they want and there’s a good chance that, if they like the gift, they’ll mention it on their page – even just a simple tag to your Instagram account or a mention of your brand can amplify your outreach on a huge scale. If the Influencer wants it, there’s no doubt this will influence their followers to check you out, too.
The same goes here for YouTube stars. If a YouTube sensation likes your product and uses it in their videos, this is huge exposure for you. Find the biggest social media personalities within your niche market and shower them with gifts!
46. Build credibility on Trustpilot and Yelp
According to Trustpilot, over 93% of customers read reviews before they buy from an unfamiliar company. Sites like Trustpilot and Yelp collate reviews from consumers on thousands of specific products, websites and brands. Having a credible profile on these review websites can go a long way in establishing credibility, authority and trust in your brand.
Trustpilot offers a free tool called Benchmark, which allows you to see how you’re performing on their site. It uses the data entered on the website to give you an overview of your company’s performance. This information is vital to improving your brand’s reputation – the key is to listen to your customers.
With this in mind, the best way to establish a good relationship with your customers is to invite, promote and act on their feedback. Ask for reviews and display them prominently on your site. Consumers like to feel that their voices are heard, and listening to your target audience is vital for retaining existing customers, as well as attracting new ones.
47. Set up Google Alerts
In the same vein, you need to be aware of your public image. This includes how you’re seen by the public, and what people have to say about your products and services. Google Alerts send you the latest content relevant to whatever terms you enter. You can set up an alert for your brand name, your website domain or your company email address, and you can even create an alert for your competitors.
You’ll receive a report anytime somebody publishes new content about your business, or other keywords you’ve set up. If somebody posts a bad review, you’ll be the first to know, which means you can respond quickly to mitigate the damage. Perhaps you can address the issue on your site or social media or contact the reviewer personally to see if you can change their mind.
It’s also helpful to learn what good things people are saying about you. If a local media outlet publishes a glowing review of your product, you can share the content to boost your sales.
48. Create a customer loyalty scheme
Encourage committed consumers and keep happy customers coming back by introducing a loyalty scheme. You can do this via a points system, a loyalty card, or by sending perks to long-standing customers or frequent buyers. Perhaps you’ll give a discount out to customers on their birthday, or you’ll offer a free product with their tenth purchase.
Any programme that encourages customers to increase how often they buy, or how much they buy, is a fantastic way to boost sales and grow a loyal customer base.
49. Offer discounts
This may seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook it. People love a good deal. Even the smallest of discounts can generate a huge increase in sales, if targeted in the right way. Too often, small businesses are scared of reducing their prices and suffering a loss in revenue, forgetting that the promotion will bring in new customers they wouldn’t otherwise have.
If you’re worried about lowering your prices too much, a clever trick is to increase your base price, and then offer discounts on those. Your products are instantly more psychologically appealing if they’re reduced.
If you’ve got an eCommerce store, use an active discount code. Send it out via email and post it on your social media pages to increase your online sales.
50. Improve your customer service
There’s nothing worse than poor customer service. Not only are you likely to lose individual customers, but word quickly spreads. A strong customer service strategy focuses on prevention. Implement a slick, professional customer service where it’s easy for customers to contact you when they’re unhappy. The quicker you can deal with a problem, the better.
Customer satisfaction ultimately goes back to the product itself, so work on delivering the best product you can, under the best conditions. A fantastic product and a speedy delivery are unlikely to generate many complaints.
Your customer service strategy should also focus on responding to negative reviews. Follow up with dissatisfied customers and offer to make amends. Perhaps you can offer them a free product or a discount on their next service. Sometimes just a sincere apology can be the difference between losing and retaining a customer. If you can make amends publicly, even better – this will boost your company’s reputation and encourage positive reviews on the web.
51. Open house
If you’ve recently rebranded or relocated, hosting an open house is an excellent way to generate local interest. You can provide drinks and snacks yourself or hire a catering company to host on a larger scale. Send out invites to your mailing list, put up adverts in local shops and post flyers round the local area.
Offer a special promotion to everyone that shows up or advertise a demonstration or performance which will take place on the evening. Anything you can do to encourage attendance and create some hype around your event will boost the visibility of your brand.
52. Renew Interest
Don’t let former customers slip through the net. Sometimes all it takes is a simple reminder that you exist to prompt previous customers to make a new purchase. Introduce a system where you send emails to customers who haven’t engaged with you for a while. To take it one step further, include a special discount code in their letter or email.
People love to feel special, and a personalised promotion is the perfect way to retain customers.
A lesser-used social media platform is Pinterest, but it can be an innovative way to market your products to a specific target audience. Image-centric platforms have high engagement levels, so if you can post attractive photos of your products, you’ll likely attract some attention. As marketing goes, it’s cheap, simple and often effective.
54. Sponsor an event or sports team
If you’re a local business, there’s no better way to promote your business than by giving back to your community. Sponsoring a local event or sports team is a great way to market your business in a way that positively impacts the community.
Bigger companies can consider sponsoring a local sports team for a year, by providing funding for the club and paying for tournaments. You can negotiate the terms of the sponsorship: you might want the players to wear your branding on their kit, or you may want exclusive advertising rights at their tournaments.
If you’ve got a smaller budget, consider sponsoring a one-off event, such as the town firework display. Your branding will go on all the tickets and advertisement for the event, which for popular events can mean big exposure. Sponsoring something in your local area is also a form of corporate social responsibility, which makes it a nice two-in-one.
55. Host a webinar
If your business centres around specialist knowledge, consider hosting an online webinar. Holding a seminar online has the added benefit of reaching potential customers and business connections all over the world, which can seriously expand your network.
A really easy way to hold a webinar is by going live on Instagram or Facebook and taking questions from comments, private messages or the ‘Ask a question’ function on Instagram. Alternatively, you can invest in some webinar software to create a professional online seminar. If your webinar is particularly helpful or instructive, people are likely to spread the word.
56. Run a social media competition
One way to grow your social media following is by hosting a competition which encourages social media users to share your page. This can be as simple as offering giveaways to several people who comment on your posts and tag their friends.
For a more wide-reaching campaign, consider using a photo competition. Ask your followers to take a photo of your product in a funny or interesting location, or upload a photo of themselves using your product. The crucial thing is to create a simple hashtag to go with your competition. Not only will this let you see all the entries, but it’ll allow your competition to reach all of your entrants’ followers, too.
Your competition doesn’t need to be related to your product at all – you can ask for a funny photo, a photo that fits a particular caption, or something completely different and use your product as the prize, instead. Think of something catchy and innovative – something on-trend is more likely to snowball. Funny content has the best shot at going viral.
57. Add a visual aspect to your content
This is a super straightforward way to increase the power of your content. People get bored easily. The best way to keep people reading is to break up your text – keep your paragraphs short and snappy and keep your piece eye-catching. Make sure your website design and branding are sleek and appealing, but not so distracting that it detracts from the content. Within articles, include relevant pictures and photos that link to what you’re saying to keep your readers entertained.
To promote your content, create an interesting, shocking or funny infographic. The key is to make sure it’s shareable: a jarring statistic or some fun information presented as catchy imagery is most likely to get shared amongst friends and family and on social media, which is great business promotion.
58. Start a podcast
Podcasts have soared in popularity in recent years. Whether you’re commuting, on a run, in the bath or even working, you can listen to a podcast. More and more people are using the medium not only for entertainment but to learn about topics they find interesting, or to get up to date on issues in their field.
If you operate within a particular industry, consider starting a podcast. You can share expert knowledge and advice, provide an insight into your company, or interview key players in your field. If you can find a unique concept, you could reach hundreds of thousands of listeners, which is invaluable for marketing. You can upload your podcast for free onto sites like Buzzsprout and Podbean.
59. Hire a marketing consultant
Implementing an effective marketing strategy can be time-consuming but is one of the best investments you can make. It’s the single best way to increase your revenue and ultimately grow your business. You might consider outsourcing your marketing to a marketing consultant who can help you find the most effective combination of strategies for your venture.
Not only can you save your own time, but outsourcing can be a cost-effective way to market, too. Marketing consultants have lots of contacts in the industry and can earn you massive savings on many marketing methods, which will quickly cover the expense of their employment. Look for someone with an impressive background in marketing who can offer you specialised skills and expertise.
60. Last but not least – don’t spam!
We’re all fed up of content that’s irrelevant, or far worse – boring! The simple way to avoid frustrating your customers is to make sure you send emails that include an authentic announcement for a new product, new feature, new event or contest. The number of people unsubscribing from your email list will likely be far fewer if they have a genuine interest in what you have to say!
Case study of business promotion
Kate Jenkins is such a Twitter enthusiast, that she’s almost grown her entire business, Gower Cottage Brownies, through Twitter alone. She started out in 2007 making chocolate brownies in the kitchen of her cottage in Llanmabog, in the Gower Peninsula in Wales, which she sold in the local village shop. People loved them, and when she started winning awards for her brownies, she spent £200 creating a basic website and began to sell them online, posting out her sweet treats via Royal Mail in boxes of 16.
A year later, a friend suggested that Kate joined Twitter to promote her venture. Initially, she was hesitant. But she signed up anyway as @gowercottage and started running a competition each week to win a box of her brownies. The competition was never actually about brownies – it would always be something funny or silly, such as suggesting the best chat up line for Valentine’s Day, or imagining what song might be playing in the changing room at a rugby match. The brownies would go to people tweeting the funniest or most original answer. Her ‘Monday Mayhem’ competitions quickly built up a following, to the extent that Kate would often find herself trending on Twitter – meaning she was a hot topic.
More than 75,000 tweets later, Kate has more than 5,000 followers, and the turnover of her business has risen to £120,000. She estimates that £40,000 of this sum has come entirely from her efforts on Twitter. Votes from her followers also helped her win The Observer Food Monthly award for Best Welsh online retailer two years in a row. Jenkins said, “it is not just that people are buying my brownies; they are also supporting me and doing PR for me because they are talking about my brownies. Twitter is my biggest word of mouth.”