How do you promote your small business at the lowest cost and for maximum effectiveness? Below we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to do this
Once upon a time, every business paid for inclusion in the big yellow book. Today, things are different. Many people recycle this mound of yellow paper the instant it’s delivered to their door. Instead, a listing one the directory’s website, with a link to your own website, is becoming the favourite purchase of small business owners.
A web directory listing gives your business website some authority for search engines. It tells Google, Bing and Yahoo that your website represents a business in your classification and generally boosts the performance of your website in search results.
It’s important to have a website for any business. Rather than spending on fancy graphics and features, ensure that your site has been optimised for search engines and usability. Content is king, so take the time to create plenty of copy about what you do.
Don’t try to cram everything onto a single page. The home page should provide an overview of what your company does, with optimised title tags, description and keywords. It’s also worth listing the different products or services you do on the front page, using H2 or H3 tags. These tell the search engines that content tagged H2 or H3 is a heading and therefore more important.
Whilst you may not use or even understand social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, many of your existing and prospective customers use these sites on a regular basis. Some people spend hours ever day using social networking. By incorporating the use of these sites in your marketing, you enable people to share information about your company and in particular, to recommend it.
The average Facebook user has 130 Facebook “friends”. By creating something that your customers would want to share with their friends, you are creating the opportunity for your customers to tell 130 people about your company. This is great advertising that costs nothing.
If you have a vehicle, even one that you don’t use in the business, consider having vehicle graphics applied. Website addresses are easier to remember than phone numbers, so with a short, eye-catching message and a link to your website, your vehicle can be an effective advertisment used to drive many new prospective customers to your website.
Leaflets are cheap, with some outrageous value-for-money deals out there. When developing a leaflet or flyer strategy, remember that often a single leaflet is not enough. Pizza delivery companies know this, which is why they typically deliver a menu every month to their surrounding neighbourhoods. Repetition is the key because flyers are often looked at for a second before the recipient decides whether or not to act on the information and to keep the leaflet.
The smart business owners know this and they add a direct-response mechanism into their leaflets, perhaps to provide prospects with more information or to offer a free sample. Leaflets that encourage prospects to begin a relationship with the company without spending any money therefore have the greatest return on investment.
When starting out in business, you may not have a client or prospect list at all. This is where it makes sense to partner with another company which complements your products and services. For example a new sign making company could partner with their accountant to offer their services to the accountant’s clients. As the client base builds up, the sign writer can then promote their accountant to their sign customers. What businesses do you know that you could cross promote?