Advertising and marketing your product or service can and should take many forms and span across many medias. Budget may limit some of these of course, but there are so many free and close to free ways to get the word out too. Following are some simple advertising tips I have come across in my own search for ways to advertise and market my business. Hope you find something useful among them too.
Keep in mind though that not every method works for every product or service, or business and business style. To find what does and doesn’t work is definitely a trial and error exercise. And what works one time may not work on the next product launch. So it is important to have a wide range of advertising options in your arsenal to draw on.
- Carry your business cards with you wherever you go. Make sure they have basic information such as company name, address, phone number, and website on them, but also include a little bit about what your business does. It doesn’t have to be nor should it be a novel. Something simple like “widget repair” or “colour copying services” is enough to let your potential customers know what it is you do. If your tagline or slogan says it all then use that.
Always have them at the ready and hand them out wherever and to whomever you can. Just think of all the people you meet on a daily basis that could be looking for someone like you.
- Talk to people about your business. And not just your friends and family.
When you are standing in line at the bank for example, try to engage the person in front of or behind you in conversation. It helps pass the time for both of you, but it also gives you a somewhat captive audience to share your business and what you do. Ask the person if they could use your services or know of someone who can. Invite them to take a business card, or two, “just in case”.
- ** Side note while we are still on the subject of business cards, yes of course that card you just handed out may be deposited in the nearest trash receptacle that is a fact. But that should never stop you from handing them out anyway. Along the way your card will end up in the right hand.
- Ask for endorsements and testimonials from your satisfied clients, as well as other business people who know you and can attest to the quality of your product or service. Post them proudly on your website in a separate, dedicated page. You can also include snippets from reference letters and performance reviews received from past employers.
- Keep your website and blog fresh and up to date. Post information that is relevant to your product or service and you feel is of interest to your visitors.
Invite conversation from your readers, both positive and negative. The positive of course helps with your advertising and marketing and should be shared on your blog, and the negative is for you to use to make your product or service better. Don’t ever discount its value.
- Join clubs or organizations that are related to your area of business. These give you a perfect opportunity to share and trade leads and ideas with other business owners, or form an alliance that will benefit you both.
- Always look for new ways to run your business and sell your products. Research what others are doing. Try different ways to sell or package your product or service.
- Tell your customers and potential customers what they can expect from you when they buy your product or sign on for your services. They want to be reassured that you are going to be there for them.
For example, if you are selling a product, you could offer a free “no questions asked” replacement, or free servicing. Or if you provide a service, perhaps one free hour for every 10 hours purchased. Whatever it is make sure you can and will deliver on your promise.
- Think of ways to get your business in the news. Have you recently launched a new product or service? Held or attended a charity event? Won an award? Write a press release about it and send it to all media outlets in your area (local radio and TV stations, newspaper, etc.). And by all means put this on your website too.
- Hold a contest on your web site and offer a prize. The contest could be for referrals, or new business. Make it fun and interactive so your visitors want to play. For this one you will have to do some of your own research on how to set it up on your website platform.
- Contact local radio and TV stations to ask them if they are looking for guest speakers. A lot of them have business segments on various shows or in between shows. Tell them your area of expertise and the kind of market you are reaching out to.
Prepare for your time in the limelight. Make sure you have refined your copy and rehearsed it well, but not to the point where it sounds rehearsed. Dress for the occasion too, even if it is a radio spot and no one will see you. Proper business attire will empower you and help you project your message.
- Write a newsletter or e-zine and post it on your site for your visitors to subscribe to. (This is another area you will have to do your own research on how to set it up on your website platform.)Include information about your business and its products or services, as well as your industry.
Readers are always interested too in helpful tips. Invite contributors and swap links. Their readers then become your readers too and you have increased your potential customer base without lifting a finger.
Put a signature line in all the e-mails you send out. It should at least include your name and position, your business name, phone number, e-mail and web address. You can also add a brief blurb about your business and your product or service below your signature line.
- Use pictures or graphics on your web site that support or demonstrate the benefits of the product or service you are offering. The saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” still holds true today.
- Allow your visitors to reprint and share the content on your web site. Just ask them to include a link back to your site in exchange. This will turn your content into a traffic machine and the external links will help increase your ranking in the search engines.
- Create alliances with other business owners who offer similar or complimentary products and services to yours. Add links and recommendations to each other’s sites, or build a separate partner website or business entity.
One caveat here though make sure you put everything in writing on how this joint venture will work, right down to how the costs and the profits are split. Leave nothing to “mutual understanding”.
I am constantly looking for new and unique ways to advertise and market and as I find them I will be sure to post them. In the meantime, I really hope the ideas I have posted so far have been of some use.
If you, Dear Reader, have any of your own advertising or marketing tips that you have found work well, I would love to hear from you.
Here’s to your success!!