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How to promote your small business

Dec 03, 2015

Small businesses and start ups generally don’t have the money to be able to outsource their marketing needs to professionals but in order to be successful it is vital they are able to reach their target audience and retain customers.  The more people they reach the more profit they will make, simple…But is it?  With so many marketing channels to choose from and limited money to spend, where do small business owners start?

Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet or one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to marketing.  Its wise not to jump straight into low-cost/no-cost activities but at the same time don’t blow your whole budget on one channel either.  Here are a handful of simple marketing practises available to you that won’t break the bank or burn through valuable resources: 

Create a website – Nowadays everyone is online and a company website is a MUST HAVE for any business. The first thing a customer will do when trying to find out about your business is Google you so make sure you have an online presence.  There are lots of online website design templates that you can buy online for as little as £20. View Themeforest for some inspiration.

Start email marketing – To do this you need to make sure you are capturing customer and prospect data as much as possible.  The easiest ways to do this is to have a newsletter sign up form on your website and during the sales process ask your customers for their email addresses.  Once you have built a data list of people that have opted in to hearing from you, you can start your email campaigns publicising company news, new products and offers, promotions, competitions etc. The frequency of email marketing is important to get right though, don’t bombard people everyday with messages because they may get sick of hearing from you and unsubscribe.  Start off slowly with one communication a month.

Attend trade shows & networking events – One way to gain new business and brand awareness is to attend trade events.  Networking is a great way of establishing new leads, meeting new people as well as checking out the competition and securing business partnerships. You may have to invest a little money into a promotional stand but you can reuse these time after time.  

Ask for customer reviews – Don’t be shy to ask your customers for feedback.   Potential customers are a million times more likely to use your business if they see it being recommended by others.   Encourage customers to write a short email or letter about the positive experience they had when using your business. You can then put these testimonials on your website as well as frame some exceptional ones and put them up in your shop/office. Profiling your customers on your website is a win win, the customer gets exposure and so does your brilliant services, plus its free promotion! 

Be social on Social Media – The key to Social Media is knowing where and who your audience are. There are so many platforms out there but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be on all of them. Twitter, Facebook, You tube and Instagram are just a small number of social sites that are great for businesses to use – remember though not to use the sale pitch in every communication, share interesting news, your opinions, new products and promotions and don’t forget to link any social media channels to your website as they can help drive traffic to your site and increase your Google ranking.

And finally, remember, when it comes to marketing innovative methods are always the best.  Try and think outside the box, take the route less travelled and make your business stand out from your competitors!

Hollie - Marketing Manager

Author: Hollie Harvey, Marketing Manager