You are almost living the American dream. You started a small business with a solid business plan. The problem is that you’re not generating enough business to call yourself a success. You need marketing to let people know what you offer, but that takes money, and you need customers to get money, which you can’t do if you’re not marketing. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, what can you do to build a brand name if you’re short on customers and funds? Fortunately, online marketing has leveled the playing field so that even the smallest business can market effectively. Here are five quick steps to start promoting your small business right now:
• Gather Email Addresses and Use Them: This is a no-cost form of marketing. Get email addresses from everyone connected to your business, your customers, and your prospective customers. Send them relevant information on a regular basis without being pushy. You could offer a piece of advice, a special price, or an educational tidbit so recipients learn something. This establishes your name as a credible resource.
• You Must Have a Website: You must have an online presence. A basic website is low-cost to start and maintain. Even if you just have a very basic description of your company and what you do, that’s a good start. You can build your website as your company grows. Make sure it works on computers and mobile phones, as more people are using their smartphones to learn about local businesses.
• Get a Facebook Page: This is another free marketing opportunity, but you have to work hard to get people to “like” you. Think of something you want to post on your Facebook page every single day, and ask your audience to share it with their friends. It can be interesting or educational; it just has to be consistent. And don’t forget to use Facebook videos. These don’t have to be expensive production pieces. Just upload quick bits of yourself on-camera talking about something that is relevant to your audience.
• Generate Some Publicity: Media outlets are always looking for new and interesting topics to cover. You can send out information for free on topics that you think will be of interest to their audience. Get to know your local bloggers or bloggers in your industry, and start commenting on their sites or sharing information. This exposes your company to an even wider audience without any additional expense.
• Blog, blog, blog: A blog is the best way of sharing information and improving your search engine rankings. Google, Bing and Yahoo will rank your site on its use of keywords, and consistency at providing information on current topics. An inactive website will quickly drop out of the rankings.
You’ve got the entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity to engage in no-cost or low-cost marketing that will help your small business grow. All you’ve got to do now is get out there and start marketing.