27 Jan Small Business Boot Camp: Promote Yourself!
Think of your promotional efforts as a train in motion. Whether it’s just an engine or a 200-thousand-ton behemoth, it will stop if it loses momentum, albeit at different times. Likewise, companies of all sizes need to maintain steady advertising efforts to stay in the public’s consciousness. Although larger, more established corporations are more widely recognized – and are therefore likely to slow down later – they still need to promote themselves. That means new, small businesses really need to advertise. But there’s a fine line between putting yourself out there and being that guy. There are also methods suitable for some industries that might not work for others.
Here are some tips to help you get started on your business’ advertising journey.
Make a – Good – Website
Choosing to advertise in the paper, on the radio, or on TV is optional. But today, when everything is online, it’s standard to have a website. Make sure you have an objective when creating it. What do you want it to display? If your company is more product-based, consider enticing clients with photos of stock, info, prices, and promotions you might be holding. If you are in the service industry or a more abstract field, explain what you do and why. Being upfront will eliminate confusion.
It is also important to make your website’s layout appealing and easy to navigate. Again, clutter will probably cause confusion. Once you know what you want your site to display, think about speaking to a professional web or graphic designer. They can help organize your content and turn your ideas into digital eye candy.
Using Google Adwords can also make your website more visible online. It works by advertisers bidding on keywords, which then appear in clickable ads in Google’s search results.
Use Social Media When Appropriate
Social media is the second-best thing you can have next to a website. Facebook and Twitter are the main platforms, although artistic or visual business owners might consider using Instagram or Pinterest for secondary means.
You can boost social media posts to make them reach a wider audience. However, being too obvious about self-promotion can backfire. The one-to-seven ratio means only one out of seven posts should directly relate to your company. Everything else should be broader and educate the public about your field. Maintaining a steady, consistent schedule when posting keeps your viewers refreshed and in-the-loop. In our experience, posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday keeps things on track.
But social media is not the cure for everything. It might not be the best course of action if your audience doesn’t use it. You also need to have a plan when going forward. Posting random content at irregular times doesn’t hook your viewers as often as a more consistent approach. If you want advice or help boosting your digital presence, professional assistance is available.
If social media is for you, special online promotions and contests could be your next step. These little guys can boost your PR like crazy, since it gets the community involved. The prizes also don’t have to break the bank. As long as they are relevant and promoted regularly you should be good to go.
Another great sales tactic is inciting a sense of task tension in participants. This is key during special events, but also a great tool to use when advertising in general. Why should clients see you right now instead of any old time? You’re the one who sets the pace.
Partnering with another business to help advertise contests can also work in your favour. Granted, you’ll have to split the rewards unless otherwise established. But in terms of publicity, working with another established organization can thrust you into a successful future.
Use Traditional Methods When Necessary
More traditional advertising mediums still exist. As mentioned, TV and radio placements and visual spots in the local paper can still persuade. That said, we would only recommend taking this route if your clients use these mediums. Do research and ask around before putting anything out there.
Another way to put your company on the map is by making an appearance at community events, when appropriate. This is especially effective if your business involves cooking or crafting because you can display your products. Does it get better than that? Going to events is also great way to give your business a face.
Self-promotion can be tough. However, it’s also a blast once you find what works for your company. Creativity, understanding your clientele, and knowing where you want to go will hold you in good stead. Keep plugging away and eventually, the cogs will turn for you.