Starting a small business is tough no matter which way you slice it. Unless you have unlimited funds (and most don’t), stretching your dollar and finding alternative ways to promote your business is necessary without spending the big bucks. No matter how big or small your business may be, it needs some promotion. This is especially true for small business that are not under a franchiser umbrella.
Finding cost effective ways to promote your business can be challenging, so I wanted to share with you 6 FREE ways that I promoted my small business. These are tried, tested and true, and will work for your small business or home based business. Most importantly they are FREE, and won’t cost you a dime.
1. Social Media
Twitter is one of the greatest ways to promote, advertise, reach out to your clientele and spread the word about your small business. Social media isn’t just a tool to gain exposure—it has now become a must necessity for every small business to become part of for everyday use. The beauty of Twitter for example is that you can tie in with your Facebook business page, and your LinkedIn account as well. You can use all three social medians to reach out to clients, advertise, promote, and establish connections on a professional level with other small business owners.
Having a blog is a great way to talk about your services, products, and what sets you appart from your competition. A blog not only helps your small business gets its name out to the world, but its also a good way to gauge interest with potential followers through social media. The key with blogging is to keep your blog as up to date as possible. If you’re planning on developing a blog through your existing website or starting a new blog, and updating the blog once a week or month, it might be wise to save your self the time and avoid the whole blog idea totally.
3. Local Listings
Registering your business with Google Places allows it to be found more easily on Google searches and it shows up on Google Maps. All you have to do is fill out the form and register, then get your business verified through their confirmation process, which can be done either with a phone call or snail mail. Yahoo! also has a big database of businesses called Yahoo! Local. Finally, one of my favorite ways to advertise my business is through Yelp.
Here are the links to FREE advertising, and local listings:
Yelp – Yelp.ca
Google Places – Google.ca/places
Yahoo! – Yahoo! Local
Search engine optimization cannot be underestimated in the world of websites, social media, and blogging. There are many FREE online guides for the basics of SEO, and guides on how to do it effectively. Submitting your blog/website to search engines such as Google and Bing is a very good starting point. The best part of the submittal of your website/blog to search engines is that its FREE.
5. Online Press Release
A traditional press release can cost thousands of dollars through a PR agent, but it doesn’t have to cost that much. Instead, you can submit an online press release.
Anytime you have massive news that you want to spread the word about, a press release would be appropriate. You launch a new product or service, make sure you do a press release.
Every time your business does something newsworthy, don’t hesitate to shoot off a press release—maybe folks will pick up on it. They’re a powerful media tool to use to help generate publicity, and having free distribution of them is a bonus.
Two really good websites to do a quality press release:
PRLOG – Press Release Distribution
YouTube provides a free way to distribute creative promotional videos, but in order to succeed you must put up content that people want to view and are relevant to your business. I haven’t done this as of yet, but I have a few video from a few cleaning jobs which I plan to post.
Also a Flickr profile can also help by giving you one place to compile all the photos for your business, and allows you to link back to your website.
Readers, can you suggest anymore FREE ways to promote a small business?