It is essential for ever small business to get the word out about their products and services. However, marketing can easily become expensive – especially if you are just starting a business. So, unless you have a lump sum of cash to burn, consider more grassroots approaches to steadily growing awareness.
These six marketing tips can drive awareness and assist in the organic promotion of your small business:
Social media has been around for less than 15 years, and yet it ranks as the number one way to market and advertise to the general public. A major contributing factor to this growing trend is cost-effectiveness. Social media marketing, for the most part, is cheap and basically free. Those who know how to use it correctly, find it to be an effective, interactive, and fun way to connect with current and potential clients.
A business website is an essential part of any startup marketing strategy – especially if you want to reach customers outside of your local city or town. The world is largely connected today because of the Internet. This means I can own and operate a business in the U.S. and pull in clients from as far away as Uganda. A business without a website in today’s market is like a business without a phone number, thirty plus years ago.
Word of Mouth (WOM) and Networking
Excellent service and satisfied customers equals free WOM advertising. As a small business owner, always remember that one happy client can double or triple your client base. Targeted networking works just as well. Be nice to people you meet. Give back. Help others succeed in their business endeavors and you will reap the rewards of good references.
Car Decals and Bumper Stickers
I have not personally tried this route for business, but for local businesses that use this form of advertising – I’m sure their websites get (at least) a few hits daily. Turning a vehicle – or numerous ones – into a moving advertisement isn’t a bad idea. A url, slogan, symbol, or even a hashtag can cost-effectively drive awareness.
For example, Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, started shipping #GIRLBOSS bumper stickers with orders to promote her book launch, entitled “GIRLBOSS.” Going a step further, the brand aimed to leverage the bumper stickers on social media platforms like Instagram, by asking customers to Instagram their recent order (with their bumper sticker and the #GIRLBOSS hashtag) and they would regram the best.
I, personally, make a mental note of the businesses I see advertised on cars and look them up online when I get home. I even do this for businesses I have no particular use for at that moment; just out of curiosity. You never know who is driving behind you.
In a Fortune magazine article, Slava Rubin, CEO of crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, says he wears company t-shirts when traveling. He logs 150,000 to 200,000 miles per year so t-shirt marketing is a great way for Rubin to expand brand awareness while he’s on the go. According to Rubin it is his way of “advertising without having to spend too much money on a marketing budget.” If this strategy works for you, then do it. Be your own walking billboard.
A good business card should (at a minimum) include the basics: Name of the business, contact name, contact email, contact number, website address and offering. Services can be listed as a slogan (e.g., your one-stop writing and editing studio). This gives the recipient an idea of what your business provides as a product or service.
Ultimately, the methods you choose to spread the word about your business is unique to your vision. But remember, creating a cost-effective and budget-friendly advertising budget helps you save money for those rainy days when business is slow. So, weigh your options, test different tactics and do what works for you.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Nicole Twum-Baah is a writer and editor, and owner of The Brielle Agency, a writing & editing studio specializing in proofreading and light and extensive editing for book manuscripts, business documents and online content. She delights in helping writers achieve their dreams of success, as well as helping businesses put their best faces forward through the content they create. She believes that we are all born for a purpose and that life is what we make it. Connect with @ebrielleagency on Twitter.
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