social media

Promoting Your Small Business on a Budget

The goal of starting a small business is to earn money, not to lose it. And while all businesses have a start- up cost, the goal is to keep that cost as low as possible. So when small business owners think about business promotion, they often stress out about their budget. Luckily, in today’s world the World Wide Web makes it easy for businesses to promote themselves without spending a penny!  Here are a few ways that you can utilize the internet to attract customers and build your brand:

Social Media

This one should be obvious. Social media runs the world. It seems that everyone (or almost everyone) is on some type of social media platform. Whether it be Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or some other platform, if you are a small business owner, you need to be on social media. Why? First off, if you’re not, your competitors are! And if your competitors are on social media, then they are already 5 steps ahead of you. In addition, social media does more than just get your name out there. It also helps to build relationships.

Social media makes it easy to interact with your target audience. With the help of social media you can communicate with someone across the globe, answering any questions they may have or addressing any comments that they may leave. This type of interaction can lead to relationship building, which (as we all know) is the key to a successful business. Through online interaction you can build trust and lasting relationships with potential or existing clientele. And one of the best things about social media? Everyone is connected. Social media creates a snowball effect where the more people you connect with, the more people that see your brand. Thus, you are targeting and re-targeting without doing anything at all!

Blogging

Blogging has become another popular way for business owners to connect with their clients and is a great way to give back to them.  Blogs can be used to communicate information, give advice, or simply entertain your audience on topics related to your business. If your blog content is strong enough, you can quickly develop a devoted following that will come back week after week to read your content (which will ultimately help to drive sales).

Aside from communicating with your audience, blogs can also create interaction and dialogue about your product or service. They can also help you establish your expertise and build trust in your relationships with clients. And again, if you can develop trust and interest, then you can develop long-lasting relationships that will lead your business to grow.

Multimedia Websites

If you have the resources to do so, make some videos! Multimedia websites like YouTube and Flickr generate millions of visitors each day, so they are a great way to get noticed. Businesses around the world are creating unique and entertaining videos and gaining millions of views by doing so.

Remember, people are looking to be entertained and it is your job to entertain them.  If you can think of something extremely creative and unique then your video has the chance of going viral – and if your video goes viral, well, that’s great news for your business!

Social media, blogging, and multimedia websites are three of the best ways to promote your small business online. With that said, there are many other methods that you can use in addition. Add your business name to local listings such as Bing, Yellow Pages, or Google Places, send out a press release, or join and contribute to an online community.

If you’re a small business owner, don’t spend a fortune on business promotion. Use the internet as a way to promote yourself for free, and once you start to see an income, then consider branching out into other avenues of marketing. You don’t have to spend a fortune to be seen – so don’t!

How to Brand your Small Business with Printed Materials

There’s no doubt about it, online and social media marketing is a trend that is here to stay. Using the online world as a tool for marketing yourself is a great way to promote your business and should be of top priority for any small business owner. With that said, print marketing is not something that should be forgotten about!  Here are just a few of the many reasons that you should not skip adding print marketing to your small business promotion campaign:

1) People who read print are more focused

The online world is a great place to capture the attention of someone, but it’s also a great place to lose it. Online reading comes with a lot of distractions. No matter where you look you will find distractions from online advertisements, pop-ups, messages, notifications, and other sources. As soon as your viewer sees something they are more interested in, you can quickly lose their attention.

In addition, most people who are online are skimming through pages looking for something that captures their attention. With print materials, attention is more focused. If a viewer is looking at your material, it’s probably because they want to know what it says and they are likely to read (instead of skim) the entire thing.

2) Print material lasts

When scrolling online, your advertisement can quickly be seen and just as quickly passed by. Print marketing gives your audience something concrete to hold onto. Let’s use the example of offering a discount or free sample. If you offer this online, your audience can see it and hopefully they will retain it in their minds. But let’s face it, today is a fast paced world and most of us have trouble remembering what we ate for dinner yesterday let alone an offer we found online. Print marketing, on the other hand, gives your audience something physical to keep. They may choose to cut out the offer and put it on their fridge as a reminder. As such, they are much more likely to use it.

3) Not everyone uses the Internet

While 1/3 of the world’s entire population uses social media on a regular basis, that still leaves 2/3 that don’t. In return, if you choose to only market your business online, you are missing out on a large part of the population. This is especially true if you are marketing your business towards older generations that aren’t as computer savvy as younger ones. Print marketing allows you to reach all ages of audience from young to old.

4) Print marketing can often be seen as “more credible”

The online world can be a great way to find businesses and deals, but it can also be a great way to find scams. Many of the online pop-ups that appear are simply overlooked over because they are seen as less credible. In addition, many people are afraid of clicking on pop-up ads for fear of viruses or malware.  Print marketing doesn’t have this problem. People who see print advertisements generally see the business as more trustworthy and reliable.

In conclusion, we cannot downplay the importance of online and social media marketing – it is crucial in building awareness for any small business. With that said, the benefits of print marketing should not be overlooked. Print marketing helps you to target a niche market and can help you reach those who do not use the internet on a regular basis. In addition, once seen by a potential client or customer, print marketing is often deemed as more credible and can produce more sales by avoiding distractions and giving the reader something concrete to hold onto.