Advertising doesn't have to be painful, expensive or difficult!
Often what happens in business is big companies get bigger due to better cash flow being pumped into ad campaigns, while small to medium sized businesses are being absolutely flattened as they just don’t have the monetary capabilities to really get themselves out there.
Being an entrepreneur myself and owning design collective Recluse Colony, I know the struggle first hand of desperately trying to scrape together the pennies (including from in between the sofa cushions) to hash together some form of budget advertising to grab people’s attention. It’s frustrating, it’s time and energy consuming, and, quite frankly, it sucks.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though, as I’ve put together some great tips to really help get your business noticed, all completely free!
1. WEBSITE. I know to a lot of people this is a terrifying word as you imagine coding and symbols and concepts you didn’t even realise were a thing, but there are several easy to use template sites that help you on your way to a strong online presence that are FREE and don’t require any complicated tech-y stuff (I couldn’t possibly say which one I used as I’m not being paid enough. But it rhymes with Twix and it’s brilliant) so get on it!
2. SUBMIT SITE. After step 1, you can submit links to some of the biggest search engines (Sounds like Boogle and Ping) to help your search engine visibility and indexes your business.
3. #GetInvolved. Is there a big event that everyone’s talking about on social media? Pipe in with something interesting/witty/both, while tying in with your brand.
4. DISCOUNT CODES. Everyone loves a good bargain and by creating a special offer for your brand fans to enjoy, they’ll feel like they’re getting a good deal and may even tell some friends!
5. NICHE. Think about your target audience – what age range and gender do they typically fall into? And most importantly, WHEN will your product/service most likely be bought/used? If you can hone in and answer that, you can find and understand your customer base better.
6. EXPOSURE. Volunteer your products/services in targeted charity events or productions and events. Even if you’re not getting a direct monetary when you donate, brand exposure is powerful and it will boost your reputation in the community.
7. SOCIAL MEDIA, social media, social media. I could not count the amount of times that I’ve seen a brilliant product in handmade markets and exclaimed “Oh my GOD, what’s your Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr/web address/Instagram?” And they just produce a piece of coffee stained paper with their EMAIL ADDRESS scribbled hastily on it. No, no, no, NO. Some simple, cheap business cards thrown together with a few social media accounts and a small, “work in progress” web address is SO much better than absolutely nothing. It costs nothing to upload a few pictures to a social media account and takes minutes, there’s no excuse!!
8. ELEVATOR PITCH. For those who don’t know what this is – pretend you’re in an elevator (keep your gas to yourself in said elevator please, we’re not Neanderthals) and someone has walked in who is interested in your brand. You only have 30 seconds in between floors to tell them what you’re all about. Can you summarise your business in 2-3 sentences? If not, get practicing – the clearer and shorter your explanation, the better.
9. NEWSLETTERS. Put together a newsletter. Even if you’re no design wizard, a carefully thought out, eye catching page of information about latest news and promotions for your business could really help sales soar.
10. HAPPY CUSTOMERS. As a society, we love to talk. If we’ve experienced great customer care or awesome, affordable products, we’ll want to tell everyone and their Grandma about it. Word of mouth is your most powerful advertising and it costs nothing (unless you’ve slipped them a fiver, you creeper) so make sure they leave feeling great. I find encouraging them to share on their social media (that old devil again!) can help you grow like wildfire, and it doesn’t cost a dime!
So there you have it – 10 easy marketing tips for small businesses to grow and gain exposure, be sure to check back and let us know how you’re getting on!