Setting up a business and running it is a tough ask, but for many entrepreneurs it is well worth taking the time and trouble. Every business owner needs to build in an ongoing marketing plan to sit alongside his or her financial, management and future development plans. The business idea and model may be excellent, but if nobody knows about it then there’s not much point in it being there. It is certainly unlikely to make any money.
So how can a business be promoted in a way that’s smart but also cost-effective?
Of course, if every marketing and promotion deal were free and effective, then advertising companies and organizations would be out of business. The trick is to combine free promotion with carefully targeted paid-for marketing.
The first thing to consider when planning a free marketing strategy is what message needs to be sent and how it will be presented. Just because it is free it does not mean that words and images should be badly produced. Free marketing should be treated in the same way as paid-for, so taking care over how the message is written and remember the quality of images used is paramount. Potential customers are quickly put off by spelling mistakes or blurred photographs, so attention to detail is absolutely essential.
When everything is prepared to a good standard, it is time to start getting the message out. Using websites that permit the posting of free classified ads is a good starting place and regular postings should help generate positive results. Depending on the target markets, wording can be altered to hit the right note for the market segment aimed for.
The development of social media in the last few years has given many opportunities for businesses to develop relationships with customers and followers. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can be extremely useful, but it is very important not to overdo the advertising. People appreciate personal touches rather than a relentless barrage of marketing messages. LinkedIn is also a useful site for building up contacts and relationships with individuals and other businesses. The quality of the messages and information is what counts, not endless repetition.
Most business owners understand that to get their message across they will also have to pay for advertising. Companies that deal with the media know exactly what they are doing and, though it may sometimes appear expensive, can place advertisements that will generate a whole range of new business and consumer interest.
It might take some time to generate the income required to advertise on TV coverage of the Superbowl, but there are many simple and inexpensive ways to get the business name and its services into the marketplace.
Buying space in local or regional newspapers helps develop a profile, but using promotional products such as pens and pencils, bags and totes, apparel and headwear with the company name and logo on can really help raise a business’s profile. Quality online printing companies such as Mines Press can make a real difference to a company’s market appeal.