Small businesses that succeed are those that manage to deal with the two basic facts that advertising and marketing are necessary to grow a business, and small businesses don’t usually have the financial resources to pay for expensive advertising. Therefore, one of the keys to making your small business a success is being able to effectively promote and market your business in the most cost-efficient manner possible. To reach potential customers or clients with the most minimal expense, here are three easy ways to advertise your business for free.
Get the Word Out Locally
Potential customers located nearby are often some of the easiest, and best, customers to cultivate. Even if your small business operates nationally or internationally, don’t neglect opportunities for free promotion and marketing of your business locally. Research and identify writers for local newspapers and local or regional business magazines, and then contact and pitch them on the idea of writing a story on your business. It helps if you can offer them a specific angle for a story that may garner their interest, such as a unique, new product or service your company offers, or perhaps a particularly talented employee who you’ve landed.
You may also be able to obtain free advertising from local businesses related to your own. For example, if you just opened a new clothing store, consider stopping by a few local hairstyling salons and asking if you can post a flyer in their window about your grand opening.
Leverage Internet and Social Media Outlets
There are innumerable free ways to get more exposure for your business and reach potential customers online. Both Google and Bing offer free local business listings. It only takes a little time and effort to set up profile pages for your small business on major social media outlets such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Once you do that, put together a marketing plan for regularly posting on social media. It may take a while for your small business to build up a substantial following online, but it is worth the effort since sites such as Facebook and Twitter offer a free means of quickly getting the word out about sales, promotions, or special events. Establishing a solid presence online also provides the opportunity to engage your customers and build solid customer relationships that increase customer loyalty.
Ask for Referrals
One of the easiest, but most often overlooked, means of growing your customer base is the simple act of asking existing customers for referrals. Make asking for referrals a point of emphasis for both your employees and yourself. Getting referrals can be as simple as asking existing customers if they know of a person or other business that might have a need for your company’s products or services, but don’t neglect leveraging customer relationships. Consider asking customers you’ve established a solid relationship with if they would reach out to another potential customer they know and offer a referral or recommendation of your business. Referrals can be an especially effective marketing tool for freelancers or sole proprietors who provide professional services.