You can never do too much in the way of promotion, advertising, public relations, and other marketing activities. The challenge today is to find no-cost and low-cost ways to effectively promote your business, find new and retain existing customers and clients, and grow your business. Here are some ways to do this:
Without a site, you may be at a disadvantage. Yet fewer than half (49%) of small businesses still don’t have a Web site, according to a survey last September by Barlow Research.com. Whether your business is entirely local or has a longer reach, a Web site can be used not only to sell products and services, but also to create trust with customers and explain what your business is all about. You’ll want to include customer testimonials to help establish credibility. You can use your site, for example, to publish a blog so that you have viewers returning on a regular basis.
Today, it’s relatively easy and low cost for even the smallest business to create a growing database of existing and potential customers. Use opt-in email marketing to stay in touch with your connections—send monthly newsletters, announcements, or other helpful information that will be appreciated.
Connect with other business people to build relationships that can translate into business down the road. Whether you network in person or online in social media sites such as LinkedIn, be prepared to explain what your business is about and actively seek out connections that can help you grow.
You will find basic marketing information and guidance from the SBA (http://www.sba.gov/smallbusinessplanner/index.html) (click on “Manage Your Business” to link to articles under “Market and Pricing”).