Promoting your small business can at times be very expensive. There are many techniques, however, that cost you little or no money – only your time. These strategies can be immensely satisfying too as you start to see instant results for your marketing efforts. The response from your prospects and clients will let you know which of the following free and low-cost ideas is right for your business:
1. Make customer service a priority
Providing exceptional customer service will keep your clients coming back and sending you referrals. Follow up by phone or email with people you meet. Have a policy to respond to all inquiries within 24 hours. Provide a personal touch by making phone calls and putting customer’s needs first.
2. Add value
Giving away value that will serve your clients and prospects is a great way to bond your relationships. You can create raving fans by over-delivering on value and being of service in meeting the key needs of your prospects and clients. This doesn’t mean giving away more of your time. You can be creative in thinking about what clients would really like from you over and above the time they spend with you.
3. Expand your database
Creating a targeted list of people who would like to hear from you is the #1 thing you need to do to promote your expertise and expand the reach of your business. Treat every encounter you have as a chance to expand your network.
4. Keep in touch
Designing a ‘keep-in-touch’ strategy is crucial to your business growth. On average, it takes at least seven contacts before people are ready to do business with you. You need to regularly send items like a tips list, a book review, an article, an interview, or a checklist to clients and prospects to keep your services top of mind.
5. Ask for testimonials
Clients are very happy to say nice things about you if you ask them. Place their comments in a prominent place in all your promotional materials (with their permission, of course); at your web site, in your brochure, in your ezine. Ask clients to be as specific as possible, and to write about real results they achieved or a valuable difference you made to them, rather than just general, vague comments that anyone could say.
6. Write and submit articles.
If you like to write, article writing is a very effective promotional tool. Even if you don’t like to write, you can dictate an article into your voice recorder or voice dictation software, and then have it transcribed. Send articles to print publications, online article directories, and specific online sites that your target market would read.
7. Write testimonials and comments for others.
Writing testimonials for people you do business with, or for authors whose books you have read, may get you noticed if they put your comment at their website or in their ezine. Posting to other people’s blogs or in forums and discussion lists related to your target market also works well. Putting a link in your posts will drive traffic to your website.
8. Send a press release.
Sending a press release makes good business sense. You can create a list of media contacts that you could use many times. Write your press release and connect it to a current event in the news or to a holiday season to get noticed. Send it directly to the specific editor for your area of specialty. Don’t make it too salesy or about promoting you or your business – that would be an ad, not a press release.
Choose to take action on any of these ideas to expand on your current marketing strategies and promote your expertise for free.