Getting off the ground as a new small business is a challenge all its own. Sure, you’ve got great products and a solid business plan. You’ve got the passion and the drive to succeed. But marketing your small business is absolutely vital for sustained growth, and especially when you are just starting out. You simply can’t expect customers or clients to find you unless you’re getting your business in front of them.
Here are a few tips each new business should consider for getting that exposure:
Hold a Contest
Looking to make a quick splash? Hold a contest or giveaway! It’s an awesome way to get people talking about your business and can put you in front of a ton of new customers. The genius behind holding a giveaway is that you can leverage a brand or product that your potential customers know well to bring attention to a brand they don’t yet know – yours.
To hold a great contest, start by making sure you’ve got something people want. Then make sure that the giveaway item complements your own product or service. As an example, a furniture company could enter anyone who buys one of their products into a drawing for a free iPad. Apple is a well-known brand, the iPad is a very highly desired product, and a new couch or loveseat is the perfect place to curl up with your new device! A local eatery may enter diners in a drawing for a free meal or a free catered lunch at their place of work. Sometimes you’ve got to give a little to get a little.
For extra exposure, take your show on the road! Holding a giveaway at a local event or online via social media can be a great way to amplify your brand and get a little extra face time with potential customers.
Sponsor an Event
Event organizers work hard to get as many people to their events as possible. Why not take advantage of that by signing up as an event sponsor? You will likely earn some valuable time in front of event attendees and will get your company branding displayed prominently on banners, t-shirts, and online. The key to success using this method is to know your target audience and sponsor events that interest them. Shelling out budget to sponsor an event that holds no interest for your target customers will likely turn out to be a waste of money.
Get a Billboard
Billboards are not cheap, but they are a sure way to get your company name seen by countless potential customers. In fact, business owners in some of the most competitive industries I know of (we’re talking lawyers, injury loans, etc.) have depended on billboard advertising to get themselves established. One such acquaintance, personal injury attorney Adam Kutner, mentioned that “Early on, billboards were the foundation of establishing my practice. In a city like ours (Las Vegas,) billboard advertising builds trust and is an invaluable tool for bringing in new business.”
In addition, billboards can be used to direct people to online channels like a website or Facebook page, directly to your business or to make a phone call. They provide the real estate you need to display the message you want clearly and boldly. If you can fit them into your budget, billboards can be an awesome tool.
Set up a Booth at a Local Event
If you’re not keen on becoming a major sponsor of a big event, renting a booth at a local event or tradeshow is a good way to meet the public and be noticed. You can essentially set up a miniature version of your business, offering a look at your products and giving yourself the opportunity to meet hundreds of people. Be sure to provide samples, brochures, menus, or other items that can help tell the story of your company. Include your contact information and branding on these materials and on your signage. A booth format offers a unique opportunity for loads of short interactions, so be sure to fill your booth with personable, enthusiastic staffers that can help share the story of your business in a memorable way.
Another great way to generate buzz about your business is by seeking interview opportunities on local television, radio, newspapers or even podcasts. Look for television programs or journalists who might be interested in what your business is doing, and reach out to offer your expertise. Let them know what your business is trying to accomplish and tell them your story. Interviews can bring extra credibility to your business, and help you reach your target audience directly.
Social Media Campaigns
Social media is an inexpensive tool for gaining exposure. Brick and mortar businesses often overlook internet marketing, but the fact of the matter is your customers are online and using social media. It doesn’t matter if your business doesn’t offer anything for sale online. What matters is that many of your potential clients are spending time on sites like Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. These sites give your customers insight into the personality behind your business. They also have robust advertising platforms that will allow you to find the exact customers you’re looking for. For these reasons, using social media is a no-brainer.
Getting off to a strong start is often the difference between keeping a successful business going for years and flaming out after only a few months. Follow these tips and you’ll have a great chance for getting your business off on the right foot.