As a business owner, there are several activities that you need to execute and manage successfully in order to grow your business effectively and profitably. The first includes marketing, advertising and promotion to inform your prospects about your services and build up a strong presence in your target market. The second includes reducing costs and managing expenses as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, it is a challenge to succeed in accomplishing these goals in tandem, as traditional advertising is a costly business expense.
But by adding some non-traditional techniques to your traditional efforts, marketing your business does not always have to be a large financial investment. There are many resources you can use these days to shamelessly self-promote your business.
Here are a few tips to help you get the word out about your business using low-cost or even FREE techniques:
Do Your Own Local PR
Your local community newspaper is normally glad to pick up news stories from the community. There are sections in the paper such as People in the News or Business Notes that actively seeks out local businesses to print up a blurb about, or even do a feature on local businesses for free. You can use that press to garner even more attention. Submit press releases to the news outlets only when you have something really newsworthy to say or a business event or achievement of note to announce.
Sponsor a Community Event
There are many organizations that sponsor events that need benefactors to help support them. You can use these opportunities for free publicity by donating a business service for free or even a small monetary donation from your business. The organization and event publicity will help in your branding and getting your company name out locally.
Hit The Internet
If you have experience in a specific niche, you can share your knowledge online by guest posting on various relevant blogs or submitting original articles to websites like www.ezinearticles.com with a brief author biography and a link back to your website. These submissions are free and can help build confidence in your knowledge of the topic at hand for potential clients and help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for your website. MSP University uses this technique successfully to achieve both of these goals.
Join An Association
There are many local, regional and national associations that you can join and reap the benefits of extended networking, mailing lists, and even continuing education on business topics. Granted these association memberships do come with fees and membership dues, but they can be an invaluable investment in your business. Once a member, don't be a wallflower. Attend functions and be involved in as much as you can to get your money's worth. Consider your local Chambers of Commerce as an immediate option, and partner with Microsoft's Local Engagement Team to help with free giveaways at these events to help create a 4-way Win-Win opportunity for you, the Chamber, Microsoft and the winner of your raffles.
The popularity of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are free to join and give you the freedom to express yourself and shine as an expert in your field.
There are many other such opportunities for promoting your business, and with a bit of effort and creative thinking, you can develop your own marketing plan on a budget. Sure, it's nice to have a big glossy billboard advertising your services – but the reality is you likely can't afford it, don't need always need it, and can find more effective ways to get your business' name out there using inexpensive methods and resources.