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10 Free Things You Can Do To Promote Your Business

Many small businesses are unable to allocate a large budget to advertising and marketing. Here’s a list of ten things you can do to get your business name out there that don’t require any cash outlay — only an investment of time.

  1. Volunteer to speak on a topic you know well. There are a variety of civic groups that need guest speakers – service clubs like Rotary International, industry groups, and economic development organizations like your local Chamber. Find out what programs they offer, and how you can share your expertise at a seminar, lunch gathering or workshop. You’ll make a host of new connections.
  2. Participate in a community project. Can your business make an in-kind contribution to a meaningful community initiative? Can you lend volunteers or your expertise to the project? Make sure to promote what you’re doing on all channels available to you, including social media, your website, and e-newsletter. This can do wonders for your business reputation, as well as provide a wonderful opportunity for professional growth and networking.
  3.  Attend events and network. Yes, it’s difficult to find the time, but it’s important! Leverage any memberships you might have in your local Chamber or other industry group. Go to charity events and other events in your community, and make sure you have business cards handy always.
  4.  Practice your elevator pitch. Your “elevator pitch” is a short, oral sales pitch that can be delivered in the time it takes to ride an elevator. Make sure you are well-prepared to give yours – literally practice it out loud — and then put yourself in the position to give it (see #3, above).
  5.  Own your digital footprint. Most businesses have claimed their social media profiles on Facebook and LinkedIn, but Manta, Yelp and Google+ are important too. Many times, your business listing will already exist on these services, but you should “claim” them to ensure all information is accurate. It’s your story – take control of it! Also, make sure any social media profiles you have established for your business are up-to-date.
  6. Publish a post on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the only social medium exclusively focused on business. If you’re in sales, you should be actively networking on LinkedIn using your personal profile – and publishing a post, which is essentially a short article on a topic of importance in your industry, is a great way to position yourself as an expert.
  7. Monitor your online reputation. Periodically perform searches as though you were a potential customer, searching on phrases customers who might need your products or services would be likely to use. Are you happy with where your site appears in search engine results? If not, it might be time to evaluate your website from an SEO perspective. Also, search on the company name, and then your name. What do you find?
  8. Reconsider content marketing. Content marketing is essentially any form of marketing that provides your customers and prospects with information they can use (such as this blog). It’s a soft sell, but a very effective one! What content marketing are you doing, and if you’re not, what could you do?
  9. Follow up with past clients. Satisfied customers are an excellent source of repeat business and referrals! What can you do to stay in touch? Handwritten thank-you notes can be very meaningful in this age of digital communication. Does it make sense to offer past customers a special deal for referring new customers? You can also solicit testimonials for use on your website and other promotional materials. Don’t forget your vendors – they are frequently in a position to refer business your way. Make sure they want to. If new customers or clients let you know who referred them, make sure you reach out to thank them.
  10.  Brush up your marketing plan. It’s easy to get in the position of marketing reactively, rather than planning –especially if your budget is small, and the person responsible for marketing also has many other job tasks. Devote a few afternoons to creating a marketing plan (perhaps using our free calendar download), thinking carefully about what you did last year and what you’d like to change.
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