It’s quite true that a lot of big businesses spend a huge amount of their budget on advertising. This is, firstly, because they can afford to spend so much on advertising, and secondly, because they get enough customers from it to make spending all the money worthwhile. However, starting off as a small business is something quite different, since you don’t have as much money and therefore can’t afford to pay for billboards, TV advertising and magazine adverts. Here are some of the quick and easy ways to effectively advertise as a smaller business.
Build a website
It’s really easy to set up a small website, and you can either choose the free option or pay a monthly amount to host your own. Websites such as WordPress and Blogger allow you to set up a free website or blog, and you’ll never pay a penny. However, because you’re relying on that website e.g WordPress to keep your website going, it’s more risky if you’re thinking long-term. There’s no way of simply transferring your website to a private hosting plan if you decide after a few months that this is what you wish to do. If WordPress suddenly decided to close down their website, your website would also go. You’re limited as to how much money you can make from affiliate marketing and advertising on your website too, since it doesn’t work in the same way as hosting your own website does. If you’re serious and you want to set up a website, pay $10 or so per year for the domain name e.g mybusiness.com and then another $10 per month to host it with a hosting plan from GoDaddy or Hostgator.
When building your website, thinking about local SEO keywords that you could incorporate. This is particularly important if you’re running a local business rather than a national business, since you want your website to rank highly in the search engines. This simply means that when people search for your type of business on Google, Yahoo or Bing, your website will come up in the first few search results, thus increasing the chances by thousands that they’ll click on your link.
Befriend other businesses in the area
A great free and effective way to advertise in a local area is to get other business owners to help you out. Of course, this doesn’t work if you’re trying to make friends with your competitors, since they’re never going to encourage people to buy from your shop instead of theirs. However, if you’re running a clothing shop and your friend down the road is running a children’s toy shop, you can help each other out by advertising for each other. This could be done in a few ways. One of the ways is by having some business cards on the counter for customers to take. When people come in with children, offer them a business card, and when festive holidays such as Christmas come around, you’ll be sending more business down the road. The toy business will in turn return the favour to you, and will give out business cards to the customers who come into the shop. Another simple way is to print off some nice flashy posters to put in the window. Make sure that the other shop owner is okay with this and that your poster won’t be taking up too much space! A final and effective way is by word of mouth; however, don’t bribe the other shop owners with this since you might end up advertising for them in return for nothing! Make friends with the other shop owners so that they genuinely want to help you and you genuinely want to help them – that’s definitely the best way to do it.
Offer incentives for your loyal customers
The existing customers who come to your shop regularly will love a great incentive. It will give them a chance to get something back for advertising for you, and it’ll get you more business. It will also help to build a better relationship between you and your customers. One of the things you could do is set up a loyalty card program. Whenever they come into the shop and make a purchase of a certain amount, stamp their loyalty card. Once they’ve collected a certain number of stamps, they get a free gift or can use it as money off in the shop. If you’re looking to get more customers rather than just reward the existing ones, have a different scheme. Offer them $5 off a purchase for every customer who makes a purchase of over $50 and has been referred by you. Of course, you can use whichever figures you want and have a scheme which works for you exactly as you like.