Opening a new business is time-consuming. You have to go through multiple stages of crafting your idea, planning how you want to see it come to fruition, and dealing with all the red tape associated with getting the proper paperwork together to ensure getting your business off the ground goes smoothly. Once you’ve been through all the hassle of actually getting your business off the ground, you’re tasked with the hard work of keeping it open. This includes managing your daily business operations, overseeing a staff, and taking care of customers. With so much going on, many business owners overlook the important task of marketing their business. Marketing your business is an important element in getting the word out about your new business and bringing in customers to help keep it running. If you’re like most new business owners, you may not have a large budget that allows you to dedicate a line item to marketing. However, you don’t need a massive budget to help spread the word about your business. All you need are some simple marketing tools to share the story of your brand to bring in new customers.
Prepare Your Elevator Pitch
Even when you’re not at work, you should always be prepared to talk about your business when people out in public ask what you do. Think of a short, interesting pitch you can give to people in ten seconds or less, which is the average adult attention span. Craft a creative hook that will get them to lean in and want to learn more. Always carry business cards on you as well, so you can give people a takeaway when they want to learn more about your business or get in touch with you at a later time.
Networking is a powerful and inexpensive way to get out there and spread the word about your business while making connections. Set aside some time to simply get out there and meet people. It can take some time to build a positive network, but if you’re patient and willing to dedicate some time to hitting the streets, networking can pay off. Look for local business associate events that you can attend and remember to bring your elevator pitch and some business cards. Even marketing professionals for large companies, such as Mark Crumpacker, understand the importance of networking to help build brand awareness.
Offer Coupons and Giveaways
There’s no better way to give people an idea of what your business offers than by letting them try your product for free or at a discounted price. Many new businesses know that they may have to take a small loss at the beginning to get people hooked on their product or service. You don’t necessarily have to give everything away for free either. People will often go out of their way to use a coupon— even if it wasn’t for something they were originally planning to buy. You can also leverage customer loyalty programs to bring in return business while building a dedicated customer base.
A great way to get your business’s name out there is to give back to your local community. Showing that you— and your business— care about your local community is a smart PR move and gives your business a good name. You can get out there and volunteer while wearing your business’s logo on a shirt or dedicate a day to donate proceeds from purchases to a worthy charitable cause or sponsor a local cause such as a 5k, softball league, or pet shelter. Each of these options doesn’t cost a lot of money but can offer a lot in customer equity.
While you’re out networking, you should also meet with other business owners to build relationships and support each other. Many businesses lean on each other for support and help each other out through cross promotions and collaborative projects. Find a business who would be willing to work with you and plan to cross-promote one another. Offer coupons to your business to keep in theirs, make referrals, or offer promotions where customers get a certain percentage off their purchase when they shop at both places. This can help expand your customer base while helping out other local businesses.
Spread the Word
Many business owners underestimate the power of press releases and often think they cost money to send in to the local newspaper. However, press releases are a free way to spread the word about your business. Whenever you have an event or something worthy of sharing, write out a press release and send it in to your local paper to get the word out to a large audience. However, newspapers aren’t required to publish your press releases and may only do so when they have a slow press day or need to fill extra space. Many newspapers are also more likely to publish your press releases when you occasionally pay for some ad space with them, so help them out by buying ad space with the expectation that they’ll publish your releases in return.
These easy, inexpensive marketing strategies are a great way to promote your new business, bring in customers, and ultimately help your bottom line. Remember to have patience and be willing to wait on seeing a healthy return, as marketing can take time but be rewarding when it pays off.