Once you've created a marketing plan that identifies what it is you want to sell, how, and to whom, you need to start getting the word out on your business.
One question that many start-up companies will ask is how do I effectively reach the most people while keeping a reasonable marketing budget? Thanks to the Internet, not only is it possible to market on a shoestring budget, it's almost considered the norm these days. Here are some ways you can get your business’s word out with very little money:
Start a blog
Give people a reason to visit your website. If you don't have a blog, people might visit your website once or twice to gather information and never return. If you have a blog that gives your readers valuable information on a regular basis, then not only have you given your audience a reason to revisit, but you've also given them reasons to talk about your company. (“Last week, I read something on the Tech Business Blog that said the newest marketing trend is....”)
Once you have a blog, you can drive your audience to it, build a community, and initiate discussion about important topics.
Use social networking
If you doubt the power of social media, check out Twitter during an important sports game or when there is an international crisis. The Twitter-stream is always abuzz with the latest news and opinions. You can tap into this stream by either commenting on the trending topics (seen in the right column of your Twitter page) or creating a new “news-worthy” topic yourself. When people start seeing that your company is adding value to the conversation they will start paying attention.
Same thing goes for Facebook. Every award, every event your company has, every bit of good news, should go up on your Facebook page. Again, once people see that you are adding value (or that you are even participating) they will start paying attention.
Write posts for other blogs in your industry
This one comes further down the list because you should have a blog first, but it's not absolutely necessary. Guest blogging is something that everyone loves. For the owners of the blog, it gives them free content. For the writer of the post, you're seen as an authority in the field. Although you have to conform to the standards established on another business’s blog, you can always link back to your website or blog in your bio.
Writing for others is another way to drive business home and it's a way to get guest bloggers to write for your blog.
Get out of your office
People like to meet people. If you have the type of business that allows for it, go out and meet your audience. Hold workshops, sponsor local events, have a booth at a convention. Remember though, that at all times, the meeting is about your audience and what it is you can do to help them.
Create a buzz
If your business donates to a charity, write it up as a press release and get it out. Do you have an employee who recently won an award? Write it up. Local newspapers and online news sites are eager to get well-written press releases (with photos) to run as news stories.
Give something away
If you browse other business websites, you'll notice that many of them offer a free e-book on a specific topic. (Top 25 Reasons Why...) There are two reasons why this is a good idea:
- People like to get things for free. They especially like to get things of value for free. Getting something that could actually help them will make them like and respect your business.
- When people request the e-book, you can ask for their e-mail, which helps you create an e-mail list to send out company information.
Points worth repeating: the e-book needs to be well-written and it must give value to the reader. A fluff attempt might do you more damage than good with your audience.
As you've probably noticed, many of the ways to market these days involves writing. Go tap the strongest writer in your company and start seeing if you can get your company's brand out on the Internet by way of word.
What one thing can you think of doing today that could get your business’s brand out to your target audience?