You have decided to set up your own business. You have your products ready, your sales pitch is perfect and you are ready for your first customer. You wait and wait and wait but you don’t get any orders from the public. That’s because no matter what you have done to prepare yourself, your business cannot take off without the concept of advertising.
Every business needs to do this, from the small start-up business to the large multi-national corporations. Without advertising, no-one will know that your company exists. Advertising can sometimes be expensive, which can make doing this more difficult for the small start-up businesses. However, there are some forms of advertising that are affordable and can be quite effective in getting your business known.
1. Word of Mouth
Tell your friends about your new business. Tell your family about your new business. Tell your work colleagues about your business, (as long as your business isn’t directly competing with theirs). If you tell others about your business, they may tell their friends and family, who may tell their friends and family, and so on, and so on. This simple action will ensure that word of your business starts spreading around. You may even get to sell something to your friends and family.
2. Distribute Leaflets
This form of advertising works better for people who have businesses that are limited to the local area, i.e. builders, plumbers, local shops, takeaway business, etc. It’s quite easy these days to create your own leaflet on your computer and get them printed out and delivered by yourself. If you are not that artistic, there are some companies that can design and print leaflets for you at a reasonable rate.
3. Create a Website
The majority of the population now has access to the internet, so having a presence on the internet is almost essential for any small business. There are several website hosting companies that have prices affordable for start-up business, or alternatively you can use a free website service such as Weebly to create yourself your own space on the World Wide Web.
4. Social Networking
As well as many people having access to the internet, many people now also use social networking sites to communicate with each. Examples of these are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. With the amount of people currently using these types of sites, it is a good idea for start-up business to get onto them and increase their visibility on the internet.
5. Post a Video Online
Another internet based tip. Online video sites such as YouTube attract thousands, if not millions, of people every year, so posting a video relating to your business will give you a lot of exposure. If you manufacture something, post a video of you making your goods. If you sell goods at a market stall, get someone you know to film a short clip of you working there. If you are feeling like being a director, you could film your own advert and post it online.
6. Create a Blog
People love finding out about other people. Just look how reality TV has taken off. People also like finding out about other people through their blogs. A blog is a bit like an online diary or a journal where you can post your thoughts and feelings. Businesses are now using blogs to communicate with their potential customers and to give a more human face to their companies. You can create a blog to talk about upcoming goods or services, your thoughts on your business’s industry or to just give a more personal approach to your customers.
7. Create a Press Release
Journalists are always looking for news stories to print, so why shouldn’t they print one about your new business? By sending a press release, you can notify the press about something special happening to your business, such as moving premises, a new range of products or taking on new staff. You have to make your press release sound like there is an actual story that the journalists would be interested in reporting. Make your press release stand out but keep it short. Keep to a limit of a page for each press release.
8. Join Local Fairs and Markets
If you sell goods, check your local press or council website for details on local fairs and markets you could sell your goods at. You normally just pay a small charge for a pitch and any money you make goes to you. This is a good way of getting your start-up business noticed by the local community. Make sure you have some business cards and leaflets available for people to take home.
9. Donate Goods to a Raffle or Charity
When goods are donated to a raffle or charity, the donation is sometimes accompanied by a description of who donated it. This will let people know it is you who provided the goods and will let them see the quality of your goods. If you are donating goods you have made, try to have your business name and contact details somewhere on the labelling.
10. Get Listed in Directories
Getting yourself listed in directories is quite simple. Yellow Pages is one of the biggest directories, but there are also hundreds of other directories online. Try to join directories that specialise in your area of industry. Most directories follow the same procedure of asking for your business name, your contact details, a website address if you have one and a small description about your business.
11. Write Articles
Writing articles about your business’s area of expertise is a good way of getting people to notice your business. Writing an article shows that you are knowledgeable about what your business does, which will improve potential customer’s confidence in you and your business. Most websites that allow people to submit articles will also allow the article to link back to your website, helping potential customers to find you easier.
12. Use you Vehicle as Advertising
If you have a vehicle, try putting your business name and contact details on the side of it. Everywhere you drive, people will see your business advertised, increasing your business’s exposure to the world. This type of advertising is more commonly seen used by the building and manual labour trades.
13. Put your Business Information on Everything
On every e-mail, every fax and every letter, include all your business details. Put your business name, address, telephone number, fax number, website address and e-mail address on everything, so that people receiving your communications have every possible way of getting in contact with you.
14. Use Promotions to Promote your Business
Offer people promotions in return for using your business. Have a 10% discount sale on your website. Offer people a free gift if they show you your leaflet. Arrange a competition on your blog. People love getting something free or something at a discounted rate. Promoting a business like this could also improve word-of-mouth promotion from people taking part in these special offers.
15. Start a Workshop
If you sells goods used to make items, (i.e. sell fabric to make clothes or sell flour and sugar to make cakes), check your local area to see where you would set up a workshop. If you can show and teach people how to make items with the goods you supply, they will be more likely to buy those goods from you.