What makes a customer choose which companies they buy from? If you’re starting your own business, you might have already asked yourself this question. You may have even been trying to get your company off the ground for a while with no results. The answer is, of course, advertising. Advertising and building a brand for your business is one of the most crucial responsibilities you have as the founder, and it is also probably the biggest factor in your long-term success. If you’re not covering the basics of advertising, it’s time to take another look at your approach to getting your name out there and standing apart from the competition. There are plenty of ways you can get your business noticed.
1. Collaborating with Other Local Businesses
To be a good business owner, you have to be good at networking. Go into local businesses in your area and introduce yourself, and let them know about your product and location. Don’t be overly aggressive but make it clear you’re looking for support and that most wonderful of all advertising opportunities – good word of mouth. You might want to give them free samples or special bargains so they can experience your product firsthand. Then they will be able to recommend it to their customers. If they let you post flyers or find a good way to recommend you, do the same for them. Make the local business scene your community.
2. Use Social Media
Social media has become a must for small businesses, and the statistics in favor of using sites like Facebook to promote your company are staggering. Over 80 percent of Facebook users prefer to connect with brands through that site than any other means of advertising. That means you have a huge audience out there if you know how to find it. Connect with locals who might be interested in checking out what you have to offer. If you have online ordering in place, that’s even better, because social media is a great way to direct traffic to your website and open yourself up to an audience around the country or even the world.
3. Promotions and Customer Loyalty
There’s no quicker way to draw business in fast than by running a promotion. Whether it’s discounts, coupons, or free samples, people will remember where they got a good deal. Customer loyalty programs are also a huge way to get your clientele coming back again and again. Things like punch cards or special email lists will make customers feel like a part of the family. Don’t be afraid to offer free samples or special promotions for first-time customers either, especially during your grand opening. Make shopping at your business feel like an event.
There are dozens and dozens of way to advertise your business in a way that will get results, both online and in person. Whether you employ sign holders, take out an ad on the radio, or hit up local forums where people with interests that relate to your company are posting, you will start to build word of mouth that will propel your business to the next level. If your small business results aren’t what you want them to be, advertising is the first and best place for you to focus time and money. You’ve got the product, now get the people.
Author Nel Reed writes on small business and how to make yours a success. Interested in the future of advertising? Several universities offer a mass communication degree with classes on new media, including University of Florida and University of South Carolina.