Owning your own business can be invigorating, but it can be frustrating as well. You have invested a lot of time and energy into your superb product – whether it be the latest, greatest in web design or a bricks-and-mortar outfit like a flower store. There you are, sitting in front of your computer awaiting e-mails, or in your store patiently waiting for your next customer to walk in. How do you get the word out about your new endeavor?
Word-of-mouth Word-of-mouth is probably one of the simplest, and least expensive, ways of advertising. All it takes is one great customer who tells their family, who then tells their friend, and so on it goes … soon you will have multiple clients knocking on your door. The downside to this strategy is that you need a few customers to start off with. If you’re struggling to get people in the door, why not ask your friends and family to come browse around? Or if you have an on-line company, ask them to provide input on your website?
Social media Social media ties in quite nicely with word-of-mouth, as it has been said that social media is “word-of-mouth on steroids.” The family and friends you have praising your services and your product? Ask them to post on their Facebook or Twitter; or even better, create your own business pages for these mediums and ask them to review you on there as well. Social media campaigns are better started simply; instead of creating profiles for every medium out there, focus on one that fits best with your service or product. If you’re a flower store, you’d best be served with a Facebook site, as you can post as many pictures as you’d like. If you are selling web design, Twitter might work better. It all depends on which medium your customers are flocking to.
TV, radio and newspaper Called “traditional advertising,” TV, radio and newspaper are the mainstay in the advertising world. The costs for these types of mediums are usually far out of a start-up company’s price range, but there are options. Some radio stations will exchange advertising time for items they can auction; some newspapers have more reasonable costs, if you’re looking at a community newspaper rather than a larger city. It’s worth doing a bit of footwork to see what the costs and the benefits are.
Community visibility Second to word-of-mouth, community visibility is one of the easier ways to advertise. This can include having a booth at your local trade show, to attending mixers at your area’s chamber of commerce. If you have the energy, you can also visit businesses that you think may be interested in your product. Before you appear at any of these events, be sure to have your “elevator pitch” down pat. This is a 30-second speech that puts across what your business is and what it provides, all in a concise manner. Be sure to run your elevator pitch by a few friends to ensure that it makes sense.