Originally posted on October 12, 2009 on emeryroad.wordpress.com
When you own a business, you want to get your name out there to as many folks as possible. It isn't always easy to do that and it can be very time consuming. But taking the time to develop a marketing plan and to participate in business promoting activities is your best bet in achieving business success.
There are a number of ways to reach your audience. Explore all options and then decide on a plan of action. Here are twelve ways to get you started.
1. Social Networking – Offline
Getting involved in networking events hosted by your local chamber of commerce, BNI chapter, or other organization is a great way to spread the word about your business. See my post on social networking etiquette.
2. Social Networking – Online
Join LinkedIn and Twitter and create your profile. This is a great way to stay connected with people you've met and to get introduced to other people. See my blog post on how to use Twitter.
Having a professional website helps your business achieve more credibility and is another way for your customers and target market to find you. Give people multiple ways to contact you and if you have a brick and mortar store, be sure to include your location and hours of business. Also, be sure your website looks professional. If you're not sure, ask a professional for feedback. It is always better to have NO website than to have an unprofessional one. Click here for more web copy tips.
Write articles that demonstrate your expertise and submit them to online sites like EzineArticles to gain exposure as an expert in your field. If you don't have time or talent, hire a copywriter to help you.
Start a blog and write posts that provide helpful information. If you provide valuable and helpful content on a regular basis, your readers are more likely to come back for more. Be sure to create an informative 'About' page that mentions your company and its value to customers.
6. Community Involvement
Get involved in the community and offer a service for a good cause to gain more exposure for your business. Write a press release about it, then post it on your website and submit it to your local newspapers.
7. Case Studies
Write case studies featuring your customers and their experiences with your product or service. You can then post the case study on your website or use it as a handout to prospects. Be sure your subjects have agreed to an interview before hiring a copywriter to produce the case study.
Incorporating relevant keywords into your website copy can improve your ranking with the search engines and thus improve your chances of increased traffic to your site. You want to make sure your text still makes sense, so take caution when adding your keywords to your site.
9. Marketing Materials
Produce a professional brochure about your services and have it handy when prospects want more information. Be careful not to use too much of the same text from your website (or vice versa). You want your material to be fresh and new and to complement each other. Send out direct mail if your budget allows it.
Post real customer testimonials on your website and get recommendations from your connections on LinkedIn to gain credibility with your customers and prospects.
Visit with your neighboring businesses and see if there is a way you can work together to improve both of your businesses. A referral program may work for you.
Offering seminars on industry-related topics is a great way to gain more exposure for your business and mark you as an expert in your field.
Follow this list and you'll be well on your way to effectively promoting your business. But remember: always be professional and produce professional materials to improve customer retention and acquisition.
About the Author: Jody Calkins is a freelance business writer who writes about business development, risk management, security protection, and business standards. Visit www.emeryroad.com for more information and samples.