Spreading the Word about your BusinessEditor
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to marketing your business:
Good news: There are a ton of options.
Bad news: There are a ton of options.
In the past, there was TV and radio commercials, newspaper and magazine ads, the phone book directory, direct mailers, etc. Today, social media and the internet is where you’re going to get the most bang for your buck. It can be very overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be.
Not that the ways of the past are completely ineffective, but more people are finding what they’re looking for on the web. Personally, the words “OK Google” regularly come out of my mouth to search everything from a local retailer to a product I’m specifically looking for to where my favorite band is playing to self-diagnosing medical issues (I don’t recommend the latter). I had to laugh recently when a “Yellow Pages” business directory was delivered to my home. It was more surprise than anything…that they still make them. But some folks are uncomfortable with the whole “internet thing” and prefer old school advertising. Those numbers are fleeting. (My phone book went in recycling by the way.)
In an article this January, Business News Daily ranked the best social media sites for businesses. To no surprise, Facebook took the top spot as the biggest social network on the web. They have more than 1.55 billion active users. With the click of a button, it can catapult your business to more eyes than any print publication. Twitter, with 320 million users, limits you to 140 characters. It doesn’t allow much space for a full blown ad but is still a great filler to get people interested in a service you’re providing. Pinterest and Instagram have a large base of visitors but in more specific demographics. Pinterest users are typically those with greater interest in fashion, make up, cooking, exercise, etc. Instagram is popular among those that like to post photos and videos. If you’re in the visual arts business, this would be a great addition to your marketing.
A good way to decide where you should spend your advertising money, is to think about where you look for businesses (and how). Ask your friends where they find services they need. And don’t be afraid to ask other business owners advice on where they advertise. It’s not a “one size fits all” situation. What works for a local restaurant may not work for an auto shop. Pay attention to what others in your field are doing and find out if they are having success with it. I’m not suggesting that you mimic them exactly, but emulating successful ideas can only be a help to your business.
Lastly, word of mouth is STILL and will ALWAYS BE the best form of advertising. Are you asking for referrals? If not, why? Try offering an incentive to those that bring you new clients; whether it be a discount on their next service or product, or a gift. People love being rewarded! I’ve found most of the businesses I’ve used by asking friends on Facebook if they had recommendations. The key is to set yourself apart from “the rest”, provide good customer service, and be sure the people you hire uphold that culture as well. It makes all the difference.