Do the free things first.
Just because promoting your business can be free, doesn’t make it any less important to do. Take the time to tell people through social media, forums, interest groups, emails, local directories and other free methods that you’re starting a business.
Ask for referrals.
Most people are happy to refer your business, but people are busy too. Always ask for referrals from your customers and friends, sometimes people need a little reminder.
Don’t pay to rank.
If someone solicits you guaranteeing an organic search listing at the top of a search page with no money-back-guarantee, hang up the phone or delete the email. If you’re looking for a company to manage your paid search campaigns, either contact your local small business organization like the SBA, or do it yourself with a product like Search Engine Visibility.
Test social media.
If you’ve exhausted every other form of free promotion or advertising, take 10 minutes a day to begin cultivating a social media presence. You don’t need to start spending a ton of time right away. Begin a conversation online and see where it takes you. If it’s successful, spend more time, and if it’s not, don’t be scared to stop and try something else.
Always remember that it makes no difference how many people see your business if they’re not interested in what you have to show them. You won’t have much luck selling cat toys to a dog lover or coffee to a tea drinker. Look at the attributes of your ideal market and target them precisely.
You get what you pay for.
In advertising, there is such a thing as good, better, and best ‘inventory’. If you’re advertising on someone else’s property, website, or billboard, remember that if the advertising is cheap, there’s probably a reason. Maybe the billboard isn’t visible during part of the day because of the way the sun hits it, or maybe the website ads are remnant inventory. Make sure you know what you’re getting.
There’s tons more, but this will get you moving in the right direction.
Have a specific question? Feel free to email me here.