Word-of-mouth from friends, family, business acquaintances, and your past customers/clients will be one of your best and most reliable sources for promoting your business. Tell everyone about your new venture and ask for their help in spreading the word about it.
In addition to real-world connections, many people you know probably have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of online friends via social media. In other words, they’re “influencers.” A simple but positive mention on someone’s Facebook page or Twitter feed could help you generate new business.
The more you can get people talking about you and your business, the better this form of viral or buzz marketing can work. Best of all, word-of-mouth advertising is free. It just requires that you consistently offer top-notch customer service and invest the time to build positive business relationships with the people who can help spread the word about your business. For business-to-business marketing, services like LinkedIn can be very useful marketing tools.
The internet is changing the way people shop. If you’ll be operating a business premise, you’ll want to add a listing for it on services like Yelp!, Google Maps, and Apple Maps. You can also seek new customers or clients by advertising locally on online services like Groupon.
Find out when your local chamber of commerce, Rotary Club, or Toastmasters group holds meetings that you can attend, and exchange business cards with new acquaintances. There is a wealth of information you can learn from small-business owners in other industries who have successfully carved out a niche for themselves.
Make yourself available as a speaker to every professional, fraternal, and service organization in town. Many of these groups meet weekly, and they are always looking for speakers. You may not get paid, but you’ll often get a free meal, make some valuable contacts, and get the word out about your business. You can also become an instructor for regional adult education programs, offering lectures, workshops, or classes.
When giving talks, keep the information you provide helpful but general—don’t make this a sales pitch for your business. Have business cards and brochures on hand to distribute at the end of your presentation.
The chamber of commerce or public library can provide you with a more comprehensive list of networking opportunities within the community including online services such as a free UK business directory.
If you want to do a more in-depth presentation, consider offering seminars. Seminars help your market learn more about what services you offer and give you an opportunity to showcase your work while sharing valuable information.
Advertising and public relations are two other key ways you’ll promote your business to the public locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally. Where and how you choose to advertise will depend on your budget, specialty, target audience, and goals.