Four free or low-cost ways to promote your business

Right, it’s January, so take a deep breath. For many of us, the next pay day still feels like a long way away and small business owners might be feeling the same. Extra expenses over the Christmas break, plus little or no work for the second part of December means a money saving January. There’s no reason why you can’t still promote your business though.

In fact, now is the perfect time to do it. Securing a new client or making a new sale will make January all the brighter.

The question is: How do you advertise when you haven’t got extra money to spend?

Here are a few tips to get you started:-

1. Make the most of social media to promote your business

Love it or hate it, social media allows us to influence and be influenced. It doesn’t cost you anything to set up accounts for your business on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest, etc. So, if you haven’t already done it, now’s the time.

Join relevant industry groups so you can join in a debate or answer questions which might get your business noticed.

If your business can provide visual elements, make sure you use Instagram. A garden designer, for example can showcase recent projects. A jewellery designer can promote new designs and drive more people to the website where the hope is they’ll buy.

The downside to social media is that it can bring out the worst in people. You might get some negative comments about your product or service but the way to look at it is that at least you know about it and can put it right. You can also let other people know you handle customer complaints well. This will give them confidence in you and make them more likely to buy.

There is no point doing one or two posts and then nothing for ages. People want to see new content often otherwise they’ll be disengaged. If you have a website, make sure you share links to your social media pages too.

2. If it’s newsworthy, share it

As a small business owner, you might think that gaining press coverage is the stuff of dreams. However, if something is newsworthy, it doesn’t matter if you’re a multi-million-pound company or a small start-up, you can still get coverage.

If you’re taking part in a local charity event or someone in your team is hoping to break the world record for, let’s say, most haircuts completed in a day, send a press release to local journalists.

If you produce locally made jam or scented candles, you could send free samples to local or industry specific journalists. They might just love it and decide to write about it.

Sometimes or arguably always, being a small business owner is all about dreaming big. Why not send a sample of your wares to a celebrity for some free endorsement. You never know, they might just wear it and then shout about it.

3. Create new content

Good search engine rankings are important and one way to improve yours without paying for advertising is to write a blog. The new content being added to your website will help to push you up the Google rankings. You could ask a guest blogger to write a couple of articles too. This has the added bonus of bringing their followers to your website.

You could also write a blog for another relevant website for some self-promotion. There is a wealth of information out there about writing good blogs and as with social media, make sure you add content frequently.

A video is an inexpensive way to showcase new products and to connect with your clients and customers. Videos can then be added to your website and social media channels. Think, better search engine rankings!

Podcasts are another way to reach a new audience. If you’re an employment consultant or solicitor, for example, it can be easier to explain something fairly technical using a podcast, rather than trying to write it down.

4. Other offline opportunities promote your business

Find out if there is a local business community or networking group you could join. They are a great way of meeting potential clients and also can be a brilliant soundboard for ideas. Always make sure you have some business cards at the ready. If you haven’t got business cards, they’re relatively inexpensive to design and produce.

Local markets and fairs may also be a suitable channel for your business. This can be particularly helpful if you’re thinking about taking the plunge into retail bricks and mortar.

Offer existing clients and customers promotional offers. You could send a voucher for an additional purchase out with products sold. Alternatively, add a promotional message to client invoices offering a discount for a new service you’re adding.

Ask satisfied customers if they would recommend you to their friends, family, colleagues and customers. This is better done in person if possible but over the phone is a good alternative.

If your business means employees wear a uniform, then make sure you have your business logo and name clearly on there. Seeing your businesses name while standing in the queue waiting for a coffee might just remind someone to arrange that new cleaner or gardener.

How can THP help?

We understand that running a business is a full-time job. While you’re working on promoting your growing business, we can help you with payroll and bookkeeping. We love finding out about new businesses and if we think you could save you money, be more tax efficient or see other business opportunities for you, we’ll let you know.

Speak to your local THP contact for more information about any of the above and how we can help you, with offices in ChelmsfordCheamWanstead, and Saffron Walden.

Avatar for Jon Pryse-Jones
About Jon Pryse-Jones

Since joining THP in 1978, Jon Pryse-Jones has been hands on with every area of the business. Now specialising in strategy, business planning, and marketing, Jon remains at the forefront of the growth and development at THP.

An ideas man, Jon enjoys getting the most out of all situations, “I act as a catalyst for creative people and encourage them to think outside the box,” he says, “and I’m not afraid of being confrontational. It often leads to a better result for THP and its clients.”

Jon’s appreciation for THP extends to his fellow team members and the board.  “They really know how to run a successful business,” he says.  He’s keen on IT and systems development as critical to success, and he continues to guide THP to be at the cutting edge and effective.

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