When it comes to building a successful business, advertising is among the most valuable tools available to entrepreneurs. Large companies shell out millions of dollars a year to keep their ventures in the public eye, and information readily available to the masses.
For smaller businesses without large advertising budgets, this practice can be a daunting source of frustration and can leave business owners feeling that their company is not getting the spotlight it deserves. This is especially tough for new businesses. Fortunately, there are resources for free publicity available to business owners that are willing to broaden their horizons and think outside of the box.
1. Social Media Groups and Pages
Social media outlets offer business owners an opportunity to reach thousands of potential customers for little to no money. Creating a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account for your business can draw in customers on a local or global scale. It gives you, as a business owner, the chance to share events, press releases, sales, and other information about your company while also allowing customers to express opinions and ask questions.
These kinds of accounts allow for a more personal connection between companies and the people that utilize their services. Social media also gives entrepreneurs a chance to see what fans are looking for, collect data, and check out the competition. Beyond typical accounts, try implementing a company blog, and posting content to YouTube.
The more your company is seen and heard of, the more traffic your accounts will get. According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of American’s use social media on a daily basis. Bringing your company to the social media age will allow you to advertise to these two-thirds, and draw in significant new revenue.
2. Local Libraries
Perhaps it has been a while since you’ve visited your local library. Even so, libraries remain a hub for senior citizens and families with young children. For these demographics, among others, libraries are a hub of the community and a place to go to gather new information. This makes them an important base to cover when it comes to utilizing all of the resources available to your company. Many libraries are willing to post fliers and informational pamphlets to help local businesses thrive for free.
They make this information public via their bulletin boards and front desks. Libraries are also a center for people looking for employment. If your company is one that offers services in that vein, or that caters to these demographics, they are absolutely a can’t miss opportunity.
3. College Campus Fairs and Newspapers
Every college campus offers several special interest fairs a year. They are similar to libraries in the case of free advertising. Businesses like personal training, health, home décor, computer or job training, and cleaning services can be very useful to college students, and the professors and visitors that spend their time on campus.
College fairs (especially around move-in times) are a great place to advertise to students that may need your company’s services at some point in the year. As an added bonus, College newspapers and radio stations are always looking for new partners. If not free, these campuses offer extremely cheap publicity to large numbers of young people each year.
4. Referrals and Word of Mouth
Referrals are the age-old advertising trick that has kept businesses going from long before the information age. Having vocal fans of your business is a surefire way to draw in new customers that already feel a sense of connection to your company.
Offer discounts and benefits to customers that refer friends, and cultivate a business that helps spread itself. Be sure that your customers understand the integrity and mission of your company, so that if asked about it, they feel excited to share a great idea with friends and family. But you don’t just wait around for referrals, ask for them!
5. Internet and Local Directories
There are lots of directories like Google, Yahoo, Yellow Pages, and Craigslist that allow businesses to share information with potential clients by giving them a direct contact line. It is critical that potential clients know how to contact your business, operating hours and location.
Having this information readily available and easy to access is a key step to creating a pleasant experience between your clientele and your company. Many of these directories offer free or incredibly cheap deals to post your information on a global scale.
Be sure to utilize these sites, and keep the contact information you post updated and consistent. These sites are also hubs for gathering ratings. A good rating is the best free advertising a company can get, and helps clients find your company.
No matter what your business specializes in, advertising everywhere and often can only be beneficial. Keep your eyes open for opportunities both online and within your own community to create more buzz and expand your business’s clientele horizons.