It’s so exciting to start a business. Big dreams, big ideas, and then the overwhelm. Even if you have already built a website and the branding is on point, you have to promote your business. I have many people reaching out, trying to figure it out, and asking for the “magic formula”.
How can I promote my small business with no money or on a minimal budget? How do you promote a business to attract customers? What are the best ways to promote my small business? Where do I start? Who do I ask for help?
You can, of course, hire an agency, pay for ads, and multiple other paid option, but here is a few free ideas to promote your business and spread awareness about your product or service.
5 ways to promote your business.
1. Utilize social media marketing.
Figure out what social media would be best for your clients and start sharing!
I always tell my clients, that as business owners, we cannot physically do it all. Since we only have 24 hrs in a day, we can’t be on ALL social media while also providing the service or creating the products. There are so many options- Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat, Linked In, and much more. Therefore take a little time and think about your target market, and where would they be looking for you. Choose wisely and encourage engagement, share your message, giveaways are always fun (but be very strategic), and share your goals, and your products or services! Don’t be scared to share your values if you volunteer or support a charity.
A little disclaimer – don’t fall into the trap of just getting more followers. It’s not about a million or 5 million followers (although it sounds cool for sure) but it’s about those that truly support, read your content, and become clients in the end!
Would you like 3000 followers on Facebook that snooze your page and will never see the value of your product or 30 active potential clients?
2. Call or e-mail your friends and family.
Yes. I said it. Email your uncle, aunt, and even long-lost cousins. This will not only help you tailor your message, and see what will work best, but also build confidence to reach out and hear the “NO, thank you” or “YES, I didn’t know you do that now!” and everything else in between. You can ask them for purchases but also you can ask them to share on their social media, and pass your number to their friends. You can even ask if they know how to promote your business in the community for free and see what ideas you will get. Go with your gut, yet that’s how you can find out about some interesting organizations in your neighborhood to reach out to. Even ask -How can I promote my business online for free, where to advertise my business or do you know low-cost ways to promote it? A client of mine reached out to her church and together they organized arts and crafts fair – she was very happy and feeling the support of the community boosted her self-esteem tremendously. Another key element is to ask for feedback – why do you like or don’t like my business idea, what would make it sound better, do you see the value in my offer? If I added an additional product or worded it differently – would you purchase it?
With asking friends and family here is a quick disclaimer – ask for feedback but also remember that not everyone is your target market and even if well intended, their feedback might be irrelevant. The amazing moment is when you realize that your friends actually help you promote your business.
3. Join a meetup or networking group.
Ideally all of the above – after all, you need to share your message, tailor it based on the feedback, and learn how to alter it based on who you are talking to. Yes – the same product or service can have different benefits to different groups of people, and you need to learn it and embrace it. Learning how to promote your business is a constant job for any business owner.
Most popular might be a chamber of commerce or rotary club. If you never heard of meetup -you can join a group with similar goals like business, marketing, or hobbies. I attended a few painting meetups, hikes, photography groups, and web design meetups and loved it!
An amazing bonus for me of joining the web design meetup, and not to get clients, but to meet people that also work from home, deal with clients, figure out ways to promote their businesses, and together we could share ideas, learn from each other and even schedule co-working sessions.
4. Press release.
I know your dream of being on Oprah’s with an amazing product, and getting millions of phone calls from excited clients. Look for media outlets that could work best for your business and help you promote your business and mission. This is much harder than other ways to promote your business, but still worth it for many.
5. Referral program.
Creating a referral program for either leads, discounts, or extended free trial is a great idea for many products and service-oriented businesses. Remember when Dropbox offered you more storage for referring a friend? YES, we all used it, and happily asked many friends to join. Remember when PayPal offered a free money-sending option for friends and family? Many apps are using this form, even investing apps by offering you free stocks for each friend that joins.
What referral program do you or will you offer?
Bonus ways to promote your small business:
Bonus 1: Become a guest author.
This is a great idea if you want to become an authority in your niche and write guest blog posts/articles. As an example, I started a new magazine for women- FemmeBlossom, out of the need for a community of women supporting each other and lifting each other out. In there I write about running a business, finding your definition of success, and much more. Other women write about goal setting, motivation, and manifestation.
Bonus 2: Start a coworking club.
This is a great way for people that work from home to expand their network, become a little bit social, and share leads or some ideas with other people working from home. I value those meetings, especially as after a while working by yourself, for yourself, alone… gets a bit lonely!
Bonus 3: Appear on a podcast.
“As of June 2022, there are over 2.4 million podcasts with over 66 million episodes between them.” Therefore becoming a podcast guest, if you have a great voice and tailor your message might be an amazing way to spread awareness about your brand, promote your business and bring followers to your social media or website.
“According to estimates, there could be over 100 million podcast listeners in the United States by 2024, up from 75.9 million in 2020. Podcasts have grown increasingly popular in recent years, and are used by consumers for both entertainment and educational purposes, as well as for branding and raising awareness of key issues in society. Statista’s Advertising and Media Outlook offers forecasts, detailed market insights and essential performance indicators of the most significant areas in both industries, including various digital goods and services. Alongside revenue forecasts for 50 countries worldwide, Statista offers additional insights into consumer trends and demographic structure of digital consumer markets.”
Let me know what you think in the comments! Which ideas do you like best?