One of the challenges most startups face is how to go about promoting their new business. Sometimes, low patronage can drive you nuts and even make you wonder if starting your own business was a right choice.
You worked so hard to think, plan and finally you’ve setup your new business only to realize that business is just too boring, because you’re just another new guy and people are still wondering if it’s okay to do business with you or not. How do you promote this new business and start recording high and profitable sales?
Advertisement is necessary if any business is to thrive. For big brands and multinationals, effective advert campaigns is required in order to make huge sales. These include paying for premium adverts on billboards, TV, radio, newspapers and magazines, websites etc. But unfortunately, most startup entrepreneurs do not have such huge amount of money to throw into adverts.
In this post, I will explain six highly effective and affordable advertisement strategies that can help you get your new business thriving out there. These methods worked for me and I think it’s necessary that every small business owner know about them. Here they are:
1. Be extremely good
Whether you’re into designs, printing, photography, dry cleaning, editing, barbing, consultancy, special coaching etc. being good at what you do is a sure way to advertise your business. While you’re thinking of packaging to look attractive, also think of how to keep your customers happy and satisfied.
Happy and satisfied customers are bound to return over and again and will refer you to others. If you are a barber for instance and you do not know how to deliver a clean haircut, no matter the sophistication of your shop, customers who try you once are most likely not to return or refer their friends to you. A good product, sells itself.
2. Talk about it
It’s okay for entrepreneurs to have a little big mouth. Talk about your business. You are the highest rep and ambassador of your brand, so people should hear about it from you. Are you a shy entrepreneur? Common! Come of it. You need to be bold and courageous to survive at doing business.
When I started Ogamars Brand, I was so shy and kept to myself. Just few people knew what I was into and it didn’t go down well for me. I let loud-mouthed competitors, whom I was far better than; steal jobs from me because I couldn’t assert myself to let people know what I could do. It is costly to be shy, especially when you are an entrepreneur. I was shy, and I learnt my lesson the hard way.
If you are a shy entrepreneur like I was, there is a way out. While you’re working towards breaking free from shyness, find someone who is an extrovert and bold. Make them your partner. Offer them commissions for sales that come as a result of their advertisement efforts.
However, this strategy has some limitations to it. It will make you highly dependent on that partner that when they don’t make any effort, your business sits idle. And again, as the owner of the business, there are some sales pitches you will be in a better position to deliver yourself. So fight shyness anyway.
Word of mouth is one of the cheapest ways to make your business go viral. Talk to friends, families, friends of friends, colleagues, strangers etc. You may also consider joining online forums and through that medium, talk about your business.
Print attractive business cards and carry them with you wherever you go; parties, church, seminars, meetings, market etc. Handout your business cards and talk about your business all the time.
3. Stay alive on social media
Entrepreneurs are like goldfish, they cannot hide. Anywhere they go, you can easily spot them and when they find themselves in the midst of people, they start marketing their brands.
With over three billion active users worldwide, the social media is a veritable platform to advertise your new business, but unfortunately, most entrepreneurs have not learnt how to use the social media to their advantage.
Design captivating posters of your services, create interesting posts around what you do and have them shared across your social media platforms. This way, you can’t tell who will call you for a job or refer you to others. Don’t fail to setup a Facebook page for your new brand, it works like magic. Other platforms to work on include YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google+ etc.
Read: How you are not using the social media to your advantage
4. Share your knowledge
This is another effective advertisement strategy that will work for you. Sharing useful information from time to time positions you as an expert in your chosen field and it not only tells people what you do. It also tells them you’re good at it. The knowledge you share can be in the form of useful advice, tips, tutorials, facts etc. You can have these delivered to potential customers on their phones via SMS, emails, on their social media timelines, word of mouth etc.
If you are into barbing for example, you can start off by sharing ‘tips on how to cure bumps,’ ‘how to avoid rashes after shaving’ etc. When people know you for delivering quality advice, they will feel comfortable to patronize you in the same niche you advise them on.
5. Do something for free
Starting up, you may have to render some services or give out some products for free. It is another way of showing people what you can do. This is more effective than word of mouth because here, you are not just telling them you can do something, but you are showing them what you have done.
When I started my Branding Agency, I made free copies (50 pieces) of business cards for some of my friends and other businesses. They were so happy for the free gift and were more than willing to let me handle other designs and print tasks for them; letterheads, invoices, receipts, flyers etc. When the free business cards got exhausted, they paid me for a reprint.
This strategy works for any kind of business. Let’s say you just started your events management business, you can offer to help a friend organize their small birthday party on the condition that they will announce your business at the event. Have your business card in hand and attend in grand style. You will be surprised to see people clamouring to get your contact. This is a guarantee that you will always be in business.
You can also offer to share cost with the beneficiary where much money is involved. This way, they will only be required to pay for half the cost of the product or service. Everyone likes to repay favour done to them. The beneficiaries of your ‘for free promotion’, in a bid to return the favour, will give you more profitable jobs and refer you to their friends.
Finding the right partner may be the right advertisement strategy just for you. In this symbiotic relationship, both parties are beneficiaries. This kind of relationship can be found between a cloth material merchant and a tailor. If you bought some fabric from the merchant and needed to sew it, the merchant would refer you to the tailor. And if you were sewing a cloth and needed a cloth material, the tailor would refer you to the merchant. This way, business will be good and everyone will be happy
The same partnership can also be fostered between the tailor and a dry-cleaner. Here, the tailor would refer to the dry-cleaner clients who after sewing, want to have their clothes washed, and the dry cleaner will refer customers who want to make new clothes to the tailor.
However, you need to be careful when forming partnerships. You need to be careful not to partner with your competitor lest they put you out of business. For instance, it is unlikely that a graphic designer and a web designer would partner, since their jobs interrelate. Most graphic designers are web designers, vice versa, except where you’re sure the other party cannot do what you do.
In a nut shell, you need to be good at what you do. Then tell people about your business and don’t forget to use social media to your advantage. Also, let people see you’re an expert by sharing useful knowledge. Do some things free of charge and go into an effective partnership.
This is a sure way to win. It worked for me, so it can work for you.
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