Always have business cards handy. Don’t walk out the door without your business cards – you never know when you’ll bump into someone who could use your help… or who you’ll hit it off with! Keep them close by. I keep some in my wallet and in my vehicle.
Attend free events. Check out any local opportunities to meet new people. Search for groups that discuss topics of interest to you, weekly networking events, book clubs, etc. Any chance to meet interesting people in your field (and even outside of it) and again, hand out your business cards is a good thing. You can search via social media accounts and your local cities business event website.
Volunteer. No matter how little time you think you have, there’s always time to give. Believe it! Offering to share your knowledge, products or services with others that need or crave it is an opportunity to grow – as a person and a business. That’s called Public Relations. Maybe even a small free class to introduce people to your business.
Become a public speaking warrior. You have a room full of people that have to listen to what you’re saying. Practice makes perfect. Try this out on some of your friends to get their feedback. You need to be confident in what you are presenting to a client.
Utilize your print collateral. If you’re already handing out products to your customers, make good use of the space. Include your website and social URLs, QR codes or promo details on menus, coasters, stickers, pens, etc. These could be given out at a local event or even business events.
Cold calling. Yes, we know, nobody likes cold calling (at least most people don’t look forward to it). Suck it up! No amount of marketing will replace sales, so if you’re serious about building your business, this is not a piece of marketing advice to take lightly. You will be surprised how many clients you gain for doing this.
Claim your online listings. This is a quick and easy way to solidify your online presence. Just by claiming your business on review sites and Google Places, for example, you’re letting people know where you’re located and that, yes, you’re actually a real business. Sometimes you will receive offers for paid marketing that is an actually good deal like spend $25 and get $100.
Optimize your website. SEO is a very powerful element of your online marketing strategy. If you want to attract more quality leads to your website and build a strong, prosperous, interesting presence, this should be high on your priority list. You want to keep your website updated often because this helps your website to stay ranking higher on search engines.
Start a blog. And don’t just start one – stay committed for at least 12 months so to give yourself a chance to see results. This is a long-term activity that deserves attention and dedication. Invite readers to comment on your posts, and reach out to fellow bloggers to contribute to your blog in the form of guest posts. This will benefit them and also provide your blog with more substance and diversity. I would dedicate a day of blogging. Preplan your posts and have them ready to post or schedule them to post in advance.
Comment on others’ blogs. Get your name out there even more by offering to guest post on others’ blogs. You can reach out by email, website forms or phone and just ask. Make sure you already have a couple topics in mind, and that you’ve done your homework, beforehand. You want to offer their blog substance and value, so choose a topic that would blend nicely with the rest of their content.
Join a forum. Find a local forum community that relates to your brand or business. This is a great and free way to market yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field, as well as to connect with others who may be able to help your business grow. Forums are great for a small business.
Write and submit press releases. What’s going on internally at your company that would benefit the public? Think: new products and services, volunteerism, charitable donations, local events, etc. You can transform internal news into external publicity by getting your press releases published and distributed online.
Develop a presence on social media networks. Get your brand on Facebook, Pinterest and/or Twitter – and stay up-to-date on new trends and changes. This is a free marketing opportunity that you need to consider, because it’s a fantastic way to tap into the largest source of new customers. Business suite is facebook's newest business page management tool. It will allow you to post on facebook and instagram at the same time to save time. You can also schedule future posts to post automatically so it will save you time.
Publish videos. This is another great way to present yourself (and your brand) as a valuable resource to the community. If you have a smartphone, you can shoot short, simple videos that cover a specific topic of interest. Do you have something to say? Surely you do – whether it’s about what’s happening at your company, in your industry, in the news or new products/services you may have added to your business. Be creative! People like creativity!