Promote your Business

Open Your Doors and Start
You should have now been through all the various processes to bring your business to a stage where you can open the doors (at home) and start. It’s time to start telling the world about your business venture by using promotion.

The Purpose and Use of Promotion
Many people have the wrong idea about Promotion.

It has been said that – “Contrary to popular belief, if you build a better mousetrap, the world will not necessarily beat a path to your door”.

"Send out a press release to your local newspaper and radio station ..."
Even though you were based from home there is no reason why that should stop you promoting your business in the normal way.

Regardless of how unique or great your product is, a customer is not going to be motivated to buy until he/she has been informed of its availability and its features.

This is done using promotional tools that the business owner must take responsibility for and learn about, if he/she is to inform potential consumers.

Some promotional tools include the following:

  1. Publicity – This is usually known as free advertising and involves the stimulation of the awareness and interest in your products through mass media. It can involve press releases, news items, announcements, presentations at seminars, writing of articles, etc.

  2. Advertising – This is paid, or non-personal communication, usually directed to a mass audience. It includes radio, television, magazines, billboards, direct mail, newspapers, etc.

  3. Sales promotion. – This is a short-term inducement to stimulate traffic and includes: coupons, point of sale displays, free gifts, sweepstakes and other types of sales promotions.

  4. Personal selling. – This includes direct, oral presentation to prospective customers who you are targeting to buy your products and services. Personal selling is very useful for closing the sale after advertising has made the customer aware of your products and services.

9 Ways to Promote Without Spending a Fortune
The following are suggested strategies to help promote your business without having to spend a lot of money.

  1. Get your business card into as many hands as possible. Your business card is one of the best low cost promotion tools you will ever have. Pass them out to friends, associates and relatives, and inform them that you have started in business and that they should let others know as well. Wherever you go, leave a stack of business cards and encourage the proprietor of the establishment to hand them out to their customers and friends - they may be interested in the services or price you are offering.

  2. Send out promotion on your letterhead. This informs potential customers that you are open for business, and sets out clearly the products and services you have to offer. When printing your letterheads, ask the printer to produce an extra few thousand to use for marketing purposes. The cost of the extra print will be minimal, so the basic outlay for this promotion is very low. It can look attractive because the logo on the letterhead and the colours used produce a nice image.

  3. Let all your suppliers know. See your suppliers and when opening an account ask if they would mind handing out your business cards. You will find that in many supermarkets there is a board on which people advertise their products and service, so take advantage of that.

  4. Send out a press release to your local newspapers and radio stations and make a point of packaging your products and services in such a way to publicise a particular angle. You need to ensure there is something "newsy" or interesting in your press release, otherwise it will look like advertising material. If you want to increase your chance of having your material published, enclose a photograph with your press release. Make sure it comes up with a particular angle or some point of difference, making the news item of interest. If you are experienced in a particular field, present articles to your local paper or magazines establishing you as a specialist in that area and this is a great way of publicising your business.

  5. Make sure you network with others associated with your industry. This is a great way of getting business and of making contacts, which will be invaluable along the way, as your business starts to grow.

  6. Send out a promotion sales letter to anyone you think may use your services or products. Make sure you write the sales letter in such a way that is non-threatening, and that it appears more as an introduction rather than a hard sell. You can also supply some samples of your products where possible and enclose a feedback sheet inviting comment on the product they are sampling.

  7. If you use the Internet, make sure you link into the online forums and participate in discussion groups or similar venues (but be careful not to spam). If you don’t have a web site, then you should seriously consider putting up a site advertising your business.

  8. Make sure you ask for referrals from current customers, as well as acquaintances and associates you are in contact with.
    If you are the type of person who does not mind making telephone calls, make cold calls to sell your products or introduce your business. Make sure you describe what you do and if possible ask for an appointment to discuss your products further.

  9. Have advertising painted on your vehicles. This is a low cost way of advertising your business. If you don’t want to pay the cost of painting your business name and details on the vehicle, enquire about magnetic signs. These signs can easily be removed and placed on any vehicle.