When it comes to marketing, you may be concerned about the cost and time involved. If you have no background in research or advertising, the marketing process can be downright intimidating.
These online resources will help you significantly increase awareness of your business and boost your bottom line too.
I often urge my clients to publicize their accomplishments whenever they can through a press release. Some excellent reasons to issue a press release include your grand opening, a new hire, a product launch, a website redesign or an industry award.
If you don’t have a writer on staff, you can find free templates, writing tips, and submission guidelines online so you can do it yourself.
Express-Press-Release.net, NewswireToday.com, PR.com, PRLog.org, and PRurgent.com are good places to start. Consider incorporating a high-resolution picture on your press release, so your news will show up in image searches, too.
And while these distribution channels have a worldwide reach, take the time to email your press release to local media such as the Central Valley Business Journal where it will have a greater chance of being picked up.
Guest blogging, speaking
You’ve learned a lot as a business leader. Why not share your experiences with others through articles and speaking engagements?
Tailor your content to your audience. Write a column for your college’s alumni magazine, detailing how your schooling has influenced your business. If you’re speaking to a room full of fellow entrepreneurs, talk about how you secured financing, or the challenges of bringing a new product to market.
You can find writing and speaking opportunities through Eventbrite.com and EventsInAmerica.com. A thoughtful presentation may turn audience members into customers.
Connect with a cause
Is your business expertise a good fit for a charity event, local board, or nonprofit? Get involved!
There are plenty of great local non-profits. The partners at my firm, Port City Marketing take pride in participating on the boards of United Cerebral Palsy, Child Abuse Prevention Council, Pacific Athletic Foundation and the Leadership Stockton Alumni Association among other non-profits and volunteer opportunities.
To connect with a cause, try Idealist.org, NetworkForGood.org, or VolunteerMatch.org. These sites list civic commitments in your community and beyond, including ones that you can do from your computer such as grant writing or mentoring.
Not only will the less fortunate benefit from your efforts, but other volunteers will get to witness your skills firsthand, which may lead to business opportunities down the road.
Recent research conducted by LinkedIn indicates that 81 percent of small and medium-sized businesses use social media.
Clearly, many companies have Facebook pages and Twitter feeds. But if you want your social media properties to be robust marketing tools, you can’t just set them up and walk away.
First, decide which platforms are the best fits for your company. The Pew Research Center’s Social Media Update provides demographics and usage figures for Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter. They can be found at PewInternet.org.
Experienced social media managers recommend that you begin with one or two platforms and then set aside time every day to engage meaningfully with consumers and influencers. For example, acknowledge praise and suggestions, respond promptly to questions, share company updates and post special offers that are only redeemable by your fans and followers.
To save time and be more productive, use monitoring services like HootSuite or Sprout Social to schedule posts and analyze your social ROI.
Partner with another business
Is there another company that could complement your offerings, and vice versa? Approach its management with a proposal, starting out as a short-term plan that can grow into a permanent arrangement.
For example, a homebuilder wants to offer maintenance and fix-it services to his homeowners. As a tradesman, you can provide those services. So while the homebuilder takes a commission, you gain more customers and a steady income.
To identify possible partners, join your local chamber of commerce and meet with members. Or cast a wider net and join industry networking groups on LinkedIn and Meetup.com.
There are many tools both online and off to help you market your business. Even better, all of these tools are free and will grow your brand awareness exponentially.
Dan Natividad, a Stockton native, is a partner at Port City Marketing Solutions along with Kristen Dyke and Erin Diego. Dan can be reached at [email protected].