When you've just set yourself up as a dentist, for example, your initial outlay for office space, equipment, supplies, and staff has probably left you with very little of your business loan left over for investing in advertising. And yet, advertising is critical to the health of a business, especially one that's just getting to its feet. Therefore if you want to stay afloat in your first few months and years, you'll have to make use of as many free and low cost advertising opportunities as possible. Here are some ideas.
When you own your own business, it's essential that you have a web presence if you want today's tech savvy people to be able to find you. Create a page for your business on Facebook. Get free space for a website on sites like Wordpress or Blogger. Post ads on internet classifieds sites like Craigslist and Kijiji. You can even sell some products through sites like Ebay to promote yourself. Once you have a web presence, you can increase its reach by sharing links with other blogs, posting comments on forums and in blogs, and registering your site with search engines like Bing and Google.
Word of Mouth
Mobilize everyone you know to promote your business to their family, friends, and neighbours. Chances are someone you know knows someone who needs what you're offering. Ask existing customers to refer family and friends if they're pleased with your service. You might even offer a discount or incentive for this. Get involved with a community groups and mention to the other members that you have a new business and ask for their support in the community. Every little bit helps.
Service businesses do especially well with referral sales. Ben Rotondi, HouseMaster franchisee in New York says that a significant share of his new clients comes from friends and family of those who have used his home inspection services in the past.
Networking with other business owners and members of the community is a great way to get the word out about your business. Register with the Better Business Bureau and join your local Chamber of Commerce. Attend business lunches and lectures. Talk to people. You never know who might need your product or service - it could be a private customer but it could also be another business. Attend all community events and festivals to meet people and promote your business.
If you have a type of business which requires office space, make use of that space not just for housing your business but also for advertising it. Create an eye catching display in the window of your shop to attract people who are walking by on the sidewalk. Stand outside with samples of your food products to attract people with the sight and smell of them. Post signs in the window announcing your sales and any special items you have in stock that people might not know about. You can even use decals on your vehicle to advertise your business.