Marketing your product
There has never been a better time to market a new small business. The Internet, especially blogs and social media platforms, makes it easy and cheap to spread the word about your business, no matter what industry you’re in.
To get your online marketing started, set up a website, a blog and social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Potential customers aren’t going to find you online and off unless you tell them about it. So you should use a strategic mix of traditional and digital marketing ploys to launch your business.
Use a mix of digital and traditional media
It is important that it’s easy for others to find you – both online and offline. You should use a strategic mix of traditional and digital marketing to get your message and brand out there.
Here’s an example of a simple but effective ‘mix’ to drive traffic to your website/door/phone:
- Yellow pages ad with contact details and website
- Trade magazine listing with contact details and website
- Online directory with link to your website and phone number
- Business cards at local cafés
- Flyer on the notice board of your local supermarket, with discount offer if possible
- Press kit announcing your product
- Press ad, with a ‘freebie’ for the first 20 callers
Start with the 3 marketing ‘musts’
- Business cards make you look professional and are also a powerful low-cost marketing tool. Use the space on your card for:
- Your business name and logo
- Slogan (or tagline)
- Contact details, including website address
- Get your business card out there
- Tell everyone you know that you’ve started a business and give them a card
- Give your cards to friends and ask them to kindly pass onto their friends, family and colleagues
- Give cards to everyone you meet at parties, the playground, playdates, BBQs and sports functions
- Ask your vendors and suppliers to display your people’s cards at their counter, reception or notice board
Don’t make a big deal about it. Just wait for a good time in the conversation to say something along the lines of: “I’ve started a new business. Here’s my card. Please give me a call if you’d like to see my new fully automated child cleaning machine in action.”
- Set up your business website
It takes time, but it’s not difficult to do if you follow our simple steps for
20 Tried and proven methods to market a business on a budget
Pick and choose a selection to fit your business, budget and your marketing plan. Stage your marketing over set periods of time so you can gauge and respond to demand and test what’s working best for you.
- Network at events. Networking can work wonders to get a small business booming.
- Join business groups in your industry. Until you have spare time, don’t get involved in activities that sap your energy. Make real contributions, such as ideas. Selectively offer support that helps your business, i.e. showcases your products.
- Put the media spotlight on your unique selling point(s). Send press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, cable TV stations, or magazines seen by your target market. Search publication websites for editors’ and journalists’ names and addresses and email addresses. Or ring and ask their receptionist.
- Email your press kit with a covering letter
- Include a photo or two. Editors love good quality content!
- Also send your press kit snail mail with the files on a flash drive or disc, plus a printout
- Where possible, follow up with a courtesy phone call. Ask if they received your press kit and would they like to know more or get a quote? You can ask if they’re going to publish but don’t be pushy. If it’s not being published, ask what they would like in the way of content.
- Write an article showcasing your expertise and ask relevant media outlets if they’ll publish it. If you’re not much of a writer, enlist the help of someone who is. Put your name, business name, reference to your product or service, phone number and website address at the end of the article. You may get a byline (your name) and possibly your phone number or domain name printed, too.
- Keep copies of published articles, including those online. They’re outstanding marketing material.
- Stick them on your website and social media
- Send them out with a business card and flyer in mailbox drops
- Email to existing and prospective customers, suppliers and vendors
- Frame the best ones and put them on the wall
- Contact nonprofit organisations, schools and colleges, and even other businesses that may have databases of people that could be your customers. Put an ad in their publications. Sponsor one of their events. Offer to do something useful for them in return for leads.
- Offer your services to others doing similar work. Let them know you can handle their overloads. But don’t try to steal their customers. Bad karma!
- Put your hand up to be a speaker on your specialist subject. Volunteer and charity organisations, libraries and online forums often need speakers for their events. You may even get paid, while raising your profile and building customer base.
- Demonstrate your product or service. There are various opportunities for showing off your business – from trade shows and charity events to school gala days and industry conferences.
- Research state and local government services and support for small business. You might discover some great benefits.
- Send sales letters to prospective customers. If you have press clippings, include these, plus a flyer or brochure. Include a special offer, such as a discount, if they contact you by a specific date.
- Get your vehicle professionally painted with your logo, business name, website and phone number. Use magnetic signs if you don’t want your car painted.
- Make “cold calls.” These are calls to people who you would like to do business with. Briefly describe what you do and ask for an appointment to see them and show what you can do.
- Give away samples or discount vouchers for your product or service. Choose your venues and target markets carefully.
- Offer free consultations to key prospects. Make practical suggestions or ideas and before you leave ask for an “order” to implement the ideas.
- Ask for business. Learn to ask existing customers, prospects and casual acquaintances for referrals.
- Use reps to sell your product or service. Look for agents or representatives that can pitch your product or service. Factor their commissions into your costing.
- Run a contest. The prize could be your product or service, or something related to it. Start with your local newspaper and ask them to do a profile piece on you in return.
- Take every opportunity to get free ads, or to have your business listed free of charge in a directory.
- Get busy on online forums and blogs. This is a big subject so we’ve devoted a whole page to Social Media for Business.
Above all, be passionate and positive and proud of your offering. Enthusiasm is contagious!