Yes Anthony, There are a lot of small businesses and small business owners in this forum.
I am an accountant who also does Quickbooks.
For us to answer your question about advertising, you need to share more info.
I can't speak to the first part of your question but I can give you some general tips for the second part.
The equivalent of "world of mouth advertising" online is of course social media - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
I see you posted in the sales and marketing forum as well so I'll leave a reply there too, but one way to get in front of small business owners would be to reach out to SEO companies. In the interest of full disclosure, I own my own SEO company so I can assure you companies like us are a treasure trove of opportunities for graphic designers, web designers, developers, etc. I'll give you more ideas in the sales and marketing forum on this.
Travis Van Slooten
I think we would all agree that starting up takes a lot of time and energy on the business owner's part. Ideally we would have a great idea for a business, create the space (either virtual or physical), fill our shop with our products, open our doors and buyers would flock in.
Now we all know that is a 'pie in the sky' dream. And I think we would all stand and cheer if someone would come up with an advertising idea that would fit all our situations, but we know that won't happen either.
So back to reality. Do you have a webpage or blog? Do you have a presence on Facebook and some of the other social media spots?
Get a friend that will give you an honest response and ask them to look at your online presence. Does it clearly show what your product(s) are? Or is it filled with words? Do you offer coupons to get first time buyers the nudge to shop with you?
Get a customer who is pleased with your products and customer service to write a review for you to post. You might even ask for others to give a review and offer a small % off their next order.
I'll end all this with one of my pet peeves: visit your online presence (whatever it is) and determine when the last time you updated it. People will not continue to visit you if everything is as it was the last time they visited.
It takes some work to compete online but it is gratifying to know that you can create this spot online and people will visit and continue to return.
We welcome your posts and comments to help others who visit here. Your best efforts (or the ones that haven't worked as well will help others who are in the spot you are in now. So stick around and join in on the discussions that interest you.
I am a small business owner and photographer. You said freelance graphic design, who is your target client? Design is a pretty broad category. Once you know who you want to work for it becomes a bit easier to figure out how to work for them. Facebook is definitely the best way to get free word of mouth online. There are many networking groups for every profession, small business groups, the list goes on. Offer some free work to a friend and get them to help spread the word.
Yes, there are a lot of small business owners here. The social networks can be used as an effective tool to take your art out there.
Yep, I'm another small business - I am a bookkeeper specializing in QuickBooks. Getting involved with local networking groups as well as being involved with online social groups IN MY TARGET MARKET has helped me considerably. The key is that I know who I am targeting and focus my time/attention on them specifically, instead of 'scatter-shot' marketing.
The Virtual Office Goddess, LLC
So how is it going Grafikrtist? Have you made any progressin in marketing yourself?
Great question Berta
In your own life if you are faced with a decision or have a problem,
do you ever ask for the input, opinion or advice of more than one person?
The majority of people value suggestions from a couple of perspectives and this
small business community gives good advice.
It depends on your interest.Let see tghe scope of business type field.You can prefer social media or stock marketing