Welcome, There are so many ways to answer your question.
A little more background would help.
How long have you been in this business??
Is this YOUR full time business??
Do you have a Business Plan??
Do you have an advertising budget??
Three quick answers come to mind.
One: Public Speaking.
Two: Support a CAUSE or a Charity.
Three: Contact your local T V station or Newspaper and tell them about One and Two.
With luck, they might cover your speech and do an article or story about you and your business.
Good luck, LUCKIEST
I agree with LUCKIEST. Provide more details about your business. Also, look into your target customer base and find places they would visit. Just dropping the name of your business at random places will not help you reach the target customers.
Do you have a website for your business that you can market on-line? Use the internet. It is a very powerful tool to reach many at one time. Do you have a yellow pages ad?
I also agree with Luckiest and AngelBiz, it would be more help if we knew what kind of a business we are talking about.
The best way I've found is networking. Face to Face is great. Just make sure to focus on creating relationships BEFORE you try to sell anyone anything. Good Luck! Here in Houston I'm a member of Texas Community Referral Network http://www.txcrn.com
I am not sure what your business cards look like, but maybe add some pictures off your Items on them and make a few flyers just to entice people to come and look more. Flyers can be left on car windows with the business cards. I know it sounds old fashioned but we had some luck with it here.
Hi Netteboo1 and welcome. Like you, all of us here have a business that is growing and the need to advertise. If I had a little more information about what it is that you do, it might be a little easier to make more "specific" suggestions of what might help. You mentioned that you have a "catalog" which makes me think that you are selling a particular product. Most service companies don't have a catalog...so to speak, so that is what I am going to work with.
When you have a specific product to sell, you have to first start with determining who your customers really are. You are right in that catalogs are expensive and you don't want to just leave them laying around. Most "catalogs" or "brochures", for that matter, that are left out at gas stations and corner stores never make it to the end user. Yes, I know that sounds like a formidable statement, but it is, nonetheless, true. Most people pick up a catalog or brochure, put in on the seat of their car, and that's the last time they look at it. Studies prove that over 80% of the literature that gets left out "free" for the taking becomes nothing more than trash.
A smarter way to market your goods is to offer the catalog "free" by "subscribing" to your website. In other words, the customer must fill out a form that provides their email address, location, age, phone number, etc,(whatever information will help you the most, depending on your product)...in order to receive the free catalog. So, at least you are receiving useful information in trade for the convenience of your catalog. Even though you will have the added postage expense for mailing out the catalog, you will know that your information is going to someone who is, at least, interested! This increases the chances of you making a sale by orders of magnitude. It also provides you with a good, basic list of email addresses which you can use to start an email campaign. Be sure to have a "subscribe to" or "sign up" area on your website (above the fold and visible to all viewers). Make mention of your "free" catalog throughout your website and point the viewers back to the sign up form throughout your site.
So, you know you need to get qualified buyers by trading information for a catalog, but in order for that to work, you must get the customers to your website or some other place in order to ask them for their information! Start with your website. Make certain that you have a good analytics program. Google Analytics is the obvious "free" option, but there are many others out there in free or premium editions. Choose one and make it work for you. Determine what keywords are best for you. As I have mentioned in other posts, use your competitors websites to determine what works and what doesn't! That information is "free" for the taking and can save you countless dollars and hours by not making the same mistakes your competitors made. If the keywords for your product are out of range either financially or just because they are "over-used", try using "long tail keywords" or phrases to get your customer's attention. Put yourself in your customers position and type into a search engine the first thing that comes to mind if you wanted to locate your product. Long tail keywords are much more specific. Even though they will provide less activity, the activity they do provide will be much more qualified than the short one or two-word keywords that are much more competitive.
Lastly, social networking is free and is the fastest way to grow your customer base. One share on Facebook by someone that really likes your product can produce as many as 2,500 views of your page by that one person starting the domino effect of friends seeing friends' pages! Remember that when you post on your timeline, that post is hopefully going to be passed along to your friends and their friends. Make your post or presentation "likeable" by a wide variety of people and don't single anyone out at first! Be general and simply target an audience that likes your type of product. Don't reduce your audience by marketing only to a certain crowd. Market to the masses and let them single themselves out. Once you find out who your buyers are, you can market to them directly and increase your sales even more.
Make sure to make use of as many social networking sites as possible. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn are the obvious top contenders, but there are many more depending on what your product is. Do your research and use what is available to you to your best advantage.
Hope these tips prove helpful to you! Be sure to let us know how you are doing. Also, make sure to give us your opinions of the social networking sites that you use so that someone else might benefit from your work too. Forums such as this one are great, but they are only as helpful as the users make them. Sharing what you learn will help make this forum even better.
Regards and best wishes to your success,
-Denise Blackman, Fendermender
LDJ Auto Body, Gibsonton, FL
Would you consider another attack plan, nettieboo1? I know you want to be more visible to to the public and by doing that, bring in more customers/sales, so why not reach out to the community in other ways?
-sponsor a youth team (softball, baseball, gymnastics) or offer to assist in some way to Girl and Boy Scout troops
-host a holiday Open House, with some lower prices items to draw interest
-sponsor some children/youth to go to summer camp
-support youth art projects
-offer your help at a Thanksgiving (or Christmas) meal in one of your town's homeless centers
I know that once you start thinking about how to reach out, your list will grow and grow. With the schools having to cut back on their programs, this is a good place to step in and offer some assistance. Parents would quickly notice your help - and that would offer you the chance to get your catalogs in their hands.
I agree with Moderator Cath. Good PR will make the difference. Community involvement brings good PR. My business helps business owners with developing good PR by using Loyalty Marketing.
Try an instagram account with pictures of new arrivals and things like that
jj - that's another really good idea! Instagram is yet another social media up and coming force.
How would you promote your Instagram account so others would find it and see your promotions?
I recently helped a friend out with this. Basically you need to portray an image that will catch peoples eyes. Hire a professional to take crazy pictures or take them yourself. Also post at prime time (morning before people go to work/school, right when peole get home from work/school, right before people go to sleep) so its at the top of their feed and their still paying attention
Great idea jj specially the posting at night, I know if I see something funny or funky at night it usually is still on my mind in the morning when waking up. While items you see during the day are usually forgotten or pushed aside by something else you see.
While there are many strategies for developing traffic, most experts agree that SEO, back links and content are the important tactics among all. Social bookmarking sites is another good way to promote your business on the web. If you have funds, try pay-per-click program.
Hi Transcribe. It has been my experience that many pay-per-click programs just produce a lot of unwanted spam in your business email box. Granted, I am going back some 10 years now. Maybe they have come up with a way to filter spam or it could have been that I wasn't with a very good service. What has been your experience with this type of marketing? Can you recommend a reputable program?
Hi Melinda. I just saw your comment to Transcribe and wanted to just throw in my "2 cents" regarding pay-per-click programs. I agree with you that pay-per-click can be a "spam magnet" if you advertise with a smaller program that does not have the funding of the big guys to filter out the spammers. But, Google Adwords, although a little pricey, has always been our fallback for when things get really slow.
We keep our Google Adwords account in a constant "stand-by" situation. In other words, it is always ready to be turned on, but we do not use it regularly. This way, when we run into a slow period, for whatever the reason may be, we can simply flip the switch on our Adwords account and it's a pretty "sure fire" way of getting some additional calls. I wouldn't recommend doing this until you have taken the time to configure your Adwords account and have determined which ads work best for your situation. As I said, from a price standpoint, Adwords CAN be a little pricey. But, for the most part, we are not bothered by spam when we switch the account on (Google is very good about filtering spam and you are not charged for blatant "spam" attacks...a very comforting thought when you're talking about anywhere from $1.00 to $5.00 per click!).
Sorry to jump in on an already established conversation, but thought it was worth commenting. If you haven't used Google Adwords or any other pay-per-click programs recently, then it is definitely worth taking a look to see what's available to you. Again, I can only speak for Google's Adwords as we don't really use any other programs. Again, I want to reiterate that we only activate the account when the lack of calls from our other advertising campaigns warrants flipping the switch. In those cases, it's a matter of just needing the phone to ring and making the best out of what comes through, but it beats no calls at all!
Hope this helps some of you that might be thinking about using pay-per-click or those that are wanting to either increase Google ranking or are in need of some "instant" exposure. For these things, I highly recommend using Adwords to "fill in the gaps".
Merry Christmas everybody and best wishes for a very prosperous 2014!
Denise Blackman, Owner / Manager LDJ Auto Body & Collision, Gibsonton, FL
Thank you for jumping into the conversation, Fendermender. Opinions and experiences are always welcome. That is exactly what this forum is about!
I think your idea of activating your adwords account when you most need it is very smart business. I know that many people complain of how expensive the service can be. With your idea, you get the most bang for your buck.
Hi Melinda and thanks for the compliment. I don't know how much experience everyone here has with Adwords, but you are right in that using it on a regular basis would be cost prohibitive to most small businesses. But, the fact remains that the same people who run Adwords also run the largest search engine on the net...our dear friends at Google! So, when you run an Adwords campaign and you spend the money to get the keywords that you are looking for, it's almost a 100% bet that you will increase your ranking in Google...even if it's not the number #1 position. Anyone who has played the Internet "numbers game"...and that's really all it is...a numbers game...will tell you that that increase or boost in Google ranking will get you the extra calls you need to make it through the tough times!
For anyone that's interested, when we do run a campaign on Adwords, our normal spend is only about $25 to $50 per month. However, you do actually have to watch and monitor your ads and your spending and it can be a little time consuming. However, it does work is definitely worth the money.
Also, for anyone that wants to give this avenue a try, you need to start out by testing the waters on Adwords and determining what keywords and which ads work best for you. The research to do this took us about 2 - 3 months and about $200 - $300 in ads. The initial spend is more simply because you need to try different things to determine what the best solution is for your business. Once the research is done, it is as simple as leaving the accounts set up and simply activating them when the going gets tough. Done carefully, you can boost your rankings within a day or two and we usually let the ads run for a week or two to let the ads stabilize.
If anyone is interested in learning more about how we go about this, feel free to shoot me an email. I'll be happy to explain how we do it.
Happy Holidays everyone and best wishes for a prosperous New Year.
Denise Blackman, LDJ Auto Body & Collision, Gibsonton, FL
Thai's how Google makes its money...! I took me few month to finally realize what a waste of many these campaigns are. I still do it for local business but it takes a lot of time to set it up. Allays use exact phrase (never broad), have an add for each service or product, ........etc etc...
I've tried a campaign for physician jobs at the national level..... you can't compete unless decided to go broke in few weeks
There are only two ways:
- Social Media Links
- Pay per click advertising
At Pro IT Marketing we created a method of PPC called the Gatekeeper which allows you to have more search terms on the first page of search engines @ 1/3rd the cost and yet better return on the investment. You can check any websites ranking at alexa.com. We picked up a client that had a ranking of over 6 million and the sites been up for 7 years. Our videolocators.com has been up for 18 months and ranking is under 350K.
PPC gives you fast results and SEO takes time and no promise of results.
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Well Netteboo1, there are a lot of great ideas listed here. Hope that some of our suggestions help your business. Let us which avenue you have taken and how well it worked out for you. We love to read success stories! Happy Holidays to you.
I think all of these ideas are great marketing ideas. The trick for me has always been understanding who exactly you should be marketing to and then figuring out how to get in front of them with your message. So make sure you can define who your target market is. Can you can describe your ideal customer? If so then you can figure out what content your website needs (SEO), what key words to target in an adwords campaign, etc. It's also a good chance to explore how information technology might be able to help you distinguish yourself and reach your target market. On my site www.chicago-cio.com I talk about the advantages of having an IT expert participate in your business strategy/planning discussions. So as you are trying to figure out how to reach people. Think about what you don't know about this market. There could be data sets of information that can be pulled and organized to help you clarify who you need to market to.
Do you have a website?
Having website should be part of your business plan as website is an investment for your business.
Website is global representation of your business who spoke about your products and services and how to present them in an appealing and understandable way that generates traffic and sales.Having a effective website is the most crucial element of marketing and branding efforts.
If you have a business your customer is expecting to have website and email.This requirement of customer requires you to have some sort of web presence.That why most of the business take one step to move to the online world.
Today anyone can create website and launch it. So it requires dedicated and highly qualified professionals to create professional and unique website to target their customers.
To take your business to higher level, you can get free consultation with skilled and trained website design professional team at FATbit Technologies
Great advise Diana Perk, thanks for sharing.
How can I get my business name and catalogs out to more people? I've left my business cards in the slots at gas stations. I've left catalogs in places that people have to wait for services (repair shops, doctor's offices) and no responses. I've posted pictures, descriptions, and prices on my business web page on face book and my business still isn't growing. It's pretty stagnate right now and I don't know what else to do. The catalogs cost me money and they have to be shipped to me as well and they aren't cheap so I don't want to leave them just anywhere that people can't see them.