updated from June 2012
Entrepreneurship is one of the pillars of the American Dream. People want to be able to market their great ideas to others, but in today’s economy it can seem nearly impossible for a small business to make it. We may be in an era of box stores and online retailers, but that doesn’t mean that’s it’s impossible for small brick and mortar business owners to make it. The key to business success is successfully promoting your business, and you’d be surprised to learn that it’s actually relatively cheap to do so.
Celebrate Your Opening
There’s nothing like a big opening day event to draw out crowds and promote your business. Don’t think you have to break the bank in order to do this, a little food, music, and special opening day discounts will be all you need to bring the event to life. Finger foods like pretzels, crudités, cheese and crackers, and hot dogs are inexpensive, popular, and won’t make a mess in your new store. Promotional prize wheels can help give your event a fun carnival like atmosphere and customers will be excited to participate. Fill the wheel wedges with offers like 20% off, buy 1 get 1 free, and 10% sales prices and get customers to spin the wheel while their items are being rung up. They’ll enjoying winning the discount prize, and you’ll get your products into the hands of potential repeat customers.
Alert the Press
Write a press release about your business’ opening and send them to all your local media outlets. Newspapers, news websites, and TV stations are always looking for stories about local residents, and a business opening is almost always considered news worthy. Submitting a press release is free, simple, and a great way to promote your business.
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Utilize Social Media
It should seem obvious that businesses should use various social media platforms to promote themselves, but you’d be surprised just how many people either aren’t using it or don’t know how to properly write for a social media audience. Remember two rules when it comes to social media: keep it frequent, and keep it interesting.
Be sure to get on as many different social media platforms as possible, your business should at the very least have a Facebook account, a Twitter account, and a Pinterest account. Have an employee handle all of your accounts, make sure that they make posts frequently and comment on other people’s posts too. And above all else, don’t treat any of your social media accounts like a sales page. You can talk about your products and certain promotions, but make sure you write about industry news and trends as well. If you’re a remodeling business, talk about EPA standards for green living and write tips for home remodeling projects. If you’re a mortgage lender write about the housing market and news about federal mortgage reform. As long as you write about related topics, you’ll have interested followers.
Matt Haran is a part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites. Follow him @thatdoodmatt