There are now more ways than ever to promote your small business. Between using traditional offline strategies and taking advantage of the latest online marketing technology, you can find many different methods to gain publicity and build your brand.
The more promotional techniques you employ, the greater your chances of success. That’s why the best approach is to implement a diverse, multifaceted strategy. With this in mind, the following are 26 ways to promote your business in 2015.
Note: I recognize that there are more than this and each one of these 26 could be covered in much greater detail but this will give you good start to help promote a small business in 2015 and beyond.
1. Optimize Your Profile on Social Media Sites & Post Often
In addition to having business pages on sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, make sure your profiles are well optimized. This means having thorough, keyword rich descriptions. Having a photograph with your profile is a proven way to attract more views.
Don’t forget to use social media to connect with your customers and potential customers. Posting business related posts on the big social media outlets almost everyday will help you gain traction. An online scheduling tool will make this much easier for you.
2. Use Pay Per Click Advertising
PPC advertising is one of the quickest ways to get traffic to your business website. Google AdWords is the best known platform, but there are many others as well. If you are new to this, be sure to test the waters gradually so you don’t overspend on campaigns.
3. Start or Build Your Email List
An email list is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. You can send out a weekly newsletter to inform customers about your latest news and products. You should also include helpful information along with sales pitches to give people a reason to open your emails.
4. Try Postcard Advertising
Sending out postcards via snail mail is an underutilized method for getting the word out about your business. Postage costs are low and you can include information such as your website URL, physical location or perhaps a coupon for your products or services.
5. Set Up an Affiliate Program
Affiliates can help you sell your products online. Both physical and digital products can be sold by affiliates. There are many different affiliate networks that make it simple to recruit affiliates.
6. Hold Webinars
Webinars are a powerful and relatively new way to inform the public about your business. You can hold either free or paid webinars. One way to attract lots of viewers is to interview a well known expert in your industry.
7. Create Podcasts
Podcasts allow you to broadcast your message across the web on platforms such as iTunes and many others. You can interview people on your podcast or simply discuss topics about which you are knowledgeable.
8. Attend Local Business Events
Even if you do most of your marketing online, don’t overlook opportunities to network locally. Join your local Chamber of Commerce and civic associations in your area. You never know who might be in need of your services.
9. List Your Website in Search Engine Directories
This is not a new tactic, but many website owners either don’t do this or have forgotten about it. There are many search engine directories that can help your site get noticed. This can help you rank better in the search engines and can help potential customers find you.
10. Manage Your Online Reputation
Managing your online reputation is becoming increasingly important as more and more customers write comments and reviews. Even a few negative reviews can cause real damage to your reputation. That’s why you should always respond to complaints promptly, and in a rational and polite manner. If you need help with this, you may need to consult with an agency that specializes in reputation management.
11. Run a Contest
Everyone enjoys contests. If your contest is online, it’s best to set up some kind of incentive for people to share information about the contest. This is how viral marketing campaigns get off the ground. The key to running a successful contest is to offer exciting prizes. Photo contests are especially popular right now.
12. Become a Speaker
Giving speeches or presentations immediately brands you as an expert. You can start off doing this locally and perhaps even become a speaker who is in demand nationally. Your presentations shouldn’t be sales pitches. If you can inform and entertain audiences, they will naturally develop an interest in your company.
13. Offer Free Trials or Samples
Free samples of your product are always a good way to get people to try something new. If you offer some type of service, a free trial can get people hooked. This can be done online or by setting up a booth at shopping malls, trade shows and other events.
14. Make Use of Images
Images have become ever more popular online. No matter what type of business you have, there is a way to promote it visually. Photographs, cartoons and infographics can all be useful in this regard. Social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram are among the best ways to share your images and get traffic to your website.
15. Create and Share Videos
Along with images, videos are currently the most popular way to spread information online. You can appear in front of the camera yourself, hire people to make videos for you or simply create informational slideshow type videos. While YouTube is the most popular video site, you should look into other video sharing sites as well. Short videos, such as found on Vine, are also becoming popular.
16. Get Your Brand Name Seen Locally
There are many offline methods to get people to see your business name. Some of these have been around for a long time while others are more contemporary. A few ideas include menus, billboards, buses and taxicabs, Little League baseball teams and local movie theaters.
17. Learn How to Leverage Reddit
Reddit is an extremely popular social network right now, but you have to use it properly if you want results. You can’t promote directly, so focus on sharing interesting information. The trick to succeeding with Reddit is to find the right category or subreddit. Work on becoming a trusted poster and you can build up a good following.
18. Become an Author
It’s now easier than ever to self-publish your book. Even a short eBook on Kindle can establish you as an expert. You can also create your book in other formats, such as a print book and audiobook. Choose a topic that solves a problem that your customers are facing.
19. Launch a Guerrilla Marketing Campaign
Guerrilla marketing refers to any outrageous or unexpected promotional strategy. It isn’t suitable for all businesses, but it can be a way to attract attention quickly. This can be anything from a flash mob to having murals painted in your neighborhood. The key to successful guerrilla marketing is to be original and creative.
20. Teach a Class
There is now quite a bit of demand for adult education classes. Non credit classes are now given at many community colleges, public libraries and community centers. Giving a class is a way to establish yourself as an authority in your industry without having to do any direct selling.
21. Make Sure Your Website is Mobile Friendly
With so many shoppers now using mobile phones and tablets, it’s essential that your website be mobile friendly or responsive. Responsive design means that your site can be viewed equally well on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Since more people actually make purchases using phones than computers now, this is essential for success in 2015 and beyond.
22. Partner With Other Businesses
Rather than viewing other businesses as the competition, think of ways to partner with them. One of the best tactics is to find a business that sells something that complements your business model. For example, if you provide SEO services, you might partner with a company that builds websites. On a local level, you can get together with a group of businesses and publish a directory of local businesses.
23. Get Creative Business Cards
Many business cards are boring and generic. Handing out business cards that are more creative and unique will make it more likely that people will look at them. You can also include a coupon or promotional code on the card that customers can use, either online or in person, to get a discount or special deal.
24. Become Active on Forums
There are online forums on just about every topic imaginable. Become a regular participant can help you connect with people who need what you sell. Don’t try to promote directly on forums, unless they have a paid advertising program that looks appealing. The best strategy is to post useful and friendly comments and use your forum signature for promoting.
25. Sponsor a Local Event
Local charity events, such as concerts or mini-marathons are always seeking sponsors, If you are more ambitious, you can even organize such an event yourself. This is an excellent way to build good will in your local community while also promoting your business.
26. Become an Expert Who is Quoted in the Media
Major and local media are always looking for experts to quote. If you have valuable information, you can make yourself available for this purpose. You can contact media outlets directly and offer your services or sign up with Help a Reporter.
Now get out there and make 2015 the best year ever for your small business!
About The Author
Adam White is the founder of Website Rocket, an online software service that helps small businesses do their own website promotion. He has worked in the internet marketing world since 2000 and has written and directed a feature film. He lives in Arizona with his wife and 6 children.