Building some hype around your business, particularly when you’re just starting out, can take some work. If you know what you’re doing, however, it doesn’t have to take a lot of money.
Promoting your business is a very necessary part of running a company, but often startups are short on cash and need to find a way to create a buzz without spending too much. Fortunately, the Internet allows you to hype your business even if you are on a shoestring budget. There are plenty of free methods of promotion, as well as a number of lower cost ways to grab people’s attention.
Create a Lively Network
The first thing you’ll want to do is build up a network of people who appreciate your business. This is vital if you want to build hype, since it’s nearly impossible to do so without more than one person. You need a group of people willing to help you out and the best way to find that is to build it from scratch.
Start with social media or a blog. These are both good methods of building up a following, but remember that you really want people who are interested, so don’t go for the auto-follows on Twitter . . . look for people who could be a real asset and may be interested in your products. Their cooperation is going to be key to getting more people interested.
Once you start building your network, you’ll need to do the following to keep it running well:
- Engage people one on one
- Share useful links to other sites
- Promote other people or businesses that could be useful to your followers
Interaction is what you need, rather than promotion. You can talk to people, have conversations and just generally be friendly to everyone. Get online on a daily basis to respond to people’s comments and to continue to interact, since disappearing for a while can ruin all the hard work you’ve put into building your network.
Bloggers can be a valuable resource these days, since they have ready made networks of readers who trust them. Getting someone influential to blog about your products or services may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about publicity, but it’s a great method.
You have three choices when it comes to getting bloggers to spread the word for you. First, you can pay the blogger to write a review. This is usually quite economical, but you may prefer free. Keep in mind that the better the blogger, the more likely it is that they will charge for the review.
You can also offer free product or services in exchange for a review. The blogger can check out your business and try something for themselves, then write about it.
The final option is to offer to write a guest post specifically for their blog. This doesn’t have the same impact since the post will need to be informative, rather than promotional, but it can be a way to get your foot in the door and help the blogger’s readers discover your business.
Provide a Benefit
Why should people pay attention to your products? Why should they recommend them to their friends and family? These are two questions that should be answered before you start really stepping up the promotion.
Offering freebies or coupons and other special offers on your business blog or a social media network can be a good way to give some value. Giveaways can also help bring in more recommendations via word of mouth. As long as you are giving away something that is worth it, people will happily retweet or Like the contest on various social media networks, making it possible to gain a large number of followers in a short period of time.
There are so many companies these days that your competition can easily get to your clients before you have a chance to really hook them. So, you’ll need to ensure that they’ll come back to you. This is fairly easy to do with little incentives.
- Birthday and holiday cards
- Customer only coupons
By standing out from the crowd and letting your customers know that you appreciate them, you’ll ensure their loyalty and keep them coming back to you. Not only will they become repeat shoppers, they are far more likely to tell their friends if they are happy with your service.
It can be difficult to get a buzz going when you’re on a tight budget, but by using the resources available to you through social media and your own website, you should be able to increase public awareness. Don’t forget to ask your network to share special deals and sales that you hold. If you have done a good job of building up a quality group of followers, you’ll find this to be extremely effective.