Low cost methods of business promotion

Business promotion is to running a successful business as what training is to most sportspeople; it may not be a thrilling activity in itself, but you just have to do it! You should spend at least an hour a day on business promotion or planning how to promote your business otherwise you run the risk of being left behind.

You promote your business first and foremost by getting the word out. The first principle of business promotion is that you have to do this consciously. You can't rely on other people to do it for you, no matter how great your product or service is. Word of mouth can work but that word is not generated out of thin air.

The second principle of business promotion is that like every other aspect of your business, there are costs and a budget attached to it. However, business promotion doesn't have to be expensive. Here are a handful of inexpensive ideas to promote your business; all most of these will cost you is a little bit of time.

1) Every time you publish something - make it a promotion

You have business cards, but you also put out a lot of other documents in the course of doing business. Check these to make sure you're using their promotional possibilities to full advantage.

For instance, business stationery is an ideal business promotion tool. Is your business name, logo, contact information (including your URL if you have one), and slogan on your envelopes as well as on your letterhead? Or are your envelopes only printed with your business name and return address? Your phone and fax numbers, your URL, and even a memorable slogan should be there, too. It's not just an envelope, it's a business promotion tool! You're sending it out anyway, so why not make it work for you to promote your business?

The same goes for outgoing faxes, bill payments, receipts; whatever paper you send out should carry your full company message. And don't forget to make sure that your email has a complete signature that provides all your business information and a promotional tagline.

Electronic documents, such as email, are also easy to update with your latest business promotion information, whether it be a special price on your product or service, or letting people know that your company has won an award. This is a simple way to remind people of what your brand stands for. But remember less is more so don't go over the top, just stick to the key things you want people to recall.

2) The benefits of public speaking

Okay so now that half the people have run away from their computer screens, those that remain clearly understand the benefit of speaking publicly and are willing to overcome their fear to do so. Speaking at public forums is a great way to build up a profile for you and your business. You have expertise that other people are interested in! Why not share that expertise and promote your business at the same time?

For example, a pet accessories supply company advertises a free seminar on training your dog. Participants not only learn how to train their dog themselves, but are offered special discount prices if they wish to purchase the new leashes and collars that the company offers.

If there's no direct tie-in to your product or service, you can still give a presentation on a related topic. Nursery people or horticulturalists, for instance, often give demonstrations on topics such as tree-pruning, or slide shows of famous gardens they've visited.

Start small and start building a name by making a presentation to one of your local groups such as your local chamber of commerce. If public speaking terrifies you, organisations like Toastmasters can be a huge help. Check out their website at http://www.toastmasters.org.au/ for more information.

3) If appropriate - use your vehicle to promote your business

Mobile business promotion isn't just for white delivery vans. Where I live, one in every four vehicles has the name and phone number of a business decorating one of the windows or doors. Think of all the people who see your vehicle when you're driving around seeing your details in front of them. Obviously you should use your own judgment to see if this is appropriate, if you are in professional services for example this may not be suitable, but for a retail business this is an excellent way to get your business name out there.

4) Promote your business through your leisure activities

One savvy businessman I know relaxes by being part of a rock band. Guess what? Every time his band's gigs are mentioned in the newspaper, the piece also mentions the name of his business!

You may not be part of a band yourself, but everyone does something for "fun". Whether your chosen leisure activity is playing netball, rock-climbing, or shopping, there are all kinds of ways to promote your business while you do what you love to do.

Where's the harm in shopping or rock-climbing wearing a T-shirt that has the name of your business prominently displayed? Get in the habit of doing business promotion wherever you go and you'll be surprised how word-of-mouth builds.

With any kind of group activity, there's always the opportunity to promote your business by letting other people know what you do and how it could benefit them. This doesn't mean that you talk about nothing else, but there are bound to be chances to talk about your business that crop up during normal conversation.

And last but not least consider sponsoring a local sporting team. Not the high flyers per se, but grassroots - community based sporting. Not only are you promoting your business but you are showing yourself as a good corporate citizen by actively participating in the local community.

The benefits of promoting your business are numerous and with a bit of creative thinking it does not need to break the bank. There are creative ways to consider promoting your business that doesn't have to cost the earth. Next time you are sitting down to your thinking about your business you should keep a few of these in mind!

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