13 Dec Seven Ways To Get Publicity For Your Business
By Emma Champion of Do Your Own PR
If you feel that you have exhausted every avenue when it comes to advertising your business, there may be some surprising options still available to you which you might not necessarily have considered before. Your next big business breakthrough might be just around the corner, and it may just come from someone happening upon your details in the most unlikely of places.
Here are some low-cost solutions for you to consider:
Thousands of people search Google Maps for directions every day. So, what if it were possible for your business details to appear when the average internet browser’s cursor moves over your location? Google Places makes this possible. When you register for this service, people using Google Maps will inadvertently stumble across your business details – hours of operation, address, even a list of your products/services, and the best part: it’s absolutely FREE. You can edit your listing at anytime so you can keep your information up-to-date, and it allows you to reach potential customers and clients with out really trying or paying through the nose. I like to call this type of service Passive Marketing; it takes no thought at all and yet people everywhere are absorbing what you have to offer.
Online Business Directories
There are hundreds of websites online which act like a digital version of the Yellow Pages (Yell.com) or the Thomson Local (ThomsonLocal.com), on which it is free to list your business. This is essentially free advertising, so utilise these pages accordingly.
More often than not on these sites, people can also list items for sale, place advertisements, etc, and it won’t cost you a penny. The beauty part of this plan is that, like Google Places, people are likely to find you unexpectedly – whilst looking for something else, for example. It’s all about popping up out of the blue and making yourself known to your dormant audience. Aside from the better-known classified sites, there are plenty of lesser-known versions which work in exactly the same way, and the more of them you are listed on, the better. One good example can be found at: http://www.justoneuk.com
Whenever you have a spare moment, take a wander around the magazine section of your local WH Smith. Take in the titles – you will realise that there are hundreds of publications dedicated to specialist business sectors and obscure hobbies (Smallholder Magazine or Air Gunner Magazine, anyone?) What you are looking for, however, are titles relevant to your business. In Recruitment? Look for Personnel Today Magazine. In HR? Try Payroll and Human Resources (PHR) Magazine. In Events Management? Seek out Event Magazine. In PR? Search for PR Week Magazine.
There is a magazine for every business niche out there. Find the one which applies to you and flip to the very back of the magazine. There, you will find pages and pages of advertisements which are specific to the title business. This is the perfect place for your business to be seen, as it will reach people of a like mind and place you amongst the big names and players. Give your chosen publication a call and find out how much it will cost to place an ad. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Another way to appear in this type of publication is to consider offering a prize for a competition. Your business will get a mention and the winner will get to experience your products/services.
Social Networking Sites
This one is a business essential in today’s market. The way we communicate has evolved so much in the last decade, and it is imperative to be savvy and evolve right along with it. The two must-haves in the social networking sector are Facebook and Twitter. They can create a huge amount of awareness for your brand at very little cost to you.
Facebook offers a range of services; you can create a page and people can choose to “like” and, therefore, keep tabs on your latest news; you can create a Group and people can join it; you can choose to spend a little and place an advertisement which will appear along side people’s profile pages, grabbing the attention of those who were previously unreachable; the possibilities are endless.
Twitter is a different creature entirely. Members can “follow” each other, so the idea is that you strategically follow the businesses and people whose attention you seek, and hope that they follow you in return, building up a rapport with clients and a support network with entrepreneurs similar to yourself. Both of these sites communicate to people on a more personal level. Pages you “like” or “follow” start to feel like friends and acquaintances, building a different connection to any other form of marketing.
Don’t forget about the others though – whilst Facebook and Twitter dominate the market, there are also sites like Flickr, My Space, Orkut, Bebo, Yahoo 360®, PerfSpot – the more sites you are present on, the more business you can potentially drum up.
Business Article Websites
Another offering from the Internet – and this one requires you or a member of your staff to be a little creative. There are many sites online which allow you to upload articles written in relation to your speciality, and that allow you to include a clickable link to your company’s website, amongst other subtle hints in your direction. It’s a great opportunity to showcase your expertise whilst simultaneously announcing your presence. Most of these sites offer this service for free; others will ask you to pay for the privilege. Whichever suits your budget, consider some topics that you think might be of interest to those seeking what you can provide. Post them on as many of these sites as you can – saturate the World Wide Web with what you have to offer – eventually, your message will be heard. One good example of these sites can be found at: http://www.articlesbase.com
Blogs and Forums
Blog sites and discussion forums are now a huge enterprise online. There are many which are business-specific, and there are others on which budding writers will post about anything and everything. People can happen upon these posts when browsing online or surfing the web for other things, so it is a great way to reel in unwitting customers. You may choose to write and submit something yourself, or begin your own discussion thread on a forum site; or, you might decide to contact a blogger and ask if they will write something about you.
Either way, it is another way for your business to be seen and heard, as well as establishing useful business contacts. Take a look at this site for example: http://www.businessblog.co.uk
Another new breakthrough in digital communication has been born out of the development of mobile phone technology. A Bluetooth connection is a form of short-distance Wi-Fi which enables you to reach the portable devices of those in your vicinity who have Bluetooth capabilities on their phones and MP3 Players. Most mobile phones come with Bluetooth as standard nowadays, so if you decide to explore this avenue in the future, it will not exclude as many people as you might have previously thought.
Businesses are now attaching devices to the entrance of their office building or shop front which transmit promotional content, such as images, text and audio, to the Bluetooth devices of those passing by or in the neighbourhood. This technique has been derived from something which was previously known as Blue-Jacking; if you want to better understand this technique, next time you’re sat in the cinema or a busy coffee shop, switch on your phone’s Bluetooth and it will pick up the corresponding signals of everyone in the area who has theirs switched on. A list of weird and wonderful usernames will appear on the screen of your phone. You can potentially send messages to each of these users. This is how Bluetooth advertising can work, and it is free – whether you send 1 or 1000 Bluetooth messages, it doesn’t cost anything. You may reach your next important customer/client/contact using this technique alone!
So, there you go: a mixture of traditional and new methods to reach your customers. Which ones are right for you?