Generating publicity is a major part of any small business marketing campaign. But when tight budgets meet up with lack of know how, many excellent opportunities can go to waste. Small business owners looking to expand their marketing tactics on a shoe string may want to consider these options:
- Send out a press release. Expanding your business, launching new products or services, gaining new clients, or sponsoring an event are all examples of newsworthy events that can be the focus of a press release. You can send out press releases to local newspapers, magazines, or radio stations, who attract the attention of people in your target market. Alternatively, for a small fee you could use the services of an online news release agency such as PR Web or PRLeap.com. Not only will this help to get your name out there, but it will also temporarily help your website’s Google ranking.
- Sponsor and/or host an event. Associating your company with a special event, such as a workshop, a lecture series, or some form of entertainment may generate positive interest in your business and drum up sales. You should try, however, to be involved with events that are both relevant to your business and directed to your target audience.
- Book yourself for public speaking engagements. If you are comfortable speaking in front of others, offering to be a speaker on a topic within your area of expertise can generate a lot of good publicity for your business- even if you are doing it pro bono. If you are having trouble finding places to speak, there are even public speaker brokers who can help hook you up with groups in need of a speaker.
- Get involved in community service project. Your company’s involvement with local charity or community service organization, such as a shelter or a soup kitchen, can generate a tremendous amount of good will and build up a positive reputation for your company, not to mention help those in need.
- Conduct promotional events. Promoting events, such as giveaways, theme nights, special “value” deals, can generate a buzz among your customers, increase brand awareness, and encourage people to use your products or services. Keep in mind that creativity and planning are central elements to running a successful promotion.
- Hold a contest. Holding a contest is another easy and fun way to promote your business. Here are a few examples: Have customers send in videos using your products; hold a contest for the best customer-generated t-shirt or logo design. Conduct a lottery for all those who patron your business on a particular day.
- Create a viral marketing campaign. With a little creativity and know how, a well executed viral promotion can greatly increase brand awareness and generate an increase in sales. Viral promotions typically involve short videos, interactive Flash games, ebooks, software, images, and sometimes email or text messages that are quickly spread among the users of various social networks. To see some examples of the most successful viral marketing campaigns over the last decade, check out this post at Ignite Social Media.
- Build an engaging online presence. In 2010, developing a business’ online presence can mean more than just maintaining a website and getting listed in local online business directories. It may also involve producing an engaging blog and using social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook as well as social bookmarking sites, such as Digg , Delicious, and StumbleUpon. Learning how to effectively integrate these sites into your marketing campaign can generate a tremendous amount of interest in your company and make your business known to people you would be unable to contact otherwise.
- Build a useful and informative online presence. Aside from being engaging, if you consistently offer useful and valuable information, products, and/or services to those who reach you online, you can also generate a great deal of publicity. Writing articles to e-zines, offering a free e-book or white paper, and posting to or moderating forums are all ways to spread your message and generate leads to your site.