Best Way to Promote a Business

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Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for years, these proven marketing strategies will help your business find new customers without spending a fortune.

1. Plan your attack. Define who your best prospects are, and then determine the best way to reach them. Be as specific as possible. Is the decision maker the CTO of the company, the director of human resources, or a 37-year-old working mom? Will you find them on Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or Facebook? What about in-person networking at local business meetings? Will they be searching for your type of product on Google or Bing? Do you want to start promoting your business to them at the start of their buying cycle, or when they’re about ready to pull out their credit card and make the purchase? Write your answers down, and refer to them before you start any new marketing tactic.

2. If you don’t have a website, get one set up. If you can’t afford to have someone custom-design your website, put your site up using one of the companies like SiteSell.com, E-business Success. Simple. Real or Get a site, Get found. Get customers. That provide templates and tools that make it easy to create a basic website.

3. Set up a listing for your business in search engine local directories.

Google and Bing both offer a free listing of local businesses.

To get listed on Google, go to Google My Business.

To get listed on Bing, go to Bing Places for Business

Yahoo charges for local listings, but you get listed on a lot more than Yahoo if you buy their service. The service, called Yahoo Local works, costs $29.99 a month and lists you in 50 directories including Yahoo Local, Yelp, White Pages, Bing, MapQuest and more. The benefit of paying: You have a single location to enter your data to make it consistent and available on multiple online directories that your customers might search to find what you sell.

1. Set your business profile or page up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Be sure your business profile includes a good description, keywords and a link to your website. Look for groups or conversations that talk about your type of products or services and participate in the conversations, but don’t spam them with constant promos for what you sell.

2. If you’re just starting out and don’t have a business card and business stationery, have them made up — immediately. Your business card, letterhead, and envelope tell prospective customers you are a professional who takes your business seriously. Be sure to list your website address on your business card and, letterhead and any handouts you create.

3.Sign up for an email service, and send an email newsletter and/or promotional offers to customers and prospects for your business. Be sure you ask for permission to send the email before putting any person’s email name on your list. One good way to build a permission-based email list of people who want your mailings is to give something away. It could be a free eBook or even a free tip-sheet on how to do something related to your business. If you’re a health coach, for instance, you might offer people who sign up for your free newsletter a tip sheet with “10 Easy Ways to Lose Weight Without Going on a Diet.” An email service like Constant Contact* makes it easy to manage your list and send professional-looking mailings.

4. Get your business cards into the hand of anyone who can help you in your search for new clients. Call your friends and relatives and tell them you have started a business. Visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.

5. Talk to all the vendors from whom you buy products or services. Give them your business card, and ask if they can use your products or service, or if they know anyone who can. If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed (printers often do, and so do some supermarkets, hairdressers, etc.), ask if yours can be added to the board.

6. Attend meetings of professional groups, and groups such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, or civic associations. Have business cards in a pocket where they are easily reachable. Don’t forget to ask what the people you speak with do, and to really listen to them. They’ll be flattered by your interest, and better remember you because of it.

7. Pay for membership in those groups that attract your target customers. If the group has a website and publishes list members on the site, make sure your name and website link get added. Once it is added the double check to be sure your contact information is correct and your website link isn’t broken.

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