Direct mail marketing, email campaigns, and even traditional advertising are tried and true methods of getting a company’s name out to the buying public. Nothing is more important than making sure that your company’s name and more importantly what you do are on the minds of those in the local business community. But one of the most effective ways to accomplish this will always be word of mouth and simple visibility. Too often small businesses just starting out don’t take advantage of easy ways to promote their new or existing business. The following are the basics:
Outfitting with Apparel
One simple way to promote is by outfitting as many people as possible with apparel that has your company logo, contact information, web site, and slogan. It may seem obvious, but even if your business is as small as 2-3 people, putting employees in apparel that can showcase your company is very important for a number of reasons. First, as a business that operates in a local community either out amongst the people or from home, having custom uniforms or even T-Shirts that show the company logo and contact information is free advertising. Second, by having a custom tagline or slogan, even a unique color scheme on that uniform, you’re more likely to stay on the minds of potential customers who will have seen it. That will then jog their memory when they are in need of your services. Finally, your employees represent your company and brand and company apparel are ways of leveraging this.
Using and Distributing Pens
Another easy tactic is to give employees pens with your company name, brand, slogan, and contact information. Employees can use these, but also leave them behind with customers. For example, if you have branded pens for customers to sign receipts, many times customers will take the pens with them. If branded, your pen can become a viral walking advertisement and reminder. You can even give them out if you have the budget.
The good news for small businesses is that there are a number of companies that are now offering these products in small quantities and at competitive prices. Typically the more you order, the less you will have to pay, but sometimes small businesses can’t order more than a handful to start out. You can also use your own design and colors, rather than working with a creative consultant, which can cost money.
Developing a Logo
Creatively, you can distribute a variety of items pertaining to your business that are unique and recognizable. First you should come up with a logo that shows what your business does. A tagline or catchphrase is also something that can be impactful. If you consider some of the most recognizable catchphrases associated with business and relate it to your business, you can start to think about what might create some buzz for you. “That was easy” has become Staples mantra, and Nike has “Just do it.” Mary Kay is known for the pink cars that salespeople used to drive around in, and the uniforms they wear. Of course these companies have the power to promote these taglines nationally, but a creative tagline, color, or logo can be on the minds of anyone who sees it locally, and that can be a windfall.
Offering Items for Purchase or as Giveaways
You can also go beyond just outfitting your own crew of employees. If your company has a web site, you can sell your own custom T-Shirts, Hats, Pens or Magnets, or give them away with a certain purchase level, and have your customers out doing your advertising for you. For example, a person who receives a free T-Shirt or hat as part of a promotion or giveaway will certainly wear it out in public, and promote your company and brand for you, almost free of charge. You never know when you might have a customer interested in using products that promote your brand. If your merchandise is truly unique, it can even become a viral success and generate enough buzz so that everyone will want one. Even if that means kids at the local high school want them, you’ve got a small, concentrated viral marketing campaign success to your credit.
Customizing Business Cards
Business professionals and consumers see numerous business cards during their travels so make your card a memorable one. Put on your creative thinking cap and customize every detail of your business card according to the audience you are marketing to and the services you are marketing. Anyone can hand out a cookie cutter business card, but the professional who expresses his or her organization’s message and personality through a business card will have the edge on the competition. Unlike the old days, cards can now easily be customized online so you won’t have to leave your home or office.
It may seem obvious but some professionals fail to list all necessary information on their business cards. The basic elements of a business card include name, title, company name and URL, and all contact information including fax number. Try not to list more than one phone number on your card as too much information causes confusion. Lead with your company’s name, and space permitting, include a clear, concise positioning statement or tagline.
Businesses marketing to a wide-ranging audience should consider creating more than one business card designs for their personnel. For example, a floral business could tailor one card to target the wedding industry and another for the funeral industry. Your company needs to be all things to all people so why not have multiple card designs when you have to influence very different audiences with very different needs? The small amount of money spent developing the additional cards will pay for itself in the form of the extra business gained.
Business cards are worth every penny, but you don’t have to spend a chunk of your marketing budget on them. Search for free business card offers and enlist the services of a company that can produce high-quality yet affordable cards. If you’re a small or home-based business owner, work with a company that allows card orders in small business-friendly quantities.
You never know what might resonate and catch on, but it’s worth the effort to implement the above promotional marketing basics for your business. So put on your creative hat, put together a logo, tagline, and design some custom apparel, promotional items, and business cards. It’s a small investment worth making.