Business owners—especially solo entrepreneurs—spend most of their time doing the work they created the business to do. A doctor, for instance, spends most of her time with patients. A chef spends most of his time creating mouth-watering dishes. And so on. But if they don’t spend at least some time to promote their business itself, they’ll never reach many of the people who would have become good customers—or patients—because the business owner didn’t bother to get the word out about his or her business.
That’s tragic. We know that business owners’ time is precious. Many startups barely make enough to pay a skeleton crew, let alone a marketing professional. The good news is, they won’t need a marketing pro if they commit to spend even one hour a day to promote their businesses, according to The Balance’s Susan Ward, a successful business consultant and writer. Here are some low-cost ways to promote a business in only one hour a day:
Leverage Email as a Promotional Tool
Spend part of the daily marketing time tweaking the business’s email presence and promotional campaigns. Make sure that every email the business sends out has the bare essentials to keep the brand name in the forefront of its customers’ minds. Not only does a business need to include its website and complete contact information in its signature, but it also needs to have at least two other things on every piece of promotional email it sends out: a logo and a slogan. These two things can create a powerful brand image in the minds of current and potential customers alike. Many label companies will create a logo for their customers when they design labels or stickers for the business, saving money that otherwise would have gone to a pricey graphic designer. As for the slogan, find a copywriter through a high-quality online agency to create a catchy tagline that will stick in customers’ minds. After you have those two things, include them in every email the business sends out. Incorporate them into the business’s social media header, business listings, and every other piece of communication that goes out. Invest a little in a mass email service and use that to promote events and discounts.
Use Social Media to Its Best Advantage
Spend part of that marketing hour working the social media airwaves. If the business doesn’t have a Facebook page, an Instagram account, and a Twitter account, get one. Yesterday. Social media is where a business’s customers congregate, share news, and share photos. To miss out on this opportunity is like burying a pot of gold. Secondly, use that social media account to attract customers to the business. Giveaways, coupons, and specials all help spread the word about a business online. If there’s a visual component to the business, add YouTube and Pinterest to the social media accounts the business needs. Instructional videos, before-and-after photos, and visual media that showcase the business’s work all help to attract new customers and get current ones pumped up about spreading the word, too.
Use Articles, Videos, and Podcasts to Showcase Expertise
The last word in marketing these days is inbound marketing. Providing useful information to potential customers builds awareness of a business while at the same time creating a powerful image of the business as the local experts in its field. For these to be effective, though, ditch the self-promotional language. Inbound marketing only succeeds when a business provides information that can help potential customers solve a problem, make more money, or have better health. These tools cost little—sometimes even nothing—and can reap bountiful results. Spend some of that daily marketing time creating real value for potential customers, and watch them pour through the doors.