As the old saying goes, 'it's not what you know, but who you know' that really matters when trying to get your business established and well known. Therefore, for every business to become successful, profitable and to thrive, it is a must that you promote yourself carefully and effectively if you want the customers to start flooding in.
It may be possible that within your friendship and family circles you already have a group of potential customers ready to go, or perhaps you already have a customer or 2 that is already using your business services.
Whether you have just started a business recently, are considering starting soon, or have been going a while and are in search for some more tips and ideas on promoting your business, I'm sure that these 12 tips will help you to successfully promote your business and establish yourself within your target market.
Before we go on, I can't emphasise enough the importance of having a good business plan and model. I will be realising some further info on this in the months to come, so if you don't want to miss out on that or any other content that I release, then come and join the Georgia-beth family for all my latest updates and offers.
Just to give you a heads up, I have set the list out in an order that I believe is tailored to benefit a brand new business, starting with the ones that are the easiest to implement, and the ones that will initially reap the best rewards, followed by the ones that you can progress towards.
So let's get to it….
Now this one can be something that you keep coming back to, but one of the best ways to start getting your name out there is by offering your services for free. What? Free? Surely I didn't get into business to do it all for free? Well, that's true, but by giving out freebies you will undoubtedly start getting your brand out there as these people start talking about you and your business with their friends, families and colleagues. Not only that, but you will be able to ask them to give you a review that you can use on your website and social media platforms (more on this later).
Now you can start with your friends and family members, but why stop there? With some of the other tips that we will go through, you can start to offer freebies to other potential clients, who in turn will share how amazing you and your business are. It is a ripple effect that has the potential of landing you those big-time customers that every business owner dreams of.
Why not get creative with your freebies as well! I once did a Christmas advent calendar where I had different offers and freebies that were up for grabs on the 24 days leading up to Christmas. This is a great way to give a little back to some of your faithful customers, as well as potentially bringing new ones in.
Finally, your freebie can still earn you money by offering extras for an additional cost. For example, I gave away a basic wedding day photography package that included the wedding and portraits to a lucky winner during that Christmas advent promotion. But if they wanted me to be there whilst the bride got ready, or if they wanted me at the reception and beyond, then those additional services were all chargeable. They still get a huge discount, and you can still earn a wage. Now there is no guarantee that everyone will always want the extras and that's fine because as I have already mentioned they can still spread the word and will hopefully come back themselves in the future. But if they do, well then that's a bonus!
Google My Business
Now you are no doubt aware that businesses can be found on Google, but did you know that you can do the same with yours, FREE of charge. And any form of free advertising has got to be worth considering!
Hubspot posted a blog with 16 different statistics that show how important local SEO (search engine optimization) is. Here are just a couple of them to give you an idea of how people use the internet and Googles searches:
4 in 5 consumers use search engines to find local information. (source: Think with Google).
"Near me" or "close by" type searches grew by more than 900% over two years. (source: Chat Meter).
46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. (source: GoGulf).
97% of people learn more about a local company online than anywhere else. (source: SEO Tribunal).
Research makes it clear that the internet has the potential to be your businesses best friend and promoter. And to emphasise the point even more, just consider how often you turn to Google to find local business, products and services that you require.
All you need is a Google account, which again is free to set up if you don't have one, and then you simply go onto Google my business, click manage and follow the steps on the screen. Once you have completed the online set up you will be sent a verification code via the post which you have to log back into Google my business to put use the code to verify your account. Then Google will finish the procedure there end and voila, you have set up your business on Google.
Now to get the maximum out of being on there, and to push yourself up the list on the Google search page, you will need to optimise your account. I will share more on this during another post so make sure you don't miss out!
It is no exaggeration to say that I could write post after post about social media platforms, how to and why you should use them and how to maximise their benefits. For this blog, I am simply going to share with you a sweeping and general overview of their potential benefits.
Here are a few statistics from Oberlo:
Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.5 billion social media users worldwide (Emarsys 2019).
With over 2.32 billion active monthly users, Facebook remains the most widely used social media platform.
An average of 3 hours spent per day on social networks and messaging (Globalwebindex, 2019).
There are so many more statistics available giving you so much insight into its benefits as well as info on which generation uses social media the most. All helpful and vital information that you need to know if you're going to capitalise and not get left behind.
Now which platform(s) you use will depend on your brand and target audience and even your skillset. For instance, YouTube is an amazing platform used and watched by millions, but creating engaging video content and doing all the necessary work behind the scenes to ensure that your amazing content gets viewed is a lot of work. You might not be someone who is comfortable in front of a camera, or you may not be able to create lots of content that will boost your brand and promote your products and services.
As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, I can benefit from using Pinterest but there maybe some of you that would be able to benefit solely from Facebook or Instagram and that Pinterest would be of little benefit to you. Ultimately, you have to decide what works for your business initially and then as time goes on, monitor and analyse which platform you're receiving the most traffic from. I will be posting more content about the different social media platforms in the future, giving specific tips and ideas to boost your followers and how to turn those followers into customers.
Build a website
Building a presence on social media is brilliant, and although there are cases where people use Facebook like a webpage, the majority of you will be missing out without your very own website. We have already seen statistics on how many people search for companies via Google, and so you must make your presence known. All of your social media platforms should funnel into this main hub, where you have complete control of its design and can showcase all of your reviews, products, offers, galleries and most importantly who you are and why they must use your business services!
Websites, when correctly done, look professional and have a major impact on your potential customers. Check these stats out:
75% of consumers admit to making judgements on a company's credibility based on the company's website design (Sweor).
8 out of 10 customers are likely to engage with your business if it has a website (small business web.co).
30% of consumers won't consider a business without a website (Blue Corona).
There are many more statistics that express how important having a website is. There are also many others about how your website design and workability affects customer retention and approval. If you are interested in knowing more about this then keep an eye out for the upcoming blogs in the future where I will be addressing these statistics and what they mean for your business.
There are many website builders out there that enable you to build and design your own free of charge and of course, there is always the option that you pay someone to do this for you. With Wix, you can take advantage of their simple to use templates and drop and drag tools which take away so much of the stress and enable you to build your very own website yourself. I will be doing a tutorial on this in the future on YouTube and will also post a blog giving you tips and inspiration of how to use their website builder, as well as a review on their services, so keep your eyes peeled.
Write a blog
Now having a website does not instantly mean that anyone will be able to find you. To make sure that you don't get lost in cyberspace, you need to push up your SEO rankings. To put it in the simplest of terms, the reason SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is important is that it's all about the ways you get more traffic to your website by ranking higher on Google, Yahoo, Bing and any other search engine.
For example, if someone typed in Photographers near me, the likelihood is that there is more than one. In fact, it's quite likely that there is an awful lot of Photographers near this particular person, and so you want to get your name on the top of the list, or at least as close to it as possible.
67% of all clicks go to the first five organic results (data box).
Just put yourself in your potential customer's shoes for a minute. You search for whatever service you desire on Google, let's say a photographer again and up pops a list of a couple who have paid to be there, followed by the google maps image (from Google my Business!) with another few options on it. If they have 4/5 star reviews, would you click on them or scroll down for a minute or 2 until you fancied picking one?
Now of course if there was a specific style of photography that you was looking for then perhaps you would scroll down to see if there were any companies with descriptive subheadings, such as offering light and natural photography, but again most people will initially pop those keywords in their search bar meaning their list will already be prioritised to their specific request. This is why it is so important to optimise your Google my Business account and to ensure you boost your websites SEO ranking by having your specific keywords on your website!
Now I'm drifting a little off topic but you must have an understanding of why SEO is important to understand why I am telling you to launch a blog. I will be sharing far more detail about SEO rankings in general at another time, but for now, I want to tell you that writing a quality blog on a regular and consistent basis is a great way to boost your SEO rankings.
Blogs that are full of information, statistics, tips, tricks and anything else that is useful to your customers. So it's not enough to write thin blogs which lack quality information and that are not going to be very beneficial to your readers. It also has to be relevant content. Being a photographer and a business owner enables me to write about aspects related to my business. I can't start writing blogs about recipe hacks, or health and fitness tips and training courses when they're completely irrelevant to my target audience. That would not benefit my audiences and it won't benefit my SEO.
So make sure your content is relevant and worthwhile. Don't simply write to boost your SEO ranking, but write to sincerely benefit your audience. And remember that as you show your target audience that you're someone who is informative about your trade and industry, you will naturally build up a report and become someone that they trust and will be happy to use and recommend your services.
Getting your blog out there to your target audience is also possible through your social media platforms. You can advertise up and coming blog posts, as well as letting your audience know what you already have available for them to go check out. What's more, you can ask them to share your post with others that they know who would also benefit from reading it. This is only an introductory piece informing you why you should write a blog. There is so much I could say and will say in the future regarding this, such as how to keep people retention, how to write a good blog, how to get backlinks and the importance of them and also how to link your blog posts together to keep readers engaged on your site for longer. For now, I hope it has at least given you some insight into why blog posts are an important part of marketing your business.
Create an email list
So you have a website built and have established regular traffic to it through your blog. You also have established a presence on your chosen social media platforms. So how do you turn your visitors into customers? How do you start to build more personal connections? Well, this is where an email list comes into play.
An email list is simply a list of your contact emails, which you can use to send regular, personal and relevant content to your potential customers. You can also use as a method of engaging old and existing customers to continue or reuse your services. You can do this through promotional emails, or a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly newsletters. Newsletters are also a way of keeping your customer base engaged in your blogs, YouTube videos, and other regular content and competitions that your post online.
Talking of newsletters, why not join the Georgia-Beth photography family to never miss out on any of my latest content and exclusive offers.
There are many statistics out there that show why emailing is still one of the best ways to build a successful business. Here are just a few to check out:
Oberlo posted – In 2019, global email users amounted to 3.9 billion users (Statista, 2020).
Hubspot posted – 80% of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention. (Emarsys, 2018).
Business 2 community posted – 60% of small businesses say their email marketing strategy is effective or very effective. (Aweber).
Hatchbuck posted – Conversion rates for emails are higher than social media, direct traffic, and search. (Smart Insights).
Now although I have alluded that you should starting using an email list once you have got yourself established, it's also true that you should start using one from the get-go. Existing customers are the best customers and are more likely to reuse your services as you have already built up a rapport. I will do a more specific and separate blog on ways to re-engage your existing customers in the future, but I just wanted you to be aware that I'm not suggesting you only wait to use an email list once you have done all of my prior suggestions first.
The reason I'm writing about email lists after the section of websites and blogs is that I'm specifically addressing how you turn those readers and site visitors into potential customers. It's all to do with what's known as marketing funnels. If you have a new visitor stumble across your blog you want them to, first of all, stay on your site for as long as possible, but even more importantly you want them to become a customer. Remember that unless you're a non-profitable company, you aim to build a successful and profitable business so that you can pay your bills, spoil your loved ones and enjoy some luxuries of life. How can they become customers? Well, initially it's by giving you their contact details.
Once you have their contact email you can introduce yourself on a more personal level through a welcome letter and when appropriate share with them any relevant offers and services that you think they may be interested in.
Now that all sounds great, but why would they give me their contact details? Well, this is where lead magnets come into play which ultimately means you need to offer them something of worth for them to give you something of worth. This could be a free gift, an exclusive sign up, a discount or even offering ongoing exclusive offers. And as we said earlier, who doesn't love a freebie or an offer? Remember that not everyone will become a customer, but the majority will at least help get your name out there as they share you and your content with others.
There are so many different lead magnet ideas which I will share more exclusively at another time, but the essence of it is that you have to offer them something of benefit for their details. There is also the question of how and when you offer this benefit as you don't want to be pushy but at the same time you don't want to be so laid back that you miss an opportunity of connecting with someone. Again, I will be addressing this further in another post, so don't miss out on that or any other of my latest content and offers by joining the Georgia-beth photography family.
Leaflets & Posters
This is one that could have been nearer the top of the list and there is no reason why you shouldn't try some from the time you initially start up your business, but as I mentioned earlier, many people won't even consider your business unless you have a website. And if you have a website that doesn't have reviews on it and, if applicable, a portfolio of your work, then the chances are that you'll lose the potential customer. That's why I would prioritise and work on your social media and web presence.
It is debatable whether leafleting is as effective in comparison to digital marketing and it will ultimately depend on your business and target market. The costs can vary a lot, although you can, of course, keep costs down by designing and distributing them yourself, but either way, there is still a physical cost to printing and ordering them. And even if you walked to distribute them, it will take you time and in business time is money. So you definitely have to weigh up whether it's an avenue you wish to venture down initially or at all or whether you'd prefer to build a social media presence beforehand which of course you can do for free. Yet there are clearly still many benefits to leafleting otherwise major companies wouldn't do it. So that's what we will focus on.
So here are some of the benefits of leaflets and posters:
Can be very cost-effective.
They can include lots of information.
Allow you to target a specific audience.
Visually pleasing and captivating.
Cost-effectiveness is key to every area of your business so it's good to know that leafleting can be extremely cost-effective. It costs less per word for a leaflet than it would for a paid digital advert and it is generally a lot cheaper in terms of distribution than it would be to pay for a digital campaign for a short period of time. There are so many companies out there that offer extremely affordable costs per leaflet with discounts available for bulk orders. Cost-effectiveness only becomes relevant if you get business from them, but as a means of paid advertising, leafleting is a cheap option with a decent potential return.
As the leaflet is a cost-effective way of getting more words onto a page, it goes without saying that you can pile plenty of information for your potential customer to read all in one place. This is one of the greatest aspects of a leaflet, and when designed properly, this can enhance the chances of you getting a customer lead from the leaflet.
Data and Marketing Association state on their website that 89% of consumers remember receiving a door drop mailing – more than any other marketing channel and that 45% keep leaflets on a pinboard or in the kitchen drawer. Pro-Active Marketing quote Data and Marketing Association saying that 79% of recipients either keep, pass on to a friend, or glance over the contents of a leaflet distribution item.
With figures like that, it is no wonder why so many still
use this market strategy.
Leafleting also allows you to target specific demographics. You want business people, go to the tube station and hand them out. You want shoppers, go to the shopping centre. You want families, young people, old people or whatever other demographic you are seeking to reach out to, leafleting allows you to go reach them more explicitly. If you want your business to come from your local area or a particularly wealthy area, then leafleting enables you to specifically target them, and this way you know that they are definitely receiving your advertising.
Finally, leafleting is a way that you can get creative, showcase some of your work and present an interactive piece that with be visually appealing and hopefully captivate your reader's attention. And considering that about 65% of the population are visual learners and remembering some of the other stats we looked at a minute ago, leafleting is a great way to engage your target audience. You can use a 'wow' offer to draw them in before strategically and creatively informing them how great your business is and why they should use you.
Bear in mind that some companies will swear by one marketing strategy and another will say it is a waste of time. With everything you do to market your business, it's worth preserving for a reasonable period of time so that you can analyse whether or not something is or isn't worthwhile and beneficial.
Something also worth remembering is that sometimes it can boil down to luck as much as it does hard work. Maybe you meet a contact through your kid's school or sports club. Or you could get chatting to someone at a wedding that you were invited to. My point is that you could get your breakthrough leafleting or it could come through a day to day situation that has nothing to do with work at all. You could get 1 major customer from leafleting that continues to use your services for the duration of your working life and 100 one-off customers from social media. Or you could get 50 jobs through leafleting but it was from a lead generated by your blog that you got that customer that took your business from being a one-person team to you hiring staff. So do what works for you and your business, try different things and monitor your progress.
Connect with other businesses
Teamwork makes the dream work and as they say, 2 heads are better than one. Well, the same often goes with business. I'm not saying that you can't be a sole trader and that partnerships are better. But what I am saying is that connecting with other business is a great way to boost your business reputation and audience. Now, this is something that you could potentially do straight away if you already have connections, and it is something that as time goes on should organically develop anyway. But it is also something that is worth proactively seeking out throughout your time in business. Generally the bigger presence and reputation your business has the bigger the companies you'll be able to approach, but don't underestimate how beneficial it can be linking with new up and coming businesses as well.
There are many ways of doing this and some of it will be down to what business sector you're in and what marketing strategies you use. For example, as wedding and lifestyle photographer it means that I could connect with other photographers to support each other and even put work each other's way if there's a job that either one of us is unable to do. Maybe I already have the date booked up with another wedding or I'm away on holiday and visa versa. As I was already unable to do the job I'm not losing out on anything and in return, work may come my way through similar circumstances. I could also connect with wedding venues, cake makers, florists, wedding dress shops, suit providers, tailors etc. etc. These would all fall into my line of work and we could benefit one another in numerous ways and open each other up to a wider audience.
But the same is true that I could still benefit from connecting with businesses outside of my field. For example my local gym. I could provide them with some headshots for their website and they could tag and link me in so that my name gets advertised to their audience. It may not be a field that I operate in but they will still have customers that want to use both the gym and a photographer. I will be posting a more specific blog for wedding and lifestyle photographers called, Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer: Extra useful tips to promoting your business, but for now I want to introduce this tip for all of you regardless of what your business is.
Much like using lead magnets to build an email list, connecting with other business often means that you need to offer them something in return for them partnering up with you. You could offer them a free prize for them to do a give away draw for their loyal customers. This makes their customers happy, especially the winners, at no major cost to them as you are supplying the prize, and it also gives you some publicity.
Often it's worth offering them something of benefit with no request in return. Perhaps you have mentioned them in a blog and have given them a brilliant review or you have written one that may be useful to them. Contact them to let them know that you have written it and they can use it if it is of benefit to them. A lot of the time they are more than happy to market you in one way or another and it goes a long way offering people something for nothing.
Depending on what you're offering, and hoping to gain in return, you have to be careful not to violate any guidelines and policies. For example, offering something for a link to, or a review of your blog would violate Google's Webmaster guidelines, so be sure to check that whatever it is that you're doing falls within the relevant guidelines for correct procedures. Google, Facebook, YouTube etc. all have there own terms and conditions for a whole range of things so you need to be aware of them and remember that they may be different for each platform.
Whoever you connect with, make sure that they are reputable companies. The last thing you want it to link with a business with a bad rep as this will often be transferred over to you. This is why it's important that you keep an eye out for any major changes or developments that take place with any businesses that you're linked with. Sometimes new owners come in, or sadly sometimes businesses that start off well drop in reputation for one reason or another. To give you an extreme example, if all of a sudden they were accused of being involved in a scandal, then it's maybe worth cutting ties with them. Obviously this would be a personal decision based on your relationship with them and whether you feel the accusations had credibility, but the point I'm trying to get across is no links would be better than links to businesses with a bad rep.
Also, make sure that they have a customer base that you could also utilise. I'm not saying that there is no-no point in spending time building and establishing relationships with businesses that have no benefit to you, but I am saying that your time would be better spent building links elsewhere. Of course, you never know what may come from a connection and that's why I'm not saying never build relationships with businesses that may not provide you with opportunities as they could happen to put you onto your next customer, but as this blog is about getting your business established and you brand out there, my advice to you would be to focus on those that a more likely to provide you with leads and get your brand known to potential customers within your target market.
Volunteer at events
This is something so many overlook. It can fall into a couple of the sections above, such as giving away freebies and connecting with businesses but this tip is more targetted at charity events, summer fates, free auctions and any other community-based event.
The added bonus to this option is that you can use your business to help support a charity or event of your choosing. Maybe you want to help out at your local animal rescue centre because of your love for animals. By offering your services for free, or even just a helping hand, you have the opportunity to connect with a wide array of potential clients.
Maybe a local event or charity is looking for prizes for their draw. On numerous occasions, I have given a voucher for a 1-hour photoshoot as a free prize for a local raffle. It helps the event and as a by-product, I end up with a connection which could become a returning customer or/and a brilliant review which helps build up my credibility and helps get my name out their with their family, friends and other associates. You may get additional links through the event as people ask about you and your business. Again with the example of the raffle, sometimes your business name is announced as one of the providers of their prizes, or you're mentioned on the raffle tickets themselves. There are numerous different ways that offering your self or your service (or both), could benefit getting your name established in other circles. You'll obviously make connections with the events team or manager as well and this could widen your circles even further.
School fates or other local summer fates are always on the lookout for support from the public and by offering your services you can be a great help to them and build links with others. I have been asked endless times for donations for raffles and generally, people offer the same things: bottles of wine, chocolates, bubble bath etc. So you offering them something different not only adds to their list of prizes, but it also gives it some variety and potentially even the wow factor. And imagine, if you're the big prize in the draw, everyone is listening to hear if they've won it so you may get some others checking your business out afterwards even if they didn't win.
Remember that you can offer a prize which has the option to add bits to it. I'd always advise that the prize is good in itself – there is nothing worse than winning a prize only to find out it will cost you a bomb to really benefit from it. In the photography industry, this happens a lot. People get a free shoot but have to pay to get the pictures. But if, for example, I was to give someone a free 30min shoot with an option to increase their time to an hour at an additional cost, then at least if they opted out they are still getting something of worth.
Giving back, in my opinion, is an important aspect of business and helping communities is something on my heart anyway, and I try putting myself in the shoes of the customer – or in the case the winner. You want their experience to be amazing and them to remember that time they won this amazing prize, especially if you hope that they'll come back and recommend you to others. What you don't want is people feeling like they have been forced into buying something and wishing they had just won the bottle of wine!
Question and answer sites
I'm not going to elaborate on this too much, but this is another way that you can get your name out there and to promote your business and services. Sometimes there are specific sites that are tailored to your industry which means you can be more involved in your niche market, although sometimes your service is to the wider public and as such, the wider and more well-known sites can also come in handy. I'm talking here about sites such Quora, Yahoo!Answers and Reddit.
The idea is that you go on these sites and answer questions in the hope of driving traffic to your website or other social media platforms where they can either subscribe to your channel, mailing list etc. or even jump straight in and book your services. It has numerous other benefits as well when done correctly and consistently. For instance, you can build up your credibility again as people will read your answer and see that you're someone who knows their stuff. As an added bonus to this, if your answer gets viewed and voted up lots it could eventually appear first on a google search. This is one way of boosting your SEO and if your brands' keywords are used along with links to your content, whether that is on your website or YouTube channel etc. then it can boost your overall SEO as well.
Again you need to remember that this needs to be relevant to your business if this is going to be of use. I may no something about baking or parenting but if I go and answer questions relating to those fields and then send them to my photography website, it's going to be a little strange and you will probably be penalised for trying to spam SEO links.
If you decide to go down this avenue I must emphasise that it can take time and you generally have to be really consistent with it. I have put it further down my list as it is, in my opinion, not as vital as some of the tips I've mentioned above. All opinions are subjective and will always be affected by someone's outcome, so as with everything analyse the effectiveness of this and check to see how much traffic and business you get from doing it to see whether it is or is not beneficial to you. Also, it's worth saying that just because it is right now doesn't mean it will be in the future or visa versa. Building a business is always about accessing goals, making new ones, and learning as much as possible along the way. Times change, and so do people and their methods of searching for businesses so always keep ahead of the game where you can and be ready to make the jump to new means of advertising when necessary.
Now I've put this way down the list at number 11 because I have set out this list in a way that someone starting with a minimal budget can start to build their brand reputation and promote their business for the least or no cost at all. I would also suggest, as previously mentioned, that you want to build your brand and it's credibility and that sometimes you may get people interested but because of the lack of a website, a reasonable amount of reviews or a lack of a portfolio, sometimes people won't use you. So paying for advertising could be a cost that would be better spent at a later date when you have some of those things in place. Obviously a lot of this has to do with your budget, your niche and target market. Some of the tips I have shared do have costs attached to them, but here I want to explicitly look at the benefits of paying for advertising space in things such as magazines or on the internet.
There are numerous different avenues that you could go down when it comes to paid advertising. Some are in a position to pay a one-off fee to have signwriting on their vehicle, at which point they are always advertising on the road and within the specific area that they're working in. Others pay to have their business in their local paper or magazine. There are websites such as trustatrader.com or checkatrade.com where you pay a membership fee to be advertised on their sites. Others sites are free to use but you have to pay for leads to potential clients that are looking for particular services. Then there are pay-per-click adverts on search engines such as Google or Bing as well as on your social media platforms such as Facebook.
There is a lot that could be said on this topic and in the future, I will do some more explicit posts with tips on how to maximise and use specific advertising as they can differ a little from one another and it also depends on what you're trying to achieve through the specific ad. For example, you may use one means of advertising to get people to sign up to your newsletter and email list and another to sell your services. Being aware of who you're trying to target and why, is important in deciding which method would be best suited for the specific advert that you are wanting to put out there. For instance, I may want to try to target engaged couples to advertise a wedding photography package offer that I have on. Putting an ad like this in a local magazine may not be as beneficial as using a digital one that I can use keywords to help it get out to my target audience. Instead, I may be better putting a general advert in the magazine advertising all the services that I offer, such as weddings, portraits, business headshots etc.
Once again it is paramount that you analyse your progress with each advertising campaign and monitor which adverts worked best and try to ascertain why. As this field is wide and the statistics associated with paid advertising is generally related to specific means of advertising and type of advert I will save such details for another time. All I will say for now is that it is definitely an avenue worth considering and reconsidering at different times.
There are some that will say that they never have had to pay for advertising in their life, but not everyone falls into this bracket and it's also worth remembering that not everyone has the same goals and therefore some may be content with the workload that they have whereas others may want and need a lot more. Some only need enough work to cover their day's money but maybe you need to pay for premises or other necessary staff. The point is everyone's business is different and so while it is definitely worth listening to others views and opinions, you still have to find what is right for your business and your set of goals.
Word of mouth
Now one of the main reasons people say that they don't need advertising is because of word of mouth. That is that all there work comes through recommendations or returning customers. Ultimately this is the goal for everyone, as this is undoubtedly the best means of custom and building a business.
On their blog, Invesp says 'Word of Mouth marketing impression results 5x more sales than a paid media impression and people are 90% more likely to trust and buy from a brand recommended by a friend.'
ReferralRock shares on their blog some of the following statistics:
61% have recommended a local business to someone they know by word of mouth (BrightLocal).
Marketers rated the quality of a word of mouth lead to be 4.28 on the 5 point scale. (Referral Rock).
72% of people get news from friends and family, making word-of-mouth the most popular channel for sharing. (Pew Research Center).
There are so many more figures that indicate just how great word of mouth is, and ultimately this is much a conclusion to many of the other tips and it is one itself. That is because ultimately everything that you do will be judged, and hopefully loved so much that your customers become your advertisers and influencers. They build up your credibility and promote your business to other potential customers and possibly even ones that are seeking out your services.
Statistics really just confirm what we already know. I'm sure you'll agree that if you read 20 reviews from a bunch of strangers that gave a review on a business and then you listened to your friends or close family members review, then you'd be more likely to listen to the person you know and trust. Plus you also have the luxury of potentially seeing some of the businesses work first hand rather than on an online photo.
Having customers that keep on coming back as well is always good for business and for building your brand rep. Check out these statistics from small business trends blog:
The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. The probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
80% of your future profits will come from just 20%of your existing customers.
65% of a company's business comes from existing customers.
It costs 5% more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep a current one.
It costs 16x more to bring a new customer up to the same level as the current one.
82% of companies agree that retention is cheaper to execute than acquisition.
Again the statistics really just confirm what we already know. We all find it so much easier spending money and even paying a little extra to use the service or buy the products off of a business that we know and trust. Sometimes the greatest thing we can do in building a business is think like the customer and ask would I be happy with...
Well there we have it, and to think I've only just scratched the surface. To conclude I just want to say again that every business is different and you may have completely different goals to the next person and that is absolutely fine. Some things are a must in certain businesses and others you can do without. Maybe you just want a business to work around the children, or perhaps you dream of employing thousands. Whatever the case may be, and whether you are just starting out, struggling a little bit at getting your brand promoted or are just looking for some more ideas and ways of doing so, I hope that this has been beneficial to you and that it helps you build your business and achieve your goals.
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I'm always cheering you on.