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.