How to make your business stand out

How to make your business stand out

If you own or operate a small or even a home-based business, you may be wondering how to get the word out about your great product or service. Chances are your advertising budget is slim to none, and you are just about out of creative ideas like walking a tightrope over Main Street or wearing a wooden sign and patrolling the neighborhood.

But there are ways to get your company noticed in positive ways that can increase your client base. Here are a few ideas to try:

1. Offer a volunteer service

Offer one not as an individual, but as a company. For example, if you sell hand-made bookmarks, donate 100 of these at Christmas time to a group of learning-disabled readers at the local elementary school. Not only will you be performing a good deed (which all of us should do), but your name is likely to appear in the newspaper or even among the teachers and students at the school, who may want to send new business your way. Some of them may likewise come to see what other products you can offer. In donating, you have gleaned a substantial dollar amount of advertising.

2. Send a press release

Even if you have never done one, a press release is not hard to write. In short, it is a one-page report on some new or exciting event associated with your company. Examples include adding a new product or service to your existing line, hiring a new employee, expanding services, or moving to a new location. The public needs to know about these changes, and your business will get a shot in the arm every time your name appears in print media.

3. Give a talk

Give a talk at the local Rotary, or offer a free seminar on the value of your product or service in general (not just your brand). The event can be scheduled at the local library or a school and geared toward the corresponding audience. The event can be heralded in a press release in advance or in a news clip afterward.

4. Circulate a newsletter

Start by sending a monthly or quarterly issue to current customers. Post a sign-up sheet at your customer window or include a self-addressed, stamped postcard with orders for those who want to sign up. You may have a small copy and mailing fee for each issue, but this is negligible for the free publicity you will receive by getting your name out to dozens or hundreds of readers on a regular basis. Include occasional discount coupons and announcements of special sales events, and your customers will appreciate this gift even more.

5. Post a Website

You can reserve a domain name and secure a site for probably less than $30 a year. Advertise your products, credentials, testimonials, and improvements at the site to attract new customers who may be searching the Internet for the very thing you offer. Continue to update and expand your site with free tips and helpful ideas. You also can exchange links or banner ads with closely-related organizations and businesses to increase your visibility and attract new customers.

Don’t take for granted the idea that customers know where to find you and will take the time to come looking. Distribute information about your company through several media sources to reach your target audiences.

Don’t take for granted

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