Here's a some free and low cost ways of promoting your business to bring in more customers.
1. Word of mouth
Sound so simple but it's the most important advertising you can do. You can spend hundreds of dollars and not do what a happy customer can in promoting your business. Rule #1 keep your current customers happy with good customer service. Rule #2 go right out there and ask your customers to suggest your store to others. This can be done simply by engaging your customers in conversation. You can also offer a referral bonus to them.
- Example of a low cost referral program. Give out business cards as an advertisement for the
program. The customer puts their email address on the back, and gives the card to a friend to come into the store for a discount. You now email the first customer back with a thank you. Offer them a slightly bigger discount for being such a good customer and hopefully bringing in even more new customers. Plus you've started a email list for future online advertising.
- Who knows your hidden away in your small store. How many times do you see a sign of a store near ones you visit now. Your not likely to just walk in for no reason if you don't know who they are and w
hat they sell. How well does your store sign promote what you sell. Toy R Us ,office Max and Petco don't have a problem here do they. Does your sign describe what you sell? Does your sign say Matt's in big letters and Pizza in fine print or the other way around. No one cares who Matt is when they're looking for Pizza.
- Paying to have your name advertised in the newspaper is always important but keep to a budget that works for you. There are low cost ways to just get your name in print and keep in good with the community.
- Contribute to Community fundraisers. Keep to a budget. Make sure you know your name will be listed in journal and fundraising advertisements. Seek out those Charities that would best bring in customers. Ex. if you own a sporting goods store, support local sports clubs. Post it in your store, let your costumers know it. Check with your accountant part or all of the contributions may be tax de
- Join the local Chamber on Commerce.
- I keep hearing 40% of small business don't have a web site. I'm confused as to why not. I can get you one for free, just like this one! You don't have to have a fancy web site that you sell customers from. But you do need the free advertising you can get. Customers used to use the phone book to fi
nd local businesses, now they use Google and other search engines. If you can't find your business easy on google, neither can your customers. If you need help setting up a simple web site I can help you for a small consulting fee. Email me at Kogward@gmail.com for more information.
- Use Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Myspace promote yourself to your friends, friends of friends and so on. More and more people are doing their web searches from facebook. Does your name come up in the results. Look me up I have three blogs I promote. http://theretailconsultant.blogspot.com/ , http://kogwardcollectibles.blogspot.com/
- Most importantly "No Sign, No Sale". Do your customers know its a great deal? Even if your not discounting the price if you have a good deal for the customer let them know. Supermarkets found that putting up compare and save signs work. Show the value in store brands or price compared to other stores. Using in store signs is important to highlight specials but don't over due it, it can look confusing to the customer.
- Flyer's: You don't have to put ads in the newspaper to get the word out. Make your own flyer's, pass them around town, hand them to the other stores in the area, hand them to every customer that
comes in. Use them as bag stuffer to keep your name visible when customers get home. These flyer's should be the same advertising you'd put in the newspaper. If you have a simple word processor on your computer you can make your own.