Publicity for small business means managing your customers’ perception of your business. Publicity is another type of advertising which is free advertising. It is very effective approach to promote your business and create positive perception about who you are, what you do and how you help your customers. You do not pay for publicity however you need to come up with creative ideas how to communicate with your current and potential customers through different channels such as newspapers, radio, TV, community events, etc.
For the small business publicity can make a big difference. In other words, publicity is getting your business into the public eye and letting the public know of your products and services.
One way to publicize your business is to write a press release and send it to your local newspaper. It is not hard to write a press release. Press release can be about your new location, new product, your involvement in the community, sponsoring different events and many other topics that people find interesting and informative. When you write a press release make sure you tell the public who you are , what you do, where you are and why people should do business with you.
Who – The name of your business or product the press release is about
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What – Explain what you do and how you are different. Be informative and concise when telling about your business. Keep to the facts.
Where – Make sure you inform the public where you are or how they can contact you. Be specific so people can find you, email you or call you.
When – Include information about your business hours and customer service hours.
Posting business hours in the release will let people know the best times to visit or call you. Be sure to include any information about a Grand Opening if it is relevant. In case of any event related to the press release make sure you explain when the event is and what the best time to visit is.
Extras – Try to add something more than simply selling your business. Be creative and come up with a ways to create interest and offer something so more people will be interested in what you are talking about. Tell them why they should come and visit.
You can use the same approach and submit your press release to radio and TV stations. Make sure to send your press release to the business editors and producers. This is a great way to get more exposure. Just make your information interesting without being wordy.
Getting involved in the community is another way to gain publicity for the business. Participate in a community service project. For example, your business can host a car wash for a local church group or donate your services to a local charity. Donating some of your merchandise to a charity is also a good way to receive publicity. The more you get involved, the more the public will hear about your business.
The Internet is the place to be for any and all businesses. It is very easy to have an Internet presence. Most Internet providers offer free web space. Microsoft Office Live offers free website hosting. They have the site builder and many templates to help you build a great site. Another site that offers low cost hosting is Godaddy.com.
They also offer tools to build your website. If you are the adventurous type, you can do a web search by typing in “free websites.” This will get you a large number of responses. Just make sure to read very carefully all the terms and conditions.
Also on the Internet you can join different forums such as ivillage. Face book and My Space are also good avenues for publicity. There are many such social networking sites available. Sites such as Linked-In or Jobvanna can get you great exposure.
Networking with other retailers or service providers is another way to get your business noticed. Joining business-networking groups such as Business Network International (BNI) can give you great local exposure. These groups pass business information between its members. They also have the advantage of exclusivity. In other words only one business per category is able to be a member of the group at any given time.
You can also check with your local Chamber of Commerce for information concerning other business-networking groups in your area. Joining your local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau is a great idea. The local chamber often hosts get-togethers for its members.
Writing articles for electronic magazines is another idea. You can write articles about your area of expertise and add information at the end of the article that leads the reader to your website. Writing How-To articles and posting them on sites that host such articles is another method of exposing your expertise and business.
Use the local media to help you become the go-to person in your area. Cultivate relationships with reporters. Offer suggestions on stories in which you have the knowledge and expertise. Get on your local early morning news shows by tying in your service or product to a story they are covering.
Advertising and publicity is an essential part of your business. It is not always easy to get free publicity for small businesses but it is well worth the effort. Remember: Advertising in good times is smart. Advertising in hard times is absolutely essential. Many small businesses fail for lack of advertising and publicity.