What is the Best Way to Market a Small Business?
SEPTEMBER 10, 2009
By Darrell Gurney
The avenues vary depending on whether you are brick and mortar product business vs an online information or service business, but in today’s market all roads lead to being known and trusted. For the most part, you catch people’s attention when you’re willing to give before you get. Perhaps it’s an advertising coupon or signage offering free taste tests for your new yogurt shop, or a downloadable free report or e-book from your site, but wooing
folks in with a free product, information, or special discount is the age-old way to get known and trusted for what you have to offer.
Word of mouth, other than your own, is always better than any advertising you can pay for. That’s why testimonials, recommendations, and viral PR—where folks besides you are singing your praises—will always reign supreme. Whether you are looking for a job or a new client, your being known by “the people in the know” (the folks with friends in need) is your access to this form of free advertising called “buzz.” So the question becomes, how do I create “buzz?”
Today’s online social networks are giving folks a voice to create buzz as well as brand awareness. They are being used by all types of small and large businesses, from consultants to “roach-coach” food trucks to even major retailers. These days, people want to feel they are dealing with a person rather than some faceless conglomerate. So the larger social networks are set up with the personal touch, where you can only establish an account as an individual, not a company. Yet, learning how to dive into these networks as a giver, a contributor from your area of expertise, can be one of the most viral ways of becoming known as an “expert” in your field without ever even trying to “sell” yourself or your business. Ask a question, answer some questions, write an article…but begin participating in these venues which offer more reach than any traditional “mailing” could ever garner.
More middle-aged Divas may be blown away by the degree to which younger Divas are able spread word of themselves technologically: social networks, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, etc. Yet, as someone who also spent my teen years on the phone rather than online or texting, I realize, as we all must, that there’s a new game in town. In the old days, a debutante used to “come out” into society through a formalized affair with face-to-face connection. In the world of Deb 2.0, a small business must create awareness of itself by capitalizing on the party of the times: the online places where folks congregate…such as right here in this article.
Here’s a test: how many folks do you think will click on my site below to find out more about my expertise? We’ll see…and I can’t wait to see you here, shining your own expertise beside me!
DARRELL W. GURNEY, executive/career coach and 15-year recruiting veteran, supports folks to make profitable transitions or create thriving businesses. Author of “Headhunters Revealed!” and a personal and business brand strategist, his Backdoor Method™ for networking has helped individuals expand careers and new client circles. Listen to his interview of best-selling “What Color is Your Parachute?” author Richard Nelson Bolles at www.CareerGuy.com/program.