How To Get Free Publicity For Your Small Business in Australia
Every business owner struggles to build a name through public exposure and with the limited budget of SMEs, advertising a business may be difficult. Often when it comes to advertising and publicity it is expected to come at a cost, however, there are a number of methods you can use to publicise your business that don’t need a massive investment
Reasons to publicise your small business in multiple places:
- It increases awareness of your business, products, and services
- Creates more touch points and in turn reaches a broader audience
- Publicity strengthens your business brand
- It can be more affordable than other marketing tactics
- It creates brand credibility
Now that we understand some of the importance of publicity, let’s dive deeper into how to publicise your business, and some of the free options.
Free Publicity for Your Small Business
If you want your business to grow when there’s plenty of stiff competition, consider some of these ways to position it for the better.
1. Create a Website
Creating a website is one of the most important, direct, and prominent ways for your business to get the attention of the market. If the past 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that everyone is online. Business owners and entrepreneurs with no websites will lag behind if potential customer’s can’t find you in the online space.
Having a website helps you share information about your business and the products or services that you’ve got to offer, as well as giving some background about yourself/your business to add a more personal touch which customers like. In addition, you can build a library of blogs where you add other valuable information about the products or services your potential audience should know. And with a further focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you can pick up traffic to your website ‘organically’ which basically means the audience comes to you from a search engine like Google.
Websites don’t need to cost a fortune, and there are plenty of good quality free website builders from which you can build your site.
2. Have A Social Media Presence
Even though social media platforms were originally designed for social interactions between people, today they are a key business-boosting hub. And just like having a website, a business with no social media presence will struggle to thrive in this era.
Creating social media accounts for Small Business on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others gives your business the opportunity to stay in touch with potential clients, enhance brand recognition, and boost your sales.
They’re free to set up and with a bit of time and effort, you can manage them yourself. You don’t need to sign up to all social media sites, instead do some research into what fits best for your type of business and consider the following to get ahead in the game:
- Create a page or business account on multiple social media platforms
- Frequently post on your products and services, but remember it’s not about a constant sales pitch
- Use catchy headlines, captivating posts, have occasional offers, and post pictures to attract customers
- Ensure to include contact information and operating hours in your profile
- Ask for feedback
- Engage with customers by responding to comments. If people leave comments on your posts and they seem worthy of a response, go for it. Remember to not react emotionally to negative comments, but even they provide an opportunity to try and educate people show your knowledge and expertise. This shows you’re engaged with your audience, and helps build like and trust with potential customers.
3. Online Business Directories
Having clear and simple directory listings for your small business is another way to tell the Australian public that you’re open for business. While not as popular as they used to be, they’re a simple way to add another touchpoint for your prospective customers. You can usually include a short blurb about your company, contact information, and add a link to your website.
Submitting your business to the most used free local Australian directories not only helps people find you, but having a link to your site from higher quality directories also helps you get found by Google (which is another aspect of SEO).
4. Search Engine Local Listings
Registering for a Google My Business (and/or Bing Places) account is free and easy and allows you to get a map listing on Google searches, allows for customer reviews, and helps your business appear in Google search results.
If you’ve already got a Google-associated email address, this is a straightforward process. You’ll need to provide a range of details like your business address, website, opening hours, and photos that show your business location, products or recent work. It’s also important to list a few categories that your business falls under.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing is another cost effective way of communicating with customers and increasing sales. Platforms such as Mailchimp can help keep your contacts organised, send bulk emails, and a range of other email marketing tools.
All you need is to invite clients, social media users, and page users to join your mailing list – often through a form on your website or via social media platforms.
Then, you can send and schedule emails to your list updating them on the new services or products you offer, upcoming offers and promotions, and other exclusive deals to new clients or subscribers.
One key to success is ensuring your emails have enticing subject lines that inspire the readers to open the email, and depending on your industry, rather than going straight to a hard sell you should provide value/information within the email which will build up like and trust between you and your customer.
Building a list of contacts is one of the best assets you can have for your business. If you have 50 followers on Facebook but a list of 500 contacts, you should focus your efforts more to your list. If you have a list of contacts, it doesn’t matter if for some reason Facebook gets shut down tomorrow, or your website (in the very unlikely event) your website gets shut down, or social media accounts deleted, you will still have a list of current and future customers you can use.
6. Ask for Customer Reviews
A great way to know customer satisfaction is through reviews – whether that be on Google, Facebook, TripAdvisor etc – or it can be you reaching out through an email and asking a customer generally about their perception of your products and services. It is worth noting not all reviews will be positive, and there are tips to dealing with negative reviews and learning to not become too emotionally involved. A key to success here is responding to reviews online, thanking people for positive reviews, and acknowledging negative reviews.
Blogging is another way to build a successful online presence for your business. It involves posting informative articles to your website, about topics relating to your business. Generally speaking, blogging isn’t for all industries but it does allow you to share your wealth of knowledge which helps build trust between you and your customer. If they trust you they will be more likely to purchase from you. Further to this, blogging also improves your website SEO.
8. Engage in Events
Being engaged in community and industry events is a great way to get your name out there and build your business.
Business owners in the food industry can market themselves by engaging in food festivals and other events that promote their business.
For companies in the tech industry, attending trade shows and expos can be a great way to advertise their services while demonstrating to sell.
9. Word-of-mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth is a huge marketing tool for aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners. Your friends and family can be a real asset by recommending your business. The good reviews they give about your products or services are invaluable. Ensure you always strive to give the best customer experience regardless of whether a customer is dealing with you for the 1st or 50th time.
If there is something a small business owner shouldn’t forsake in the early stages of a business it’s publicity. It’s the first step to tell the world about the presence of your business and offer more information on the goods and services you’re bringing to the market.
Managing your business can be a tall order in the early days, but it’s imperative to put a focus on publicity.
It’s worth noting that the ACCC enforces a number of rules and regulations when it comes to advertising practices and promotion of businesses – so be sure to make sure you’re doing the right thing from the get go.
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