Everyone knows that if you don’t talk about your accomplishments and what you do well, particularly in the context of your business, no one else will, but promoting yourself is still a tough thing to do sometimes. I think part of the difficulty is the idea that praising your own accomplishments or talking up your own skills will sound like bragging or make you seem conceited. Another part is simply that running a business requires a lot of time and effort, and promoting yourself can seem like the last thing on which you want to spend your precious time and effort. I also think sometimes people simply don’t know how to promote themselves, and so miss out on opportunities that could be of benefit to their businesses.
Since I promote Ensign Emblem and EnMart for a living, I often get asked for ideas about how a small business could promote itself. If you’re looking to generate some additional promotion for your business or for yourself, here are some simple ideas that can get you started.
Idea 1: Look to the media – local or national – Local media, newspapers, television stations, radio stations or local magazines are often looking for local experts. They’re also looking for filler, so a well written press release will often get published. National magazines are also often looking for business owners to interview for articles. Make sure you know the media players in your industry both locally and nationally and keep your name in front of them. Sometimes doing that is as simple as sending a letter saying who you are and what your areas of expertise are. The worst that can happen is your letter gets ignored. At best, you have a source of good publicity that may only cost you a little bit of time.
Idea 2: Facebook and Twitter – Facebook and Twitter can be very useful if you are mindful about who your follow and you make sure your feed is updated enough so that it stays interesting. Post pictures of your latest work. Answer questions from customers. Give people glimpses into the day to day life of your business. Be human, but be professional. Remember this is a business feed, not a personal feed and craft your posts accordingly.
Idea 3: Testimonials – Testimonials from satisfied customers are a great way to promote your business. Some people simply have a page on their website that shares comments from customers who like their work. Other people ask customers with Twitter feeds or Facebook pages to post their positive comments to their feeds. However it’s done, the idea is to let potential customers know that present customers are satisfied and happy.
Idea 4: Post pictures of your work – A lot of the work that a decorator does is visual. Sometimes, though it pains me as a writer to admit this, words just don’t tell the story. Post pictures of your favorite pieces. Share pictures of just completed work on your Twitter feed and Facebook page. Don’t just tell people what you do, show them.
Idea 5: Help others promote their businesses – Part of being a success is knowing how to network. Whether it’s online or in person, always be ready to help other businesspeople spread the word about their businesses and their successes. Do it simply to help, not with the idea of there being some sort of quid pro quo situation. Odds are some people won’t ever offer the same sort of help to you, but the larger majority most likely will. Soon, without even realizing you were doing it, you’ll have built a network of people who will be happy to promote you simply because they like you and think you do good work, and what could be better than that.
So, those are five of my ideas for how to promote a small business. If you have any additional ideas I’ve missed, please share them in the comments.