How to Advertise Your Business: Our Top 10 Ways for the Modern Day
Table of Contents
- Make a Name for Yourself Locally First
- Media Relations
- Get Yourself a Website
- Get on Social Media
- Use Google My Business
- Make the Most of Search Engine Optimisation
- Do Digital Advertising
- Do Email Marketing
- Don’t Forget Press Advertising
- Mail Customers Directly
When you’re first starting with a new business there is always a question of how to get the word out that you’re open to the public. With so many people starting their own companies, businesses, and stores in the modern day it’s harder than ever to be heard above all of the noise, let alone be noticed for long enough to get people to buy what you have to sell!
That means you’re going to need to know how to get yourself noticed, and the best way to get yourself noticed when you own a business is to market and advertise. To help you get started with this, we’ve made a list of our top 10 ways to advertise your business in 2022 and beyond. Take a look and see which ones could get your name out there as soon as possible.
1. Make a Name for Yourself Locally First
If you own a small business, it’s often the case that people from your community will be your first customer base. This might seem obvious if you own a shop, café, or restaurant, but even if you’re looking beyond your immediate area to the wider world, you’ll find that there is still an implicit attachment to where you are from and where your business was “born”.
This is why starting small and working your way up is also often a good way to advertise. You might begin by doing things such as the following:
Advertising to Friends and Family
Reaching out to people you know will get the word spread in your earliest days, and help you to build a support network. If friends of friends choose to buy from you and word of mouth spreads further, you might find your customer base steadily growing.
Networking and Working at Local Events
Getting the word out amongst friends and family is a good idea to get yourself off the ground, but a business cannot run on word of mouth alone. Making yourself known in your community will widen the circle of people who are likely to want your product or service. How you choose to do this will depend on the kind of business you have.
If you own a small business that provides services directly to other small businesses or local consumers, then you might want to take a look at attending local networking events. This gives you a chance to meet and share ideas with other local business owners, and build up a list of contacts.
If you make and sell products, you might also consider hosting, attending, or sponsoring events in your community. This might mean doing something like setting up a stall at a market or festival, hosting classes or offering to teach in schools, libraries, and community centres.
This last one helps you to do something that many businesses fail to do in the modern day, but that people still like – it helps you to build a connection with your customers.
Set Up Partnerships
If there is a business in your area that you’re not in direct competition with but serves the same customer base and clientele, you could think about setting up a partnership. Once you’ve established a relationship, you can cross-promote each other’s services through your advertising and social media. This could potentially double the number of people seeing your brand and considering your services.
Get in the Local Press
If your area has its own newspaper, online publication, or even a series of local but widely-read blogs, they’re likely to be looking for some nice, fresh content that they can use. Consider reaching out to them and asking if you can contribute, whether through a thought-leadership piece, a list of resources, or even a newsworthy story about your business. This might even link to an event that you’ve hosted or are going to host for your community, and you can always invite a local writer to attend for free in exchange for a recap.
Someone might even publish a featured write-up if the story you want to tell is compelling enough!
2. Media Relations (also Known as PR)
If you have a compelling story to tell, or even just a bigger budget to spend on getting your name out, you might think about working with a PR specialist, firm, or app to get your stories published in multiple media sources. These might spread to national newspapers and even bigger websites, depending on what you have to say!
Even if you don’t have quite as large a budget to spend, you can still carry out your own PR. Alongside the suggestions already mentioned, you can also publish your own press releases online through certain websites. These press releases can then be picked up by media outlets, who may be able to help you by providing links back to your website.
Of course, choosing the right PR for what you do and the target audience you want to know about your business is always key. If your business is specialised – a trade, for example – you may benefit from being seen in trade magazines based in that industry. Meanwhile, if you’ve got a local shop, restaurant, or café to advertise, then local publications will be better.
Working with a PR Specialist
You may also be worried about reaching out to journalists and potentially saying the wrong thing or contacting the wrong person. If this is the case, talking to a PR specialist or agency might be the best idea, as they will:
- Be able to advise you on the best places for your stories to go
- Be able to advise you on how to pitch stories to journalists
- Have experience in dealing with journalists
- Have experience in identifying where the stories are in your business and what you do
- Provide you with original content for your website
3. Get Yourself a Website
The most important thing a business can have in the modern world is a website. No matter how traditional or old-fashioned you may want your brand to appear, prospective customers will want to be able to find you online. Even if they can find you through social media, it is likely that they will still want to be able to find a website that they can look at themselves in their own time. It’s an easy way to promote your business around the clock, whether you’re online or not!
Simply having a website that displays contact information and tells your audience what you sell won’t be enough, though. You will need to make sure your website looks as professional as possible and is optimised to ensure it can be seen by audiences looking for what you want to sell. We will talk more about the former here, and the latter at a later point.
Making Your Website Look Professional
Your website should be a reflection of your brand’s personality, as well as telling your customers who you are and what you can provide. It should display the distinguishing features of your brand – if you have a company logo or colours, these should feature in the design. You should also make sure the content you have “speaks” in the voice you want your brand to have, meaning that everything you write on the website’s pages should be read in the tone of voice that best suits your customer base. For example, if you work in high-end recruitment your website content may be written with a more formal, industry-specific tone than if you owned a clothing business targeting people in their early to mid-20s.
Paying for Your Website
There are free solutions available online to get a website up and running for your business, but it’s almost inevitable that you will have to move on from these as your business grows. A paid website with a domain name, a “next level” professional look, and the ability to scale and add features as needed are all part of the next step, and will help you as your business gets bigger.
4. Get on Social Media
Social media is one of the easiest free ways to advertise a small business, and gain a following that will help to make it bigger. The most popular social media sites for businesses are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but you can also consider Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube if your business could benefit from images and video content.
Advertising on Facebook
As the most popular social media site in the world, Facebook should be your priority for keeping in touch with existing customers and inviting in new customers from social media. How Facebook can help to promote your business will vary depending on the type of business you have, but at a very basic level you should begin by doing the following:
- Create a Facebook business page with your business information and CTA
- Use Facebook events to promote and maximise attendance to your events
- Run Facebook Live sessions, featuring anything from tutorials related to certain products or services that you sell to snippets of a day in the life of your workplace
- Make sure you’re making use of Facebook advertising, as this allows you to reach highly-specific audiences by targeting audiences based on their profile information
Advertising on LinkedIn
Generally considered the social media for businesses, LinkedIn offers its users more than just a place to show off their CVs. You can also expect to network with the kinds of people you want to do business with. These might be potential clients or customers, partners, or just other people it will be useful to know in the industry or sector you work in. The people you want to buy from you can view your profile and the profile you’ve set up for your business, finding out what they want or need to know about the company before they decide to get in touch.
It’s also possible to promote your business indirectly on LinkedIn by providing expert perspectives and opinions during group discussions. You can even share relevant links to content on your website, though it’s important to ensure that you are not always promoting just your own content.
Advertising on Twitter
Twitter is a good social media site to use if you’re aiming to target younger audiences, particularly those around the ages of 18 to 24. Obtaining and maintaining a Twitter account is free as well, so you won’t have to worry about setting aside any budget to keep it running. However, it will require some work on your part, or on the part of a social media manager, to keep it active and ensure your business builds a following.
Regular posting, which experts suggest for Twitter should mean between 1 and 5 tweets a day, will help to keep your brand “alive” on the platform. Using the most relevant hashtags for what you are talking about and that are related to your industry is also more likely to get your posts noticed by the Twitter users you want to target – the people who are more likely to be potential customers. Depending on what you do, you may also want to include pictures and video content.
You may find that some company Twitter accounts post between 50 and 100 tweets a day. Nothing is preventing you from doing this as well if you have the time, but it isn’t necessary to leave more important things to tweet.
Advertising on YouTube
As the most popular video platform in the world, YouTube offers multiple routes for advertising your business. The first is perhaps the one that comes to mind when you think of a platform for posting video content: posting video content for your business. Video content is one of the easiest ways to advertise because it is a passive form of media. This means audiences only have to watch, without doing anything else, and they will take in the information that you are presenting to them.
Doing this also allows you to build trust with your audiences and gain a higher level of engagement, especially as you can pick and choose what video content you post. You can advertise, educate, and keep and build a connection with your customers, all by choosing the right video. It’s even possible to embed YouTube video content on your website, so you can pair a relevant video with a blog post talking about a particular subject.
Getting high-quality, professional-looking videos produced is not as expensive as it used to be. There are many specialist video production companies available across the UK that can work with you to produce the content you need at a price that suits your budget.
Advertising on Instagram
Instagram has quickly grown to become one of the most popular social media sites in the world, and having an account for your business is a highly-recommended step in making sure your business is sufficiently promoted and advertised. With a myriad of formats for posting, you’ll have your pick of ways to engage your audience. It’s possible to do the following:
- Offer permanent images of the types of products you sell
- Take “behind-the-scenes” images or video content
- Create Stories and Live Sessions for special events you are hosting
- Promote sales and deals, using hashtags to expand the reach of your posts
- Run contests offering free or discounted products or services, generating positive attention and obtaining a list of leads you can reach out to
- Offer advice and tutorials as resources for your audience
These are only a few suggestions as to what you can do with your company’s Instagram account. There are many more you may wish to experiment with that you will find available when you create your account.
Advertising on Pinterest
While Pinterest is primarily used to post photo content, it is possible to upload photos that link back to your company website. This creates an opportunity for you to promote your business and also helps to drive traffic to your website.
If you are an eCommerce business offering products, rather than services, and your target audience is mostly young and female, having a Pinterest account may be of particular use. Pinterest users lean heavily towards a female demographic, making you more likely to be seen by the audiences you want to see what you have to sell.
Advertising on TikTok
The youngest of the social media platforms, TikTok has already surpassed several of its competitors and contemporaries in its number of active users. It’s also an excellent platform for creating video content that uses a lot of special effects, and this content doesn’t have to be tailored entirely toward a younger audience. You might therefore consider using it to create how-to videos, tutorials, and behind-the-scenes content for your business.
To ensure your target audience knows you have created a TikTok account, you may wish to promote your new channel across other networks. This may include through your Twitter profile, Facebook page, or even your YouTube channel – you could have twice as many people watching your videos, from multiple sources!
Joining Online Communities
Joining online communities that are relevant to your business or industry, especially those on LinkedIn and Facebook, is an excellent way to advertise while potentially helping others. Through these groups and communities, you can offer people advice and suggestions when they are having issues or have questions. Naturally, all profile information used should point back to your business when you do this (including having a profile picture that suggests your professionalism – your logo should achieve this).
Making a name for your business in a relevant online community is a fantastic way to build a reputation. It can also often help you make connections with others who work in your industry, and even if an audience member sees your post or comment but doesn’t say anything, they are still likely to remember you.
Collaborating with Influencers
Your business can be part of both a geographical and a niche-based community. Influencers are celebrities within the niche you’ve found for yourself, and are popular, highly respected, and deeply trusted when they say something online. They should also have a large blog or social media following. As a result, getting a mention or a feature from them should promote your business to a large, relevant audience.
This strategy will need careful planning. Before you go to make contact with an influencer, you should take time to familiarise yourself with their accounts across all the networks they use. Comment on, like, and share their content, and ensure that when you eventually approach them you are approaching with a specific ask and something of equal value that they can use in exchange.
For example, you might offer to write a professional guest post for them in exchange for a link back to your website. Alternatively, you can choose to offer them a free sample of products in exchange for a review, or some free classes in a subject that your business specialises in for a review and a mention on their blog or social media.
5. Use Google My Business
Having a Google Business Profile, which is Google’s term for your listing on the search engine, is what allows your business to be seen on Google Maps results and the local section of Google Search results. It also allows audiences to type in your name and location and see information about your business come up in a Knowledge Panel on the right-hand side of the page.
Google is constantly updating and improving search results so they are catered more than ever to a searcher’s location, so having this listing for your business is key. To start promoting, you will first have to verify ownership of your listing through your Google My Business account. Once you have ownership, you can optimise the listing so it shows up higher in the search results and appears for more relevant searches.
If your business is ranking on Google Maps, or showing up in the Local Pack (the list of local businesses shown beneath the map itself), your business will be seen around the clock. You will also be able to publish posts directly to your Google listing, putting further promotions in front of your audience when they are already looking for your products or services.
6. Make the Most of Search Engine Optimisation
You may have the most professional-looking website that you and everyone else thinks looks better than all of your competitors. But this will mean very little if your website isn’t showing up when you look for it on search engines. By carrying out search engine optimisation, commonly shortened as SEO, you will be aligning your business and its content with the ranking algorithm that decides how Google displays websites when people make search requests.
This algorithm has one relatively straightforward function: to provide users with the most accurate and trustworthy results for the query they’ve made. By ensuring your website can reliably offer the answers searchers are looking for, you will stand a better chance of ensuring your website ranks well and shows up in the search results. Essentially, Google will be promoting your business for you by telling potential customers that your website is one of the best they could search.
There isn’t one specific way to carry out SEO. Instead, the process is made up of a range of different tactics that have to evolve and update with Google’s algorithm. These tactics include:
- Regularly producing original, high-quality content (while ensuring the content is readable and not filled with jargon – you are writing for the user, not the search engine)
- Adding and using relevant, industry and location-based keywords within this content
- Adding relevant, tagged images to your content
- Maintaining website security and high load speeds
By using location-based keywords promoting your products or services in the area your business is based, you are also more likely to rank well if someone makes a search enquiry in your area. This is because Google has excellent location-based search results (helped by Google My Business), and the algorithm should pick up that you sell these products or services in this specific area.
Creating a Blog
There are two basic types of pages that audience members are likely to see on your website. These are landing pages (named because they “land” on them when they click on a link that goes through to your website) and traffic driving pages (named because they “drive traffic” into your website). Creating a blog for your website is one way you can ensure you are producing traffic-driving pages.
Some pages can be based around milestones and events in your business, but these are not necessarily what will bring large amounts of traffic to your website. Educational content based around keywords, terms, and searches your customers are looking for is far more likely to bring in audiences who didn’t even know you existed before. They will be compelled to stay, however, by the fact that you are answering their questions.
The more content you produce that’s related to your industry and what you do, the more likely it is that your website will show up in search results when your customers go to look. The kinds of content you may consider producing for your website’s blog include:
- “How to” guides and instructional posts
- Lists of strategies or resources (this post, for example, is a Top 10 resource list)
- Thought-leadership posts
- Q&As or interview write ups with an industry expert
- Examples or template posts
- Guest posts
- Customer testimonials or case studies
- Seasonal posts
If you have written a particularly interesting piece for your blog that demonstrates your company’s professionalism and expertise, you should take the time to share it. This could be on social media, as part of an email marketing campaign, or even as a downloadable guide.
Shared content can be shared by others as well, so there is a chance that your content may be shared on or mentioned on another blog or credible website. This will result in links back to your website or to your social media feeds – it’s almost promoting your business on your behalf.
7. Do Digital Advertising
Carrying out SEO will set your website up to be the most impressive version of itself, but it can take some time for a campaign to have the impact you’re looking for. If you want advertisements and promotions that can offer exposure and have room in your budget, you may consider carrying out digital advertising as well. The primary digital advertising channels are Pay-Per-Click (PPC), display, and paid social, and each can be run across both mobile and desktop devices.
Search (or PPC) campaigns are often run on Google Ads, which is Google’s online advertising network. Google Ads show up at the very top of search results when someone types in a query (they are marked with the word “Ad”), above even organic and local listings.
Google Ads can help you to advertise to an audience while optimising any ad spend to give you the best ROI. PPC campaigns can also be tailored so that they are only shown to audiences who have made a search that is relevant to your specific products or services.
Out of all the search engines available, Google is by far the most popular. This is owed to its control of the largest share of search engine traffic, its high level of flexibility, its ad-building features, and its detailed performance metrics.
If you are more focused on brand awareness (customers being made aware of your business, rather than buying anything from it), you may prefer to use display advertising. The Google Display Network claims to reach 90% of all internet users worldwide and covers a vast network of pages, news sites, blogs, email providers (such as Gmail) and video platforms (such as YouTube).
Users browsing in the Google Display Network may not be ready to buy from you, but you will still be offered the opportunity to pitch your product or service to them. It will even be possible to remarket to users who have already visited your website in the past but didn’t use that time to make a conversion, reminding them of the solutions you can offer to the problems they may still have.
As well as Google Display Network, you might also consider publishers such as Mail Metro Media, as these allow you to advertise across their websites (MailOnline, Metro.co.uk, thisismoney.co.uk, inews.co.uk) using a self-service Ad Manager platform. This helps you reach customers based on factors such as geography, interests, and life stage. It also has a creative builder tool if you don’t have digital assets ready to be published. All you need to do is choose a format and set your budget. Your campaign could be live in as little as 24 hours after this.
Paid Social Advertising
Social media is free to use, but paid content can also have a significant impact on the number of people you reach and eventually drive to your website. Carrying out paid social means assigning a set budget to a post to help boost its reach, allowing it to be seen by a larger audience.
Facebook is a good alternative to Google if you want to advertise your business in a highly targeted way. Setting up ad campaigns targeting users by age, gender, location, job title, interests, and even behaviours can help you to achieve the best results. Your audience will then see text, images, and videos displayed in Facebook stories, in-stream videos, Facebook searches and messages, articles, and the Facebook app.
Using paid social on Facebook, as well as other top social media platforms, also comes with some distinct advantages:
- You will be meeting people on the channels they use most, creating a sense of familiarity
- It’s cost-effective because advanced targeting ensures that ads are only shown to the most relevant audiences
- Content is supported, as your organic posts serve to support sponsored posts
- It helps to build community and brand loyalty around your business by attracting more followers to your accounts
- It will often include a form of analytics, which helps you to know what is working and what isn’t, so you can set your budget accordingly
Hiring an Agency
If you don’t have the time to do digital advertising or SEO, you may consider looking into getting a specialist digital marketing agency to do it for you. For a set budget every month a team of professionals will handle your campaigns on your behalf, writing your copy, looking after the technical health of your website, monitoring Ads, and creating the social media posts that will advertise your business as you want. There are many agencies like this based across the whole of the UK, so you can look online and choose the one that will suit your needs best.
8. Do Email Marketing
According to a poll first conducted in 2012, 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email rather than any other form of communication. Depending on the audience you are trying to reach, this percentage may increase, as it has been reported that 86% of professionals prefer email when communicating for business purposes. CTRs are 47% higher for B2B email campaigns than they are for B2C email campaigns as well, so if you are targeting clients from other businesses you are more likely to see your emails opened.
Email marketing campaigns often see more success because of the following:
- People like to stay informed, which often leads to them constantly checking their emails
- They offer the reader detailed reporting
- It’s possible to segment email lists, so you can more easily target and personalise content for specific audiences
- It offers flexibility, creativity, and ease of use
You can see the number of customers who have received, opened, and clicked on any of the links or offers available in the emails you send them. This gives you an indication of how well your email marketing campaign is performing in terms of engagement, sales, and return on investment (ROI). The data you get back can present you with several actionable insights as well, allowing you to see the most popular products, services, or offers for any specific audience.
Knowing this information can then help you to be more tailored and specific in follow-up emails.
9. Don’t Forget Press Advertising
Alongside sending your local (or even national) press stories about your business, you can also simply advertise your business. As you may have limited room, this should be focused on what you know your customers want and what you want them to know about your service. This also depends on the type of customers you know are likely to see the ad; for example, if you sell porches to be installed on new build properties, a builder may wish to know that the product is quick and easy to install. Meanwhile, a homeowner may want to know how aesthetically pleasing the finished result will be, or how much value it could add to their home.
You may wish to hire a creative agency to help you formulate ideas for this, and once the ideas have been shared you will be able to adapt these for use in other advertising.
10. Mail Customers Directly
While digital forms of advertising have quickly become the norm, as well as the easiest and most popular method of promoting your business, experts still say to never forget or underestimate the power of “snail mail”. How you carry out direct mail advertising will have an impact on how effective it is, though, so it is important to make sure:
- You are using good quality, up-to-date data
- You are sending relevant content to the recipient (you are unlikely to gain new customers advertising school clothes for children to those in their 60s and 70s, for instance)
- You are personalising the content enough that it is made relevant and interesting to the recipient (so that they are more likely to look or to open it)
Direct mail is often more expensive than email marketing, but it also often has a greater impact. If people are not interested in an email subject line, they can easily delete the email itself without reading it. The email may also go in their junk folder and end up missed entirely. Direct mail, on the other hand, is harder to miss and more difficult to throw away without at least reading it once or opening it to see what is inside.
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