An integral part of business is promotion. However, this is a very broad term that includes hundreds of actions a company can take to raise awareness of its existence among consumers, as well as to persuade potential customers to buy. Small companies and start-ups are often looking for ways to promote themselves that don’t require spending too much time and resources. It’s understandable, as long as it’s a transitional stage, but over time more marketing will be needed one way or another. However, it is important to make a proper plan first.
How to prepare for marketing activities?
It is not enough to simply run ads on social media or start sending out advertising messages to random people (the latter action is illegal, by the way) to effectively promote a company online. Operating in the dark has almost zero chance of success, and may end up burning through the budget. To make the best use of company money, marketing should be planned, starting with trying to determine the target audience.
This is nothing new, but every product or service caters to a certain undefined target group. It is possible, and even necessary, to try to define this group, but we will never be sure that we have succeeded in realizing this intention one hundred percent. By running an accounting office for companies, you naturally narrow down the group, but there are still many unknowns to be discovered. Who will benefit most from your services: small or large companies? Maybe you specialize in serving companies in a particular industry? Maybe you have the background and the right staff to provide financial advisory services as well? To best identify your target audience, you need to answer many similar questions.
If you have a local business combined with an online store, you can still sell all over the country and even abroad – if you decide to go online. Nevertheless, it is this local market – the people living closest to it – that will matter most. Try to diagnose the needs of people who already come to your company – pay attention to what they lack and focus on the elements they particularly appreciate.
How to promote a company offline?
There are many methods by which you can increase visibility and promote your business. Here are some of them:
If you run a sales or service outlet, you need to get noticed. Ensure proper exposure with a signboard or advertising banners. Show off your logo and make sure all elements match the color scheme you selected earlier.
Also consider buying advertising space – billboards, posters, on bus stops or cars. Choosing the right advertising medium is of great importance and depends primarily on your target audience and what you are selling. The location of outdoor advertising is also not insignificant. Advertising a car dealership next to a highway is probably a good idea, but announcing a new Porsche model at a bus stop is unlikely to draw too many customers to the dealership.
Participation in events
To take care of the company’s promotion in the local market, it is worth participating in the community. Exhibiting a booth at City Days, sponsoring sports competitions, helping to organize cultural events or supporting schools – these are all initiatives that, first of all, will show people that your company exists and is close by, but will also affect the image of your company. If what you offer can be part of the daily lives of local residents – for example, you run a bakery, sell gardening supplies or manufacture windows – you can count on people remembering your business and being reminded of it at a crucial moment, that is, when a shopping need arises.
A presence in the regional press, radio or television is another step to reinforce the impression of familiarity. A resident of the locality in which you operate will certainly think more warmly about using a company located in the area than a company from the other end of Poland.
It’s also worth starting with local media for another, more mundane reason: advertising costs are generally much lower than for the more recognizable national media. Working with a regional advertiser can also turn into a long-term partnership, allowing your company to negotiate not only a good price, but also more tailored terms.
Discounts, multi-packs, loyalty programs
All of the techniques mentioned certainly sound familiar, as they are also not unique in themselves. These are simply proven mechanisms that make it easier for potential customers:
- learning about the offer – for example, discounts for new customers or for the first order,
- making a purchase decision – a reduced price for a product when you buy several items usually works out satisfactorily
- brand loyalty – a properly designed loyalty program will certainly help, rewarding regularly returning customers with discount coupons, free products or services, or even permanent discounts.
Promoting your business online – advertising on social media and more
Even the best promotional strategy, limited only to offline activities, is almost doomed to failure (although not in all cases). If you want to promote a local business, you should consider Internet marketing from the beginning.
There are three elements that make it worth your time and resources to advertise on the Internet:
- First: it is the cheapest. At the same time, this does not mean that it is the easiest. Anyone can promote themselves on the Internet, which is both an opportunity and a threat. It’s also easy to burn through your budget trying to advertise a business without a set plan.
- Second: it is popular. The Internet in Poland is used by 88.4% of the population. This information, juxtaposed with data on steadily declining TV ratings, leads to a simple conclusion: in the coming years, online advertising will only become more important. The sooner you start, the better.
- Third: it is not subject to so many restrictions. You won’t publish video content on a radio station, and you won’t release video to newspaper readers. Meanwhile, on the Internet, you can operate simultaneously on all fronts – create blog content in which you introduce users to your products and services, share photos on Instagram and Facebook, or record videos on YouTube or TikTok.
Which online promotion methods are worth looking into?
The role of a company’s website has changed over the years. Currently, the site primarily serves two functions. First: it serves as a business card for the company – it’s the place where those most interested in the offer will go, or those looking for direct contact.
An important element that can affect the effectiveness of your website is its optimization. Make sure the site runs fast and does not contain unnecessary elements. Use small size graphics and do not overload sub-pages with information. Also make sure that users of mobile devices will also be able to view the content on your site without much trouble.
The equivalent of actually going out to the people, on the Internet, is content creation and social media activities. This is where Internet users spend the most time. They read posts on Facebook, look at photos on Instagram and videos on TikTok. They look for inspiration on Pinterest and get acquainted with current events on Twitter (X). If you’re just serious about realizing the potential of online advertising, you can’t go past social media.
However, it is worth returning to the question of the target audience at the outset – for it is not an art to establish a brand presence in all possible channels. It is important to focus on those that can bring the most benefits. Do you organize training for business? Get interested in LinkedIn and YouTube. Do you run a boutique? The ideal option for you would be Instagram, possibly TikTok.
Also get interested in paid advertising on social media. Each of the big players in the market has its own promotional tool, so you can present your offer to a properly configured target audience. That is why it is important that you know who you are targeting with your products or services.
The presence of your products high up in the search results can prove crucial to the growth of your business. Search engines (primarily the one from Google) are used by almost all Internet users – this is how they look for opportunities to fulfill their shopping needs. If it is your website that appears at the top of the list, there is a high probability that the user will visit you.
If you have a local business, make sure that your SEO efforts are targeted specifically to your local audience. In your content, find room for mentions of the city or region where you do business. Optimize content on the website and in blog posts.
One important SEO activity is to maintain a company blog. If you offer professional, helpful content for users, and on top of that, the texts are optimized and contain the most relevant phrases, you can count on increased traffic and recognition of your company online in the long run. Remember, however, that SEO should be supported by a long-term strategy. This is one of the most effective methods of promoting a local company, but it requires an unwavering commitment over a long period of time.
Google My Business card, opinion aggregators
Make your presence known where it is most wanted. Take care of Google’s business card – the card that appears when your company’s name is typed into a search engine. The Google business card will show users the most important information, for example, the company’s address with directions, reviews, opening hours or photos of the building and interiors.
Internet users often suggest opinions, found on the Internet. For this reason, you should also be interested in the topic of reviews of your company. If you already have at least a few satisfied customers, take advantage of this fact: ask them to write an honest review and share it on popular review sites such as Ceneo, Skąpiec or Booksy. You can also offer some customers to post their reviews on your website – anything to show potential customers that doing business with your company is a pleasure.
Summary – how to effectively promote a local business?
Are these all ways to promote a local business? Definitely not (we didn’t at least mention Google Ads), but the ones we’ve described in today’s article are the ones you should learn about and try first.
Any of these methods can work for your business, so it’s worth checking out at least a few of them. However, it will not necessarily be the best idea to try to act on all fronts simultaneously. At first, choose a few offline and some online promotion methods. Give them some time, expand your knowledge, and after some time verify their results. This will tell you whether it’s worth investing further in these forms of promotion, or whether it’s better to go a step further and try other methods.