1. Be an expert
We are all expert at something. Whether it’s your profession or hobby, use your knowledge to position yourself as an expert. Write for an industry magazine, website or newsletter or publish a blog or e-book. If spoken words are more your style, speak at industry events and information sessions.
2. Use the media
Think local: find out who your local media are. Your business could be featured in local newspapers, magazines, websites, radio or TV stations. Tell them about your company’s grand opening, new product line or service. Local media always like regional stories so promote the local angle prominently.
Draw up a list of industry magazines, radio and TV stations that cover your industry and appropriate sections in metro newspapers. When something important happens in your business, send them a press release. Remember, though, while editorial content carries a lot of credibility with the public, you are not paying for the media space or time and therefore have no say over what is included or when.
3. Give something away for details
The freebie could be your monthly newsletter or an e-book you have written on a topic of interest to your customers. Use the opportunity to get their information at the same time. In return for the item ask them to supply their name, email address and phone number so you can add them to your list and market to them in the future – with their permission of course!
This small business PR tactic can also work by teaming up with other businesses that share your company’s customer base. Cross-promote each other to build customer lists for both businesses.
Want more articles like this? Check out the Public relations, PR section.
4. Use the Internet
List your business on Google Maps, free industry websites and business directories like www.hotfrog.com.au, www.localbusinessguide.com.au and www.aussieweb.com.au. Make sure your listing contains all the key words potential customers are likely to type in to search engines so you come up on the first few pages.
Businesses now see social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn as additional platforms for small business PR. These sites are a great way to introduce your business to potential and existing customers and start building an ongoing relationship with them.
5. Don’t neglect old, but good, methods
Make use of your industry association membership and attend events to gain knowledge, but also to network. Also join networking groups in your area. All you need is your business card and a willingness to talk about your business.
Word of mouth is an often forgotten marketing method, but one of the most valuable. If someone is happy with your product or service, ask them to tell their friends.
Keep in regular contact with your existing customers through an email newsletter, letter or fax. This is a great way to tell them what is going on in your business and keep you at the top of their minds.
Do you have any tips on free small business PR? Let us know via a comment.