Before getting started, here is a quick checklist of things you’ll need to do to be advertising-ready.
Start with a short-term business goal and an initial plan for achieving it.
- Sure, everyone wants more revenue. But how are you going to get there? Two ways to do that are by increasing service calls or getting more product sales.
- Part of your strategy might involve adding a service or product to what you already offer, which means you’ll need to figure out how to introduce it to your customers. (And you’ll probably want to find some new customers too.)
Figure out what’s different about your business.
- Are you one of few people in your area to offer this service?
- Does your product fill a need that’s not addressed by many competitors?
Define your target customers, if you’ve never defined them before.
- Age range, gender, location, and likely interests are good things to consider.
Once you’ve got these all set, jump right into our 13 best ways to advertise your business.
1. Promote your business in online directories
Whether you mostly do business online or offline, online directories can still be a useful tool for helping people find your business. Simply adding basic info like your business name, physical or online address, phone number, and email address can help give your business visibility across the board. For starters, do a simple online search to find appropriate online directories where you can list your business. Also consider the following:
- Promoting your business in online directories can improve your overall SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
- Keep in mind that some directories will let you write a business description and add photos and/or videos, so be sure to have those assets ready.
- Snapchat is one of the many places you can create a presence for your business simply by setting up a Public Profile.
2. Promote your business in your local community
Promoting your business in your local community is a great way to get it in front of people you interact with day to day. Here are some ideas for how to get started:
- Partner with a local charity: This can help increase awareness of your business while doing good for others.
- Send press releases to local news organizations: This is a great way to connect with your local community, especially when you have a new product or service, or something newsworthy to announce.
- Don’t forget about online groups for your local community: These small online groups can be incredibly beneficial, as you can connect with customers close to your physical location and share exclusive deals with them (just don’t be too overbearing.)
3. Set up your social media profiles
It’s very important to set up social media profiles for your business. On your social media profiles, you can share with consumers everything from product announcements to flash sales. Make sure you’ve completed the following when setting up a new social media account for your business:
- If the account is already set up, make sure the info in them is current, including your name, address, contact info, etc.
- You might want to consider new social media profiles for a new product or service if it’s very differentiated from what you already offer.
- Don’t forget to set up a Public Profile on Snapchat!
- Use your business’s social media profiles to announce new products or services.
- Be present and answer any questions your customers ask on these accounts. This will help with customer retention and show you’re always available for them.
4. Run social media ads
Running paid advertising on your socials is a great way to connect with current and new customers alike. That being said, before you get started it’s important to consider what goal you are trying to achieve with these ads and select the appropriate campaign. Here are the three main goals for social media ads that you should choose from:
Awareness: This involves spreading the word about your business and what you offer. The goal isn’t necessarily sales, but those can happen, too. Awareness objectives in social media ads are typically optimized to reach as many people as possible.
Consideration: This involves getting people to keep your business in mind. You might want to drive people to a form on your website to fill out so you can keep in touch with them via email. This can also provide leads for a service business.
Conversion: This is where you want people to take action, such as booking a service appointment or making a purchase.
5. Use organic and paid video
If your business is focused on tutorials and other kinds of how-to videos, you can create those kinds of videos and share them across your various social media profiles. This is what we call organic content, which is free content users will find naturally on your profile. Video content should be authentic and follow three simple rules:
- Keep it short: 3-5 seconds should be enough to get your message across.
- Focus on one key message: Add text to your video that tells people what you want them to do, such as “Click to learn more!”
- Keep it authentic: Film with your phone and talk directly to the camera.
Once you’ve created video content, you can repurpose the content as paid video ads. Learn how to get started with Single Image or Video Ads on Snapchat today.
6. Use email marketing
If you have a list of customer email addresses, it’s a great idea to compile those contacts and put them into a concise email list. With an email list you can achieve a lot of great things, from sending new product updates to monthly newsletters. Consider the following best practices when getting started with email lists:
- Personalize your emails as much as you can; the human touch goes a long way.
- At a minimum, address the customer by their first name in the subject line and/or in the body of the email.
- Consider segmenting your email list and sending different kinds of emails to different kinds of customers. For example, if you sell men’s and women’s clothing online, you could split your list between people who have predominantly bought one or the other.
- According to a recent Hubspot article on the subject of email timing, there are several best days and times to send emails. Tuesday from 9AM to 12PM is ideal to get the most engagement, while Monday and Wednesday at the same times came in second and third place. Weekends (including Friday) tend to be engagement dead zones, so it’s best to avoid them and adjust your email plans accordingly.
7. Press releases
Whether you’re announcing the launch of your business or a new product release date, press releases are another great way to create buzz around your business. In addition to sending press releases to local media, you can find online news sources and send your press releases to them as well. Large national news organizations will be less likely to respond, but you can still try pitching to them if you have an interesting niche or a good human interest story.
8. Influencer marketing
Influencers are people, typically on social media, who have large followings and are often seen as experts in their particular industry. When they recommend a business, it can have a lot more sway than when others do so. This is a great way to build awareness and credibility around your business. However, it is important to do your homework on influencers before partnering with them to market your business. Try to do the following before proceeding:
- Learn as much about them as you can, including familiarizing yourself with all their online accounts.
- Start slowly by commenting on, liking, and sharing their content.
- When you approach an influencer, make sure you have an arrangement already in mind, whether it’s a specific payment structure or a trade of products and/or services.
9. Podcast ads
Today, there are a wide variety of podcasts out there that cater to all kinds of niche audiences. Try to find podcasts that have an overlapping fanbase with your own, and pitch them your products or services. Many podcasts do ad reads in between segments where they could pitch your business to their listeners. The way this works is you typically pay a sponsorship fee and then the podcast host(s) will read your ad copy.
It’s also worth mentioning that with smaller podcasts — especially very niche ones — you may be able to actually book yourself as a guest to talk about your business, especially if you have an interesting angle to pitch to them.
Beyond asking friends and family to recommend your business to others, you can create a formal referral program incentivizing current customers to bring in new business. For instance, if they refer a new customer and the new customer makes a purchase, the referrer can get 20% off their next purchase. You can also do things like give free samples and free trials that your current customers can share with their social circles.
Partnerships are a great way to team up with other businesses that don’t compete with you and cross-promote each other’s services. For example, a housecleaner could work with a real estate agent to offer a move-in special, or a car dealership could partner with a car wash, offering a monthly cleaning service with every new car purchase. Think of crossover opportunities that could be fruitful for your own business. Ultimately, this can be yet another organic way to engage with people in your community and bring awareness to your business.
12. Direct mail
While this is a very old method, it can still be a fruitful way to share your business with customers, especially locally. Consider the following best practices:
- Create a simple postcard to mail to people. Ideally, offer a free trial or discount, and include a QR code that sends the customer to a website page to redeem the offer. That way you can track how many people take you up on the offer.
- You could also join forces with businesses you’ve partnered with and share the cost of direct mail, with all of you benefiting from the exposure.
13. Sponsored guest posts
Some websites will allow you to write a sponsored guest post and discuss your area of expertise, with the idea that it will create organic content for their website while also drawing new eyes to your business. This type of partnership can be a great, affordable online method to market, as it will benefit both parties.
Promote your business on Snapchat
After you set up your free Snapchat Public Profile for your business, you can use it to interact with existing and new customers in a variety of interesting ways. Not sure where to start? Here are some great ways to get going:
Post to Your Public Story — Your Public Story is a collection of Snaps that play in the order you created them. With your Public Story, you can give Snapchatters a bird’s eye view of what’s new with your business. From behind the scenes to daily activities, your Story is that daily point of view that will keep customers eager to know what your business is up to next.
Post Spotlights to Your Profile — Sharing your content on Spotlight is one of the easiest ways to share your content with the world of Snapchat in one centralized location. To get started, simply place a blue check next to Spotlight on your next post. To feature your Spotlight submissions on your Public Profile, make sure that toggle Save to Public Profile is enabled.
Add Saved Stories to Your Public Profile — Saved Stories can live on your page permanently and are one of the best ways to showcase your brand. Saved Stories can be either videos or images, and are a great way to preserve high-performing content that is singular to your business.
Add AR Lenses to Your Public Profile — AR Lens experiences are a powerful, memorable way to connect with consumers through augmented reality. From product try-ons to shareable face effects, 75% of the Snapchat community engages with augmented reality every day on average.
Once you’ve created this organic content on Snapchat, you can also promote it with ads. For more information on how to get started, take a look at Snapchat’s Business Help Center article on how to promote your organic content with ads.