People often ask me how I advertise and market Boutiko, so I thought I’d share the different things I do.
1. Online Directories: There are literally hundreds out there, some you have to pay for and some you don’t. Some will contact you as they are relatively new, some you can hunt out on the web or through the links pages of sites similar to yours. Sometimes they ask for a link swap, which seems a fair exchange to me. Mostly I have joined ‘eco’ directories, for obvious reasons, and I have also joined a couple which require payment, although it tends not to be too much, and Google Analytics tells me which ones are worth sticking with.
2. Forums: Business forums are not only helpful in terms of advice and support, they also provide an opportunity to leave a ‘signature’ every time you post, which can include your business details, website url etc. Plus if you post regularly, you can gain access to areas for posting press releases for example. Different forums offer different benefits, so shop around and see what you can find.
3. Google Adwords: While I try to keep advertising/marketing costs to an absolute minimum, I find that Adwords can be helpful if you do the research required to find suitable keywords, and you can at least control your spending with this method. It’s a bit of slog, and I think I still have a lot to learn, but it can be very effective! Plus the beauty of it is you can change keywords or ad wording whenever you like, and switch campaigns on and off according to time of year or general suitability.
4. Fairs: Admittedly this can be a bit hit and miss in terms of successful selling, but I find fairs not only extremely enjoyable but a fantastic opportunity to get the name out there and meet interesting, like minded people. I always end up making new contacts, which can lead to other fairs or any number of useful things. It is also a great opportunity to get people to sign up to your mailing list.
5. Business Cards: Cards are fab – you can carry them with you as there’ll always be people who ask what you do, you can stick them in with every order, you can give them out at fairs, leave them in shops and cafes, the possibilities are endless! I have A6 cards with images of my products as well as the usual info – if you’re in retail this is a good draw.
6. Blog: I really started this blog mainly because I wanted to track the progress of my business through starting it and growing it, with all the ups and downs along the way. I didn’t necessarily imagine I’d end up with a huge following of readers, although the stats suggest that there are people out there who do read it! (Thank you so much!) But I have also learned (don’t underestimate the usefulness of stats) that people who read my blog also go on to look at my site. Also, I don’t pressurize myself to write every day or even every week. I write if I have something to say.
7. PR: PR is one of those things that takes a while to kick in. I have been extremely lucky to find a PR service which not only focuses solely on ethical businesses, but also provides excellent value and things I don’t have access to myself, such as a massive journalist database. Of course this is not free, but I do believe it’s an area worth spending on as it tends to have a snowball effect, and is a very effective way of sticking yourself in lots of people’s faces in a way that would otherwise be extremely expensive.
8. Competitions: A fabulous way to get those all important names on the database! People love free stuff, and there are sites which will host a competition for you, or you can do it yourself through the press. I did one which gained me over 1000 new names, for the price of a single product.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – marketing your business, especially on a budget, is really only limited by your imagination.
The most important thing is to take advantage of any and all opportunities to promote your business. You never know where it might lead.