Happy New Year everyone! Hope this year is starting out fabulous!
As the New Year is here… and I wanted to send out some tips on how to help your small business grow. I have a massive amount of people contact me each month wanting tips on how to grow their business, to know how I do what I do so well, or just wanting to hire me to do things like their social media, or for me to teach a class and the like.
Unfortunately, I don’t normally have the time to give a lot of tips, and haven’t had time to think about an agenda for a good laid out class (mostly because Social Media is constantly changing, and by the time I would come out with something, it would already be outdated).
Though, here are some tips to help your business grow. Many are either free or very low cost, so excellent for a small business!
Write 1 Article a Month :: The Edge Magazine will publish your articles on Holistic Health & Wellness, Spirituality, Nature, Green Services/Products, and more for FREE! Their distribution is between 17,500 and 20,000 each month in the Twin Cities Metro area.
Articles go a LONG way in getting your word out, and helps to show that you are knowledgeable.
You can link to this article from your Facebook Personal or Fan Pages to help promote it, or email it out in your newsletters
Edge Articles are spaced out through the month to be highlighted on their Social Media Sites. They highlight 1 or 2 articles a day. Currently, their Facebook Fan Page has 838 Fans, and growing by about 50 to 100 fans a month, and engages approximately 600 people on Facebook a day!
The Edge Magazine also utilizes other Social Media sites like Twitter, BlogTalkRadio, Google+, and Blogger to promote their display advertisers and articles.
In the Edge’s first full month of using Blogger, it had 962 views!
Not all articles are in the print version of the magazine… though ALL of the articles approved are on their website, and will be highlighted via the Social Media tools.
On your Fan Page, post at least 1 thing a day (and no more than 3 times in 1 day, unless you have a very active page)
Use tools like RSS Graffiti and HootSuite to schedule content to be published to your page. You can pull things from RSS Feeds (RSS Graffiti), or link to things online (HootSuite). With HootSuite, you can create content for the entire month and choose the date & time for when it is published. I normally use Hootsuite to send a link to something I just recently found online a few days later (as normally, I had just posted something else that is interesting, and don’t want to be overwhelming Fans on Facebook with too much content).
I also will use Blogger to schedule articles, pictures and other content. You can set the Date & Time that it is published on Blogger, and then I use RSS Graffiti to pull the RSS feed to pull it into Facebook. I normally try to spend about 4 hours at the beginning of the month writing quick articles, posting various quotes, doing a thought of the day, etc, that will be published through out the month.
If you are a Service Provider… use online scheduling tools!
I have scoured the internet looking for the BEST scheduling tools available. The BEST, in my opinion, yet still affordable for a small business, is Bookeo. Bookeo supports multiple rooms & practitioners, you can do event/class scheduling, will send SMS Texts to your clients to remind them of their appointment, and sooooooooo much more! It even integrates into Google Calendar! You can also sell Gift Certificates with Bookeo, offer Memberships, Packages, Referral Credits (and the system automatically handles it for you), and much, much more! For a Solo Practitioner, Bookeo is only $14.95/month! Bookeo also will pay you for referring another business (you help them grow, they help you grow… that’s nice!)… so, when you sign up for Bookeo, please use my referral link: http://www.bookeo.com?ref=202119X4YHL13352B3D114ECLY63 so I get credit. Also, please email me and let me know that you signed up 🙂
Do 1 FREE Event a month. Yes, you can ask for a non-mandatory donation, but it cannot be required. The idea is to get people in to tell them about something, usually what you do.
Use your own space if you can… though, if you cannot use your own space, there are some free and affordable places in town:
Magus Books & Herbs offers their Community Room free of charge for free events. They also promote these events in their store, in their newsletters as well as via their Social Media sites.
Amanae FOB offers their workshop space for $15/hour, and is even cheaper at 8+ hours. You can also rent their kitchen. For the Spring/Summer/Fall, they also have an outdoors space!
To help attract more people, you can advertise Free events right on the TCEHW Calendar… this calendar is also pulled into the Facebook Fan Page.
Don’t forget to do some print advertising. The Edge Magazine is, from what I know of, the only in print Holistic Wellness magazine in the Twin Cities metro area. They offer advertising options for all budgets.
Keep in mind, print advertising takes between 3 to 6 months to see an effect.
The Edge Source Networking Listings are $25/month (3 month minimum) or $180/year <— I highly recommend these for every business, so figure out how you can fit the $25 into your budget.
The smallest display ad (15th of a page), when you commit to 1 year, is only $65/month for 12 months.
Want more info about advertising with The Edge… contact Cathy Jacobsen at 763-433-9290 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She is very friendly and will help you to meet your advertising needs, goals, etc.
Studies show that companies that do advertising during slow economic periods grow faster and have a larger rate of growth than companies that did not advertise during that same period.
Another thing is to participate in low cost expos
Find an expo that’s <$100
If you are a service provider, you want events that are either multiple days, and each day 6 to 10 hours.
for events less than 6 hours, it’s very hard to offer your services, even a sample, at those events. For these type of events, keep giving out your information, and offer to give them a free sample in your office (and schedule them to come in when you are talking to them at the event for the free sample session)
Make sure they are openly promoting it (if you’re not seeing it… chances are others are not either)
Make sure you are listed on their website, with a link back to your website (this helps to increase your Google Page Rank… this is very important for a small business)
Find out what other things you are getting with being a vendor at their event. Do they do things like a radio show?
Try to do 4 events per year minimum.
Remember to keep your pricing at expos minimal. Expos, for a service provider, are NOT about making money… they are about making connections with new, potential clients. If you happen to make your money back during the event, that’s fantastic, BUT that is NOT the goal. The goal should be to increase your return 10-fold from the event through the connections you made with potential clients from that event for after the event. If you event just get a 2-fold return, you are doing well from that event (though always keep your goal as 10-fold)!
Oh… and don’t forget at this expos (it’s amazing how people forget to do these few simple things):
Make your table look appealing
Make yourself look appealing
Leave yourself open to everyone that walks by
Remember business cards
Remember your calendar (so you can schedule full appointments or sample sessions in your office)
I hope this helps you to build a strong, health, and holistically balanced business in 2012.