Whether you’re a sole trader, small business or global company, the heart of business success comes down to marketing. For start-up businesses this may seem like a daunting task. You are relatively new to the game, need to meet targets and make a tangible profit to enable survival. Not only do you have to consider the best ways to engage with your target audience but how to stand out from the crowd and beat your competitors. Here are five low cost and efficient ways to create a big buzz around your business and watch it grow…

1.  Develop a social media presence

Businesses will have to adapt to change and keep up with the rapid growth of technology. There’s no question about it. Get into the habit of sharing what your company is up to on social media and use this as a platform to engage directly with your customers. Explore your options and do your homework by researching what social media your target audience currently use. As social media is free the only thing you would be investing is your time. Don’t miss out on opportunities to find out how your target audience are responding to your products and services. Think of the golden rule as staying proactive online. Failure to post regularly or share interesting content runs the risk of losing followers. Show you have the expertise and post content about current trends in the industry as well as updates on your products and services. Customers like to be kept in the loop so make them feel like they are getting exclusive information.

2.  Help a good cause

How can you stand out from the crowd? Show that there is positive morale within your company and give back to a good cause. Perhaps you could take the opportunity to engage with a charity or community group within the local community you work in. Even if it’s just a matter of providing start-up funds for a charitable initiative or providing sponsorship, it could work wonders for your reputation. It’s important to make the most of opportunities by boosting your community involvement. In return it could even help to motivate your employees and contribute towards their skills development.  Good PR can take you a long way.

3.  Network, network and network.

Meeting with like minded individuals can help to build solid connections within the sector.

Attend as many networking meetings as you can. The challenge is to get visible and show you have a strong reputation. It’s a massive benefit of networking. You could also consider holding a ‘meet the team’ event which would give your supporters, stakeholders and potential partners the opportunity to find out more about your company. This could potentially lead to the start of something new and a new collaboration between businesses.

4.  Write and submit press releases

You’re launching a new product or were nominated for a business award. Here’s your chance to brag about it and grab hold of as much exposure as you can. Take the time to produce a media relations strategy which outlines how frequent you will submit a press release and what media you will be targeting. Make sure your story is newsworthy, to the point and concise. You may only have a few seconds to grab the attention of the journalist so make sure you include the most important part of the story in the first line. Use quotes to provide a useful insight and back up your claims. You could start to develop a photo gallery and case study archive to be used for good media exposure. Everyone likes a personal story. It’s more believable.

5.  Introduce a loyalty scheme

It’s a known fact that customer loyalty schemes are an effective way to retain customers and improve customer satisfaction levels. It could also be a way to lure back disappointed customers. There are many ways to devise a reward scheme but consider whether it will generate a tangible profit for your business. Appealing reward schemes can range from coupons, a simple card scheme where customers get a discounted rate after every five purchases, or even a free gift once they have spent a certain amount of money. The main thing is to make your customers feel appreciated.