How to Advertise your Business
If you are just starting out in business or even if you're an old hand - you should always be on the look out for new ways (to you at least) of advertising your business.
We are going to assume you have a website for your business - you may not have the bricks and mortar to go with it...but any business that doesn't have a website in this day and age is probably doing something wrong.
So assuming you have a website - the first thing you should try is Google Adwords / PPC (pay per click). There are other PPC websites and you can also give them a try as well - but a large chunk of your traffic will likely come from Google. If you have a target audience which uses other search engines - then obviously try them as well.
You have to be very careful working out your PPC bids. The biggest problem with PPC schemes is not monitoring them - you should login and monitor them every day - it might only take you ten minutes just to make sure you aren't paying ridiculous sums of money and not getting a decent return on your investment (ROI).
You can easily get traffic using lots of keywords and lots of campaigns - if you have enough pages - simply by paying the lowest possible per click, this doesn't necessarily mean the optimum amount of profit you'll make for your business - assuming you want to make a profit in the long run.
Another PPC site which isn't a search engine is Facebook - with facebook you can target your audience by filtering people by their sex, age, education and interests for instance. If you have a product that you think only women are likely to purchase then you can get rid of all the males from seeing your advertisements and therefore they won't be able to click on them - thus saving you money in theory. For this privelige however Facebook tend to charge a lot more money that other PPC sites...so it can be swings and roundabouts.
The other issue with Facebook is people tend to go on the site to have fun and relax - they aren't in a buying mood...so you have to take that into the equation...does your product or service lend itself to that kind of person in that frame of mind?
Something that most people won't have heard about it StumbleUpon Paid Discovery. The clicks cost as little as 0.05 a clickalthough the bounce rate (people leaving the site directly from the page they came in at) is more often than not higher when using these ads, it can be a great way to advertise contests, giveaways and big promotions. If the content you are promoting proves to be popular and receives a lot of "likes," you will start receiving free traffic from Stumbles, which can go on for months, even after you have stopped advertising....so this is one to try for a decent period of time.
Renting space at a trade show can be expensive, but the best shows are a great way to build your business. Have plenty of promotional materials ready to hand out to interested people. When the show's over, follow up. Call your leads in order of importance, but get in touch with all of them within seven days. Above all, keep every promise made at the booth.
If you are providing B2B products and services then you should try LinkedIn advertising - again you can target your market by geography, demographics, job title or LinkedIn Group.
Branding is another obvious advertising system, whenever people mention branding people automatically think of huge advertising budgets, if you do have the money then using broadcasting to mediums such as TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines, Billboards and the internet and constantly doing it, you will eventually create massive customer awareness and therefore you will create a brand over time. Branding can be expensive if you go down this route especially TV advertising but the rewards can be massive if it pays off - you can sell more products, you can increase your profits by selling at higher prices - of course a lot of this money will be taken up by your advertising budget.
Sponsorship is another great way of advertising - it gets your business name out there as well as putting it in a good light. You could sponsor a local team which could involve contribution to supply their sports kit with your business name plastered across it...or you could go further and sponsor major teams that apear on TV - this obviously can be extremely costly.
Creating a leaflet maybe old school to some but it can still be effective. Online website can help you design a leaflet for free and the more you print off the bigger savings you can make - so once you've crafted your leaflet they are easy to re-order if you have repeating offers. You can even put leaflets in with your products - so you don't necessarily distribute them in a locality - it could be worldwide...if for instance you want to drive people to your website rather than buying your products from ebay or amazon or similar sites - you can increase your profits and/or save your customers money by pointing them to your website as you can cut out the costs these sites charge you for selling products on their site.
Be careful about how you distribute your leaflets physically - you might anger some people if you plonk them on a car windshield. Also people will tend to throw them onto the floor if you hand them out - not everyone sees them as valuable as you do...so make sure you have permission to hand them out - you may have to collect all the ones dropped on the floor within a half mile radius or whatever your local council says you must do in order to comply.
Don't forget most of these PPC websites will offer a free trial of their services or a multiple of whatever you deposit. Some of these can be time constrained - so be careful - as you might think you are getting something for free and end up paying for it if you aren't careful about it.
You should also read up on weblinks if you have a website (we assume you do of course). There are many more resources there on how to advertise your business.