DIY Public Relations Tips for Small Businesses
Updated: Jul 30
Starting a small business can sometimes be tough and overwhelming. Choosing the right products or services to offer, renting the perfect location, and of course the initial start-up costs, can all be daunting tasks. And to further complicate matters, there is the worry of promoting your business and how to gather customers, after all that is our ultimate goal. So how does a small business with a small budget promote their business when they can't afford to pay for professional PR services? It's easier than you think!
Developing a strategy
There are several ways to start promoting your business, but the first thing you need to do, after determining your budget (what you can afford to spend on PR), is to develop a strategy. Without a clear and defined plan of action you will miss the goals you're aiming for.
Developing a strategy simply means:
1. Defining your goals and objectives (the outcome you want to achieve)
2. Identifying who your target audience is (i.e.: are you a baby store catering to new moms?)
3. What's your key message? (The core message you want your target audience to hear.)
4. Tactics you will use to meet your objectives (email newsletters, social media campaigns, free offers/coupons, etc.)
5. Measuring the success of your PR strategy (website traffic, media monitoring, etc.).
Once you have a solid strategy in place you are ready to start the fun (and hopefully rewarding) tasks of promoting your business.
So you have developed your strategy. You know what your objective is, who your target audience will be, and what your key message to them is. So how do you start putting your tactics into action? This will vary based on the specific tactics you are using. But if you plan on getting media coverage by pitching your story to a journalist, you'll need to do some research. You'll want to find journalists who write articles related to the topic you want to pitch. This can be done by a simple Google search on your topic and thoroughly reading the articles listed. And you should be able to click on the journalist's name to pull up their contact info.
If you're bypassing media coverage, there are many other things you can do to promote your business, such as:
contacting your local chamber of commerce or radio stations to find out about local events and offer to help sponsor them or give away a product.
offer coupons in local free trading magazines or papers
use a printing company (my favorite is Vistaprint) for marketing materials such as pens, notebooks, and other materials to give away.
have table tents printed up and talk to a local restaurant to see if they'd be willing to put them on all their tables.
It's also okay to talk to your competitors to see how you can help each other. If you offer a service that they don't, and it would pair well with what they do offer, or vice versa, you can send customers to each others stores. Use your competitors to your advantage! There are so many ways to get your business name out there. Think outside of the box. Be creative and have fun. Good luck!