Take advantage of free online marketing. Sign up for a free Google places account where you can list your address, telephone number, a link to your website, a description of your services and even a picture. There are a number of places outside of Google where people may look for your business details.
- Sign up for a LocalTabs, BookMyCity, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, Yelp and CitySearch accounts. You should set up a business account on Facebook and suggest to your friends that they “Like” your account. You may want to appoint someone to update these regularly. They are great tools when used regularly to share photographs of your work, your patrons (with their permission) and any promotions you are offering. Include your Facebook address on all of your printed promotions.
- Write a blog, if you are fond of writing and you feel you have something to share about your craft or your locale. You may offer tips, photos, videos of your business in action or any other information about your business that might be attractive to a potential consumer. Remember that successful business blogs are ones that give out something more than just promotion for a business. They offer insights into a craft or locale. A regularly updated blog will gain followers and it can be linked to your website, Facebook and Twitter.
- Get to know your local reporters in the business section of your local newspapers. They can be the keys to local promotion. You may first inquire about paid advertising and then ask if there are free business listings on the newspaper’s website. Network with them whenever possible.
- Encourage customers to refer to your business and to write reviews on your website, Google Places or Yelp. Not all reviews will be good, but if most are, then it will attract business. In a referral scheme, some salons offer $5 to $10 off haircuts to people who refer customers.
- Email local bloggers. Invite them for an extra discount at an opening to encourage them to write about your store. If you have your own blog, develop a relationship of linking to each other’s blogs. Perhaps you can be a guest blogger on another site to help draw business from the same demographic.