Take it from someone whose made every mistake in the book. Marketing matters. Some even say it’s the greatest tool in business.

I’ve had years of industry experience, working with some of the biggest names in business. And I now help hundreds of local businesses thrive through my work at The Cheshire Business Directory.

So this week, I’m going to share with you the top 10 things I’ve learnt that will help you to promote your business.

1 – Be social

Finding the time to manage your business’s social handles can be virtually impossible. We always need more time, right? So I now dedicate certain slots in my week to building my online business presence.

I regularly share content on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. And always try to send out a consistent, positive message, every time I post. Even if you don’t have time to create a social strategy to follow, you can still build your army of followers just through sharing great posts and engaging with others.

Remember: never underestimate the power of social media for your business. You can reap the rewards, even without investing in expensive online advertising. Put the time in, and it’ll pay off.

2 – Get out there

It can take up to 8 times before people recognise your brand. Yep, 8 times. So being visible, being present, is a vital aspect of your brand identity. Invest in leaflets. Engage with local businesses. Share competitions and giveaways. And attend networking events. You’re the face of your business, so get it seen. Remember, in the wake of the pandemic, many networking events have moved online, so there really are no excuses. Choose a networking event to suit you. If meticulously formulaic is not your bag, then find a more intimate, relaxed group, and watch your business contacts soar.

3 – Blog away

I was always very dubious about the impact of blogs, and whether they could be an effective part of my brand strategy. But since investing in professional blogs, both my website and social are getting more hits. Regular posting also improves visibility and is loved by Google’s algorithms.

Yes, it’s an investment. But remember: you are your brand. So by sharing timely, engaging and informative blogs, you are attracting a wider audience and (therefore) client base.

4 – Gimme the money

Okay, so this one is a bit marmite. But money really does draw in the crowds.

Offering my clients a cash-based referral scheme has done wonders for my business. If I know a client has been impressed by the service they’ve received, I offer them a cash incentive if they recommend me to another client.

Satisfied clients. More business. What’s not to love?

5 – Create a group

There are an estimated 620 million Facebook groups out there. So if you haven’t done so already, why not create a group aligned to your business? Selling a handmade children’s toy? Then create a ‘bespoke children’s gifts’ group. Providing a range of gardening services? Then create a local ‘garden makeovers’ group.

Your target audience is within easy reach, so gather them around, and tell them what your product or service can do for them. For more information on this one, click here.

6 – Hassle-free payments

We’ve all been there. You can waste hours of administration time chasing up late payments. It’s exhausting. So set up an easy payment system, where clients pay upfront, or at 50%, before they receive the product or service.

You pay upfront for your groceries, so why is it different in business?

7 – Subscribe here

Creating a subscription model has been particularly lucrative for my business. I have a recurring income and I can increase revenue by upselling the additional services I offer. Clients also benefit from the ease and regularity of the system. Definitely one to consider.

8 – Keep learning

Whatever your line of work, stay on top of your game. Be up to speed on the latest thoughts, products, news and changes within the industry. And this doesn’t have to mean taking a course that’ll set you back a small fortune. Check out the latest relevant books to hit the market; sign up to free, online webinars, and attend industry specific workshops.

I’ve learnt so much by attending a graphics and branding workshop hosted by Fox Graphics Design and Marketing. As well as meeting a range of invaluable business contacts, I now feel even more confident when guiding and supporting my own clients with their branding queries. And to ensure I’m aware of LinkedIn’s latest updates, I’m attending a bespoke training course, run by social media executive, Rebecca Bates.

9 – Look after yourself

You are your business’s greatest asset. If you’re not at the top of your game, you’re not going to see results. So invest in yourself. Make time for you. Don’t say yes to everything.

I’ve been there. Burn out was the worst and best thing that could’ve happened to me. I now have a much more healthy work-life balance. I recognise when it’s time to take a step back. And I’ve learnt to use the community around me for help. PAs, social media experts, copywriters – find and employ people who can give you more time to do what you do best. Check out The Cheshire Business Directory’s list of recommended businesses.

10 – Look on the bright side

At the start of the year, I write down where I want my business to be in 90, 180 and 365 days. It’s either a list, a statement or sometimes a picture. I then put it up in my office, and use it as my inspiration: my guide. And despite the chaos that 2020 has brought along, my plans for the future remain unchanged.

Adopting a proactive mindset and using positive language can have a huge impact on your outlook and productivity. If you think big, you’re already that one step closer to your dreams. Cliché, but true.

Need help improving your business presence?

Then The Cheshire Business Directory can help. We’re Cheshire’s go-to directory for some of the county’s most distinguished names. We get your business seen and heard. With a range of packages to choose from, we can increase your business’s visibility across the local area and on social media, to our combined following of over 120K users. Directory members also gain access to our exclusive face-to-face networking events. And with our monthly targeted leaflet drops, we’ll put your business directly into the hands of potential clients right across Cheshire.

For further information, advice or support, call Kerry on 07501 896445.