Sometimes, having the best product and providing the best service just isn't enough for a growing business. You've got to get your name out there, and your budget might not always allow it.
Write a Press Release
Many local papers are crying out for stories to fill the spaces between their adverts. So they might welcome a newsworthy report that's already been written for them.
But remember – it's not an advert. There must be an angle or a story that's worth reporting and that the publisher's audience will want to read. Your business might be starting to offer a brand new service, or your recent expansion might have created a number of new job vacancies. This is new worth shouting about.
Create a Social Media Presence
Social media is a great way for a small business to gain free publicity. Create a page for your business and invite members of your social network to join.
Take a few eye-catching photos of your team and your premises, and regularly post interesting or entertaining updates. They don't all have to be business-related, either – anything inoffensive that gets your brand and your business noticed can raise awareness and put your name in the minds of potential customers.
Social media sites are also great platforms for holding competitions or giveaways. You could try offering some of your products or services in a prize-draw in exchange for visitors' email addresses – it's an easy way to build a database for future marketing.
Participate in the Community
As well as traditional and digital media, you can gain a lot of publicity by getting involved in the local scene. Building relationships with other businesses and local charities is a great way to increase your public presence and your reputation.
You might try sponsoring a fundraising event, or donating useful products to the local school. You might even offer your premises to host a public event – but first make sure your insurance for business allows for this.
What's important is that you create a two-way relationship with your community – provide consistent value to other organisations, and they'll be more willing to help you as you work to increase your exposure.