Promoting your small business

Page last updated: Thursday, 24 August 2017 - 3:50pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Promoting your small business is essential.

Every small business should develop and maintain a brand and establish a unique selling point before choosing the best way to promote products to customers.

Have you considered a website, using social media, business cards, vehicle signs, fliers or collaborative work with complementary businesses as promotional tools?

What is promotion?

Promotion can be defined as any type of communication between your business and your target audience to make them aware of your product or service.

As with any new business, promotion is the key as to how quickly it becomes established in the marketplace.

Promotion can be used to:

  • create awareness
  • attract or remind customers
  • change customer or potential customer attitudes
  • increase sales
  • encourage people to trial your product or switch to your brand.

Promotion can include advertising, personal selling, direct marketing and publicity/public relations.

Establishing and highlighting a point of difference or a unique selling point is a key aspect of promoting a business. Customers need to know what it is about your business that is going to make them choose yours over others.

Your brand

One of the crucial elements in promoting your business effectively is establishing and maintaining a brand. Your brand is the impression of your product or service held by existing or potential customers. It is an essential part of any promotional activity.

Use the power of your brand and incorporate it into all your stationery, documents and website to successfully promote your business and create instant recognition. Everything you do, say, print, write, wear and provide should be consistent with your brand.

Target audience

Promotion can be an ongoing challenge. Defining your target audience and planning the best channels to promote your business can be a big step towards effective promotion.

You can segment your target audience by product, location, demographics, industry or function, customer values, culture and many more.

Consider what triggers their buying preference (e.g. what do they buy, when do they buy it, how do they buy it) and how you may market your product to them (e.g. what product/service do you have that will appeal to them, how will you attract them, what form of promotion will they respond to?)

For instance a business may research their target audience and identify them as people aged over 40 years.

As it has been found that a large proportion of people over 40 wear glasses, the business may choose to keep this in mind when developing a logo and make it large and easily recognisable, with or without glasses.

Some businesses also develop quirky names for their range of products to help them stand out from the crowd and be remembered.

Quirky names can add a little bit of fun for customers when browsing the shelves.

Doing your research on your target audience is essential.

Network with family, friends, acquaintances, etc. and ask them how your service or product appeals to them and if they would purchase it.

Also ask how they might search for such a product; this may help you determine the best form of promotion.

Research similar services or products and determine which audiences your competitors are targeting and how.

Joining associations linked to your target audience can also be a great way to get to know more about the way they think.

Choosing how to promote your business

Once you know what product or service you can offer your desired target audience, you can determine which channels to best use to promote your business.


A website is a great way to promote your business.

With most people now turning to the internet to search for information, a website is a ‘must’ if you want people to access and buy your product or service.

If you are unable to afford a custom-designed website, then look into one of the many companies offering basic website templates to help you create your own and get started.

Choose a nice simple layout that looks clean and organised.

Create interest and instant recognition by adding your brand and any other pertinent images. Also consider setting up a free listing for your business in a search engine local directory.

There may also be other websites that you can link your website to, including websites of other complementary businesses in your area or websites set up to primarily promote your region or type of business.

Social media

Social media provides a great opportunity to engage with your customers, develop a relationship and find out what they like or don’t like about your product and what changes they might suggest.

It can also be a creative way to trial ideas as well as a new product or line.

Use social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to set up business profiles, making sure you include a good description of your business and a link to your website.

Also make sure you include social media icons on your website that direct customers to your social media sites.

Becoming involved in conversations with groups that talk about your type of product can be an excellent way to promote your product and get your business name out there.

You can also post videos on these sites, and sites such as YouTube, showcasing your business and a visual image of your product or service.

Social media also gives businesses in more remote areas the opportunity to recommend other events and activities that customers can do when visiting your business, providing an added incentive to travel to your area.