ImageWith the New Year off and running, what do you have planned for promoting your small business?

If the answer is you’re not quite sure, you could already be behind the eight ball. In fact, you could be letting down your employees, customers and yourself for that matter.

In a day and age when every business is trying to fight for the attention of customers, especially given all the outlets that such consumers have to turn to when it comes to shopping around, you need to make sure your small business stands out from the crowd.

There are a number of ways to go about that, including:

Standard Advertising

For the longest of time, many small businesses have relied on traditional promotion vehicles such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and even billboards to try and get the ears and eyes of consumers. While these avenues still work for many companies, others have come to the conclusion over time that there was a need to try other things. With many newspapers in decline, plus expenses for television advertising on the rise, some small business owners have cut back or totally abandoned such means of promoting their businesses. Should you want to continue such promotions, make sure that you have a good idea of the traffic such venues get. If the traffic is minimal or not in your best interests, you may be simply throwing money out the window.

Social Media

While there are still many small business owners who do not get social media and its importance to their companies, many others do. In the event you are in the former, here are some things to keep in mind. Social media is essentially free, albeit time and effort are needed. Using social media to promote your business allows you to get out in front of countless eyes, be it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest or other sites. You need to continuously update your social media pages (see more below), include links to relevant articles and data that will help customers, and engage consumers. When you do these three things along with other actions, you can add customers and become even more relevant in your respective industry;

Use Your Employees

One of if not the greatest assets for your small business is your employees. Use them to help promote your business on a daily basis through word-of-mouth conversations, social media and other means. Some companies do not want their workers engaging in social media efforts for the business, while others are more than fine with it. If you do let your employees use social media at work to promote the company and even engage with consumers, make sure that a policy is in place. Everyone must be on the same page as to how to use social media when it is representing the company. Employees can also spread the word through their regular interactions with family and friends, essentially turning them into free advertisers;

Promotional Products

One of the best ways to get the attention of both present and potential customers is by offering promotional products. Anything that has your company name, contact information, logo, etc. on it works. Being it is a new year, you can offer consumers items like promotional calendars, pens, hats, t-shirts, mugs and more. Once they have these items, they will likely have them out in public view where other potential customers await.

With 2013 here and now, how successful will your company’s promotional efforts be when all is said and done?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics for various websites, including using a custom photo calendar to promote your company.