You’ve got your business plan, store equipment, decorations, and inventory. The one thing you don’t have yet is customers! Here are 16 ways to get the word out about your business so you can climb the ranks as another successful business in your town.

  1. Get A Website, And Have A Professional Market It For You

We’ve seen some pretty nice “Do-It-Yourself” websites over the past several years and this is one area retailers need to enhance in this competitive market. Having a clean looking website is really important as it with be your “first impression” they will see when searching for new establishments in your area. What is even more important is the ability to find you on the internet. So congratulations on getting the pretty website, now you need to hire a pro to help you attract people to it. A professional can analyze the data on your website to make sure your website comes up when people start searching for businesses that provide the services you provide. So unless you’re an expert at SEO, SEM, Adwords, or any other marketing acronym, look for a reputable professional in your local market who can help you get your website up and running the right way!

  1. Join Your Local Chamber Of Commerce

One of the best ways to get exposure for your business is to join your local chamber of commerce. As a retailer, I understand you don’t have a lot of time to socialize, but if you can find a way to make it to a couple meetings per month, not only will you meet great people, but you will also be able to source vendors that have been vetted by the local chamber. Attending meetings will also give you the opportunity to tell your story in a way that allows you to build authentic relationships with people that will be come your friends and advocates in business.

  1. Get Your Social Game Cooking

Let’s face it, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and Twitter aren’t going away anytime soon, so hire someone to manage your social media for you because your customers spend most of their time browsing the internet on their mobile devices for new places to eat, drink, and be merry. Launching your social media channels long before you open will allow you to build a following that can’t wait to check out your new store. Not only that but if you do a good job engaging on social media, they’ll bring their friends with them to your grand opening.

  1. Launch A Loyalty Program

Begin enrolling people in your loyalty program before you open doors. You can do this by using your social media channels to acquire subscribers to your loyalty program so they get notified via text or email as soon as you launch! It’s also automatic in most cases, allowing you to focus on opening your business.

  1. Use Email

With everyone, including me, being glued to our devices 80% of the time, there’s never been a better time to have someone’s email address. Don’t run out and buy a Square Register because they don’t allow you to capture email addresses. You need a real POS system that allows you to capture that information and use it for your business. Setting up an email campaign will allow you to stay in front of someone after they leave your store. Research shows that customers are more likely to come back if you stay in touch via email, text, or social media.

  1. Develop Marketing Partnerships

You don’t have to do this alone. Network with entrepreneurs in your community and ask them if they would be willing to hand out your gift cards to some of their choice clientele, and do the same for them. You can build a great business by being a resource and collaborating with other non-competing businesses around you.

  1. Donate Your Talent

Create a raffle or an opportunity for someone to get a free product or service or a t-shirt at a local community event. This gets your name in front of people and before you know it you’re a household name!

  1. Sponsor A Local Cause

If you know anything about Millennials, we’re the generation that gravitates to companies that believe in making the world a better place. Whether it’s animals, whales, global warming, or some other cause that benefits the world, we are more likely to support a business that values what we value over one that doesn’t seem to have values that matter. So sponsor a cause that you get behind, and in the spirit of gratitude, you will attract people to your business that will value your business and advocate for your success.

  1. Create A Funny Commercial

If you can make people laugh, they will follow your business and want to learn what your new business is all about. They will also watch your video several times on your website and share it with their friends and family. If nothing else, make a video that shares the mission behind what you’re doing and people will want to connect with your brand.

  1. Make Remarkable, Inviting Brand Clothing

Having cool logos, t-shirts, pens, and hats go a long way. If you’re wearing your company brand around and it looks cool, people will ask you about your business and you have an opportunity to hand out your gift card or coupon to your grand opening.

  1. Hand Out Gift Cards

You can’t just wait for clients to come to you. You should keep 100 gift cards in your car at all times with $5 on them and you should hand them out at every function you go to. I’ve been to dozens of retail stores after meeting the store owner at a community event where I was given a gift card. You never know who knows the person that could turn into being your #1 client.

  1. Host A Networking Event

Bringing people together in your local community to exchange leads to grow their business is a great way to allow people to enjoy your space and learn about your new business while growing theirs. Contact local associations and offer your space and perhaps an incentive for a limited time on your products or services if they have their event at your establishment.

  1. Contribute To A Local Youth Sports Team

Hey, everyone loves the kids. And people appreciate it when you’re genuinely interested in supporting what their children are up to. Find a local youth team that you can inspire with your experience as a growing entrepreneur in the community. You will build relationships that will benefit you in business, but you will also make a positive impact on our future leaders.

  1. Hire Well Connected, Goal Oriented Staff

Hiring the right people is important because you can’t do it all by yourself. You will need other people in your business that will help you drive sales and communicate with customers. The reason I say well connected and goal oriented is because well-connected people will be able to draw their network of friends and family into your establishment. Goal orientation is critical because people with goals are more likely to provide excellent customer service as they want to advance their career while they build a solid reputation.

  1. Have A Grand Opening

Have a grand opening and make sure everyone knows about it. Make sure it’s before your soft opening so you don’t have to worry about whether your team is ready for primetime. Use this event as an opportunity to share what makes your business different from everything else people already have access to. This is also a great time to hear from your community what they are looking for so you can make sure you deliver.

  1. Make A Difference & Check Out Causely

Social media is a great way to spread the message of your store, but one of the biggest challenges for businesses is getting people to engage with their brand on Facebook. You need to attract people to your social media channel, and then you need to engage with them in somewhat real-time so your followers can build a relationship with your brand. Causely helps you attract them by donating to a charity when people check-in at your store. When people check-in their network is notified bringing exposure to your business all while making the world a better place.