When other people talk about your business, it increases credibility and adds value to your brand. But when people want to help you promote your business, do you know what to ask them to do?

Here are ways that other people, such as family, friends, community members, and network associates can help you promote your business.

  1. Display your literature.  Something as simple as a brochure on a table in a waiting room can pique the interest of potential customers.  If designed well, such promotional materials will attract others to pick them up, read them, and ask about them.  Other places to display information are community bulletin boards (clubhouse lobbies, libraries, municipal buildings, and online newsletters), local businesses with whom you have no direct competition, and places of worship.  Increasing your visibility can quickly add to your customer base.  Remember to ask permission from the appropriate people before doing so.
  2. Showcase your testimonials and reviews. Highlight your loyal client testimonials and reviews of your products/services in your literature, online presences and other marketing materials. People will be more likely to trust what their neighbors, friends and family say about your business than any other kind of marketing. 
  3. Reward referrals.  People who help you promote your business can provide prospects that may be in need of your products or services with your contact information, a little bit about you, how they know you, etc.  If you have an incentive system in place to reward those who give you referrals, they will be more likely to continue doing so.  
  4. Sponsor events.  When holding an event such as an open house, recruit others to donate space, equipment, advertising, or other resources needed.  This kind of help can be mutually beneficial as it increases the visibility and promotes the interests of all involved.  For example, if you sell jewelry and are running a holiday shopping promotion for corporate customers, ask someone you know who works in an office setting to let you set up in their conference room, talk up your event to coworkers, and perhaps recommend a local deli to provide finger foods and beverages.  
  5. Use social media and contests.  You most likely already have a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, blog or any combination of these set up.  One key to making these work for you is to get others to want to share your content with their friends.  Consider setting up contests, polls and games that give out prizes. This encourages sharing of your information, products, or events and maximizes the effect that word of mouth can have. 
  6. Invite you to relevant events.  Many business organizations hold conventions, workshops, and seminars for their members and guests.  Ask members of such organizations to invite you to one of these events.  For example, a workshop for interior designers would be a great place for a self-employed home organizer to meet prospects who may either be in need of their services or who regularly work with others that do.  Not only will you gain valuable information there, but you will also have a chance to meet potential customers.  
  7. Tap influencers. Seek out influencers in your community and provide them an incentive to promote your business. The difference here is that influencers generally have larger networks and/or have more credibility. The key here is again to have them share your information and provide a testimonial to increase word of mouth. 

Decide what methods you are most comfortable with in getting others to promote your business, and make a list for yourself.  Incorporate one of more of these methods on a regular basis to facilitate the growth of your business.

What have you found to be an effective way for others to promote you?  Please share your ideas and experiences below!