All businesses need to advertise, but not all of them have the budget to do a full-fledged marketing campaign. Of those who can afford to advertise, many find they still cannot afford all the promotion they need. I imagine you, like most of us, are in one of these boats. Advertising is hard for small businesses. You don’t have a budget for much, especially non-essentials.
Advertising is essential, but it can be relatively inexpensive. Here’s what can you do to advertise on a low or non-existent budget.
• Spend time near your customers. Whether it’s online, a spa, a coffee shop or a sporting event, building a relationship with your customers will make them like and trust you more. This is something every small business owner should be practicing. Aside from marketing to them, you can also learn valuable information about your customers and how to please them.
• Offer free samples. People love freebies. I sure do. Offering your product or service for free shows customers you have good stuff to offer. Plus, it provides a feeling of goodwill towards you -always a plus.
• Send out press releases. Local papers -especially small neighborhood publications- frequently need more stories. Send them information on your promotions and business practices and you just might get coverage. If your first few don’t get picked up, keep writing. You never know when they will be interested in the next one.
• Hang signs around town. Print up signs with your company info and post them on community bulletin boards, telephone poles, etc. Check your local laws about this as some places have requirements of where signs can or cannot be hung.
Did you know 1-800-GOT-JUNK started to get big only after owner Ben Hopper posted wooden signs for the company throughout his community? He advises putting the signs up high so no one can mess with them.
• Offer rewards for referrals. A fast way to build loyalty and increase your customer base is by thanking customers who sending you new business. This can be done by offering discounts or monetary credits toward their next purchase for every new customer they bring you.
• Write for trade publications. Websites and magazines in your field always need new articles from business owners. If you write articles for these publications, your name will spread as being established and credible.
• Offer gifts to help sales. Try offering a promotional product or inexpensive merchandise to motivate buyers. The best way to do this is to pair the offer with another ad medium and warn that supplies are limited.
• Test out social networking. MySpace, Facebook and other sites can work wonders for marketing. While they don’t work for everyone, the sites are free. There’s no harm in trying.
• Send hand-written thank yous. Thank you notes are a rare commodity in the modern world. Sending one written by hand shows customers you did more than print and sign a pre-written form. You care.
Enhance your marketing campaign with these simple tricks and you’ll see a boost in sales in no time –without a big budget ad campaign.
Do you have any tips to market your company without spending much?
Photo courtesy of kissyface