FREE Marketing!! 5 Strategies to Promote Your Business

FREE Marketing!!

5 Strategies to Promote Your Business

It’s always a good idea to devote part of your business’ budget to marketing and advertising. Maybe you pay monthly for a billboard ad. Or you have a long-running ad in your local newspaper. But that can get costly. Wouldn’t you rather save your money and still gain customers? Yes. Even if you have the budget to do high-ticket advertising you need to constantly consider other methods of cost-effective marketing. Here are 5 inexpensive approaches to promote your business and strengthen your reputation as a good community member.

adapted from Susan Ward via Small Business: Canada

1. Use All Outbound Materials as Promotion.

How many times have you walked past someone carrying a delicious smelling pizza? You always look at the box, don’t you? If that pizzeria is smart, they paid a little extra to put their name and phone number on the box. They need the boxes anyway, and now their name is in your brain. And now you’re hungry. Who do you call….?

Same goes for business.

As a business owner, you understand exactly the magnitude of paper that comes in and goes out of your office. While keeping up with bill payments, chamber of commerce relations, or community functions, you might be forgetting that every piece of paper that goes out can serve as an advertisement, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Business stationery is a cheap way to get your business out to the public, or, at the very least, the receiver of your letter. It doesn’t have to be overt to stick in that letter opener’s mind. Also, if you don’t have a logo or slogan, consider getting one and putting it on customized envelopes. There is an initial cost, but every time someone sees your business’ name or logo, they are now more likely to remember it.

Same goes for electronic messages like email. Be sure to put a full signature at the end of each email you send including your name, your business’ name, address, web site and phone number. Just by glancing at your name and business, next time that person is in need of the product you provide, chances are your business is first to come to mind.

2. Write and Issue Press Releases.

Another great (and almost free) way to get your business into the public spotlight is to write press releases about your business. The key to writing a good press release is to have some newsworthy information to share with your community. By doing so, you’re promoting your business and delivering news about, say, expanding your store space, extending your hours of operation, or even if you’re going to start selling a new product. These are all ways of informing and advertising.

If your local newspaper doesn’t accept your press release, always remember that the internet has many other avenues to reach your market, i.e., online business forums, your own website. Think of these press releases as a way to showcase your business, but also a way to show the public that you are committed to the public’s needs. (If you’re worried about how well you write, there are always plenty of freelance writers/editors who will do great work for a modest fee.)

3. You Must Take Advantage of the Internet.

It is scary; but only at first.

Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr are all free social media platforms that you can use to promote your business. For example, if you know Wednesday is your slowest day of the week, by hopping on the internet for 15 minutes, you can advertise a special “Wednesday” sale or promotion. Your followers and loyal customers will be more likely to take part in your sale or promotion because they feel like they are part of a club, which, in some ways, they are. If you are going to stay open on Columbus Day, say, this is an effective way to get that information out to the public in a quick, non-intrusive way. It may take some time to build up a following on these social media websites, but perhaps you can add your Twitter handle on your outgoing correspondence. Maybe one of your very first press releases is about your new presence on such social media sites.

4. Cross-Promote with Other Businesses in Town.

Working with other businesses as a way to promote your own business is a perfect way to expand your following, but to also show a sense of community collaboration. If you own a bookstore, try collaborating with a nearby coffee shop. You can use sale promotions this way that will benefit your bookstore and the coffee shop. For example, the coffee shop could run a promotion saying, “Show us your Book Emporium receipt and your first coffee refill is FREE!” Now loyal customers from that coffee shop know about your bookstore and are more likely to stop by on their way to get some coffee.

5. Don’t Be Afraid of Freebies.

As long as you don’t get carried away, the word FREE can be a very useful promotional tool. Everyone likes the sound of getting something for nothing. To build a following that will potentially lead to more loyal customers, offer the first 50 customers a free item of your choosing. Again, as long as you’re not handing over the keys to front door, you will spend a small amount of money to get people interested in finding out more about what you have to offer. You can even use the free item you choose as promotional tool that, while is free up front, turns into an ad once it leaves your business. Now everyone sees your name on the free t-shirt or hat you just gave away to a now loyal follower.