Thursday, April 03, 2008

Marketing on the "Cheap"

When I meet with potential clients, I often try and give them tips on something they can do to improve their marketing. The following list that came in my email today I am going to use as a handout:

Link to SmallFuel Marketing Blog

10 Nearly Free Ways to Advertise Your Business

Posted: 03 Apr 2008 04:13 PM CDT

free business
Finding ways to advertise your business without breaking your budget is at the forefront of every business owner’s mind. We all like free, and if free helps us make more sales, then so much the better!

Advertising and marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. Plenty of marketing ideas cost nothing (or nearly nothing). All you need is a little bit of time and some creativity.

Join In

Joining associations and organizations offer a double-whammy of benefits to small business owners. By joining various groups, you tap into resources and knowledge, and you benefit from exposure when the organizations publish lists of their members. An added bonus of joining groups is increased credibility through affiliation.

Donate Prizes

There is always someone looking for donations to raise funds or to hold mega-contests. Donating an item from your inventory or a selected service can mean exposure when the recipients do promotion for their event. They always mention sponsors as a thank you and make sure that people know you chipped in.

Hold a Contest

You could hold a contest, too. You could gather donations from other businesses and let people get to know you more personally while doing so. Potential contestants will talk about you, too, as they hope for a prize. Tell the local newspapers about your event, and they’ll write it up. Make sure the day of the awards gets lots of attention!

Put up a Sign

Many home shops and freelancers operating from home forget that it’s okay to put a sign out to advertise their location. A memorable sign catches attention and does help passersby and visitors to know that your business exists.

Speaking Opportunities

Never underestimate the power of a good speech. Make sure everyone knows that you’re in business and talk about your business often, no matter where you are. At parties, get togethers, in the checkout line… Some of the best opportunities are those when people mention a need that relates to what you offer. Speak up! Tell people that you can help.

Monthly Discounts

It’s common for people to be stuck in the pricing rut. They set their price and forget about it. Remember that pricing offers opportunity. You can offer monthly discounts on items or services, and rotate the offerings. There’ll always be something coming up, and the small price cut may land you new, loyal clients.

Add On Where You Can

The opposite of a monthly discount is a monthly add on. For example, you can promote a product or service along with a second product or service as a package, and discount the package pricing slightly. Consumers know they’re getting more for less, and that’s attractive.

Start a Blog

Almost any business in the world, from mechanic to landscaper to weekend clown to photographer, can benefit from blogging. You can set up a free blog and all you have to invest is the time to write some fun, interesting or insightful posts. Blogs also help create anticipation about upcoming product releases or new services you might offer.


There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer your services, whether it’s for business-related events or simply helping a community clean up. While you’re there, talk to people and introduce yourself. Be sociable and pass the time chatting about your business or asking people what they’d like to see in a business like yours.

Host a seminar

Some groups and associations are very interested in guest speakers or seminars for their members. You have a business, so share your experience with others. Motivate them to start their own. Inform them of pitfalls or how-tos. You increase your reputation as an expert and the event is a great time to pass out business cards, too.

What do you think of these advertising ideas? Have you tried any of them? Do you have other creative ideas that helped your business get some attention on a shoestring budget? What methods of marketing have you found to be most effective?

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