Inexpensive Marketing Ideas
by Owen Jones
Every business needs some sort of advertising. Conventionally, this has been quite expensive, but it need not be, if you are advertising over the Internet. This is good for the majority of Internet marketers, as most Internet businesses have a small to non-existent publicity account.
Whatever type of business you have, you should consider advertising it on and off line. I find it easier to reflect on the off line aspect first, because there are fewer options than with on line advertising and they can often be dismissed. For most businesses, off line advertising usually comes down to newspaper adverts, sign-written vehicles, free ads and handbills.
These types of advertising are very valuable for local shops and local businesses such as builders, glaziers, hairdressers et cetera, but they are relatively expensive. Here are a few unusual suggestions for off line advertising:
Try to give something away. This might appear to be expensive, but it does not need to be. For example, if you run a poodle parlour, you could write a leaflet on how to wash your dog or how to get rid of ticks. Advertise this give-away on line, in your shop window and in the paper. Encourage people to come into your place of work to pick one up.
Ask your local newspapers if they print press releases. If they do get details of ideal length and content and send them a press release whenever you take on new staff, win an award or start selling a new product or service. Press releases should be free of charge.
Next time there is a neighbourhood event, hire a booth and give a demonstration of what you do; take a survey of what you want to know; and hand out leaflets. Stalls at Boy Scout Jamborees or Bring-And Buy sales are very cheap, and you may see thousands of people in person. Then hand out a press release out about the occasion.
Offer to present a prize at a local charity event and / or have the tickets made too. With your name on, of course. Hundreds or people will see you name associated with a good cause.
Run a competition with a prize. Run it in the local paper or from your shop. As a building firm, we on one occasion offered a man Friday free for a day. It ran over a three week time span and every week we required five trivia questions to be answered. The local paper ran it free of charge.
Thousands of people went in for it and our cost was a day's salary. An old widow won him and she had him doing little odd chores about the house all day while she made him tea and sandwiches and had a good old chinwag. I think it made her year, but it got us a great deal of goodwill and fantastic publicity.
You could offer badges, coupons and novelties as lower prizes
Send out Christmas cards and promotional calendars to past and prospective customers. A calendar will keep your name in front of someone's eyes all year around.
You could offer free seminars on the key features of your business. If you could talk in the community hall for thirty minutes, you could take questions and answers afterward. Try the local Womens' Institute.
Some of these techniques can be used to promote an online business or website too.
Owen Jones, the writer of this piece writes on quite a few topics, but is at present concerned with Your Website.
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