As a small business owner investing in any type of promotional effort can be intimidating, as there are no guarantees and you simply can’t afford to make mistakes with your budget. Fortunately there are a number of ways to advertise your products/services and spread awareness about your brand effectively without having to make a significant investment up front:
- Blogging/Online Content Publishing
Publishing search engine optimized content that is strategically geared towards your targeted audience can be a great way to get ongoing exposure for a relatively nominal price. In your free time you can write a few posts for your company’s blog, and then link to the content from article directories or social networking sites to attract visitors and search engines. Alternatively, you can hire a freelance writer to develop the content on your behalf. Contrary to popular misconception, hiring a web content writer is much cheaper than paying for other forms of promotional content creation (i.e. – billboard designs, newspaper ads, phonebook ads etc). Establishing a web presence is one of the first tasks you should set out to accomplish as a new business owner.
- Cold Calling/Networking
This is yet another free/cheap option that yields desirable results quickly – simply begin reaching out to your prospective client base proactively by joining relative web forums, compiling email lists, and, if you’re targeting business-to-business clients, look through the yellow pages to find promising prospects. You could also visit trade shows and hand out swag items like branded coffee cups and http://www.adcentiveswest.com/tradeshow/apparel/. Ironically, aggressive marketing tactics like this cost less than passive methods that are often less effective, as all you need to invest is the time and effort required to develop and deliver a good sales pitch via email or phone correspondence. Once you’ve created a networking/ lead creation system that seems to be working you can scale up and automate by hiring someone to replicate what you’ve been doing in exchange for a set hourly rate.
- Advertise with Local Businesses
Finally, think about other types of business that your customers would likely frequent, and then approach the owner/manager to inquire about placing some of your business cards or flyers on their check-out counter, bulletin board, or storefront. Creating a stack of promotional material requires nothing more than a bit of paper, ink, a printer, and some creativity. Another great way to leverage the success of other local businesses is to offer them a percentage-based commission for referring clients to your company. This added profit incentive is usually enough to motivate business owners into cooperating with your outreach efforts.
Bre Anderson quit her job as a government contract writer and is now enjoying the flexibility of her freelance writing career. Though she tends to focus on government related topics she can write on just about any subject you throw her way. She is an excellent researcher and loves to discuss topics that will empower women.
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