If you’re a small business owner, chances are you’re on limited funds
You know there is a need for marketing to bring in customers. It tends to be a Catch-22, need customers for money, but need money to appeal to customers.
There are resources out there for either free, or cheap marketing to drive customers to your business. You just need to know where to look.
- Press releases in your local paper are generally free. You need to let everyone know that you just added a new product or service, or even if your business is involved in a charity event. Talk about how your business will benefit customers. You can also have a professional agency write and distribute one around the county.
- Join organizations and network. Usually there is a minimal cost, but what better way to get out and meet people? Try checking out your local Chamber of Commerce, Women in Business organization or even an organization related to your hobbies. Most cities have a Meetup community. You can register on the site then select which groups you would like to join. Here in Fort Lauderdale we have a suprisingly active start-up community. You can also join some online communities on Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/smallbusiness/ is a good place to start. Get to know people and you’ll be on their mind when they need your services!
- Donating one of your items to a raffle or for sale in a charity auction is a great way to get your name and product out there. You’ll be remembered for your good deeds as well.
I use handwritten notes to reach out to prospective clients and to say thank you to vendors and clients. Email is too easy to ignore. Phone calls can be invasive and are more challenging to schedule for me. Letters are hard to ignore and not invasive.
- Send personal notes to everyone you can. There is a lot of power in a personal note. People will open up the envelope and read what you have to say, as opposed to throwing out a postcard or flyer. It will show you care; I’ve done this and have been amazed with the results. People have remembered me, even a few years down the road when they needed my service.
- Seriously, Just Ask. Friends, family, neighbors- anyone for referrals! You need business, ask for it! If you’re uncomfortable approaching someone directly and asking for a referral, you can do it subtly. However you decide to do it, just do it!
- Write an article about your business, even if it’s not about your business. At the end, throw in a brief description of yourself, and the owner of “such and such business” People will remember. You’re reading this article right now arent you?
- Use the signature line on your email to promote your website, and with a brief tag line. Every time you email someone, your name and business will be there! With email usage at an all time high, it’s free and easy to get the word out constantly to everyone you know.
Running a small business is difficult as it is, and there is always the budget hanging over your head on where to spend money, and how to do it efficiently. Try some of these steps, and it will help keep your name out there.