Dec 132011
 

When it comes to advertising it’s amazing how much you can do with little or no money

Sometimes in a business you need to ramp up your advertising but lack the funds to do something ‘proper’, like take out ads in a newspaper or buy a slot in the listings directories. But don’t worry, there are other – cheaper – ways of advertising businesses that can be just as effective; all it takes is a little bit of imagination and a little more personal time and effort.


You can always advertise your business online but that’s quite a passive way to get your name out there and it misses one of the key things about building a customer base – building relationships. As you go around promoting your business is you want to be building relationships with potential customers because that’s what keeps people coming back to you.

Networking

With relationships in mind what better way to build relationships than to go out networking? Go on the web and type in ‘networking my city’ and you will be surprised at how many local events are happening where business owners are getting together. Some of these people will be potential customers, others will know other people who they can refer your business to.

Many networking events take place over breakfast or after working hours so they don’t bite into the working day. Some have an annual membership but others just charge a minimal fee to cover the breakfast/coffee. Most will allow you to attend a few meetings for free so you can see if they suit you and your business.

Don’t expect immediate results from networking as you will need a little time to build up those relationships but a few months down the line you will start to see more and more people walking through your door because “Joe recommended I should come and see you”.

Press releases

This is an area often forgotten by those who run a business from home but can reap surprising rewards and is completely free. It is also powerful from a relationship perspective – if someone has read about you in a newspaper then they have heard about you from a third party source they trust. As a result much of their resistance to buying from you has already been reduced.

To make the press release work you just need an interesting event to have taken place in your business. That can be anything: your shop opening, signing of a new contract (or any other sort of celebration), a charity walk that you did – anything that’s going to be of interest to your local customer base.

Flyers

Might sound old fashioned in the internet age but they still work. Flyers are cheap but effective and you can target them quite well. The key thing with flyers is to get the offer right – making the flyer look good is important but most important is making sure that the offer is of immediate interest to the reader because they will only look at it for a couple of seconds before deciding whether it’s heading for the bin or the kitchen notice board.

So, what are you waiting for?