Want good marketing? You’re going to have to pay for it.
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay much. We’ve gathered together several inexpensive marketing opportunities for business owners. Not all of them will work in every business situation, but they just may be the thing you are looking for to increase the number of people walking through your door.
- Viral marketing: With the popularity that YouTube and similar video sites are enjoying right now, a clever, humorous, or helpful video can get you far more dedicated viewers at a mere fraction of the price that a television commercial can cost. What’s more, it can get passed around and recommended at other sites and result in a very high viewership while costing next to nothing.
Cost: Whatever the cost to create the video.
- Google AdWords: Although some words are being bid into sky-high prices, these text-based ads that appear on the top and right-hand side of Google searches are still a viable way to generate business because you’re not paying for who sees your ad…but only for those who act on it.
Cost: Somewhere between a nickel and a dollar per click in most cases.
- Create helpful, informative articles and submit them to your newspaper for local, offline exposure. Submit similar articles online at free article submission sites for online exposure.
Cost: Just your time…or $10 to $50 per article to have it written by someone else.
- Classified ads are still a great way to generate offline business. People who read classified ads are definitely warm leads interested in buying. Learn to speak their language (low prices).
Cost: $2 to $25 for most classified ads.
- Create your own “coffee time” newsletter. These are often small, 2 page documents filled with jokes, riddles, puzzles, and bizarre news stories. Some businesses sell advertising in them but there’s no reason why you can’t be the only advertiser. People read these at coffee shops…a perfect captive audience.
Cost: Less than $50 to create, print, and distribute several to area coffee shops.
- Partner with another business to produce and distribute a flyer to your neighborhood: Advertise your business on one side and your partner’s business on the other. You’ll cut your advertising cost in half.
Cost: Half of what it would normally cost you to do the same thing on your own.
- Send an email to friends and family telling them that if they print the email and bring it in, they’ll get a significant discount. Invite them to forward it to their friends. One restaurant near my house did this by offering 50% off everything on the menu and they saw a significant increase in profits.
Cost: You’ll “spend” money because of the discount you offer, but a word-of-mouth campaign only costs the time it takes you to write the email.
- Blogs are still a great way to interact with your audience and I am continually amazed at how tight the blogging the community is. If you have an interesting blog, traffic will grow. Keep your corporate messages to a minimum and instead fill your blog with opinion, insight, and low-key friendliness.
Cost: Just your time to set up and maintain a blog.