When you start a small business, it seems like the marketing budget is the first to go. Effective marketing campaigns can really be expensive. Here are a few inexpensive marketing techniques that have been successful for small business owners I know:
1. Have magnetic car signs made. Everywhere you drive, you are advertising your business. (This really works for pet sitters, daycares, etc. I know several of these types of businesses that gained new clients specifically because they used car signs.)
2. Attach a magnetic business card holder with a few cards in it to the car when you plan to stop somewhere for a while. Not everyone has a pen and paper handy to scribble down the number from your car signs.
3. If you have a service business, buy collared T-shirts with your business logo on them. The logo on your shirt tells prospective customers that you plan to be around for a while. Wear the T-shirts to meet with new clients, but also wear them around town. (To save money, you can print your own logos on T-shirts using an inkjet printer and special iron on transfer paper. Be sure to follow instructions or you’ll end up with a backward logo.)
4. Get a table at local events and have a nice display with your brochures, business cards, and some sort of giveaway available. (Coloring sheets are very cheap, but nice, giveaways. Don’t forget to have your business information printed at the bottom.) Hold a raffle or contest for a small prize at the table and don’t forget to follow up with all of the contest losers by sending them a coupon as a consolation prize.
5. Participate in local charity events with a donation of your time or a small gift certificate for the charity’s raffle or auction.
Do you have any inexpensive marketing ideas that worked for your small business? I’d love to hear about your ideas.