Although marketing is essential to your business, it’s easy to spend too much of your hard-earned money on strategies that return very little.  In order to get the most bang for your marketing buck, you should find low-cost or even free ways to reach your local demographic.  Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  •  Sponsoring story time at a local library and other community workshops.  Most libraries have at least one, if not several, story groups for children of varying ages.  Offer to sponsor one by providing the refreshments, or even by being a guest reader.  In doing so, you will be able to network with potential customers, the children’s parents.  You could base your time at the library around a theme that is relevant to your business and provide samples that include your business card.  For example, a private children’s instrumental music instructor would read a book about a certain instrument, bring some different mouthpieces or small instruments for children to try out, and talk about what is offered at his or her studio with parents.
  • Form connections to local businesses.  By teaming up with local businesses, you can pool your resources together to draw in customers that would be able to use both of your services.  The owner of a hair salon could team up with the dress shop down the street.  Come prom season, each business could recommend the other and offer discounts if a customer uses both services.  To go even further, connecting to a local business would allow you to sponsor joint marketing events, like sidewalk sales or craft fairs. 
  • Create an e-newsletter or start a blog.  To make the ever-increasing cost of postage and mailing supplies a non-issue, you may want to develop a monthly newsletter to send out via email.  Collect the email addresses of your past customers, and with their permission, send out a newsletter that highlights information about products or services they have recently purchased, and introduce new products as well.  You can even make it more relevant by choosing some frequently asked questions to answer in each issue.  As an extra incentive for subscribing to the e-newsletter, consider offering a coupon or voucher in each issue.
  • Use your vehicle as a promotional tool.  Decals for your car that contain your business’s name, phone number, website URL, and slogan can be found at affordable prices, especially online.  Think of how many people see your vehicle, especially if you live in a congested area where there is a good deal of traffic.  That level of exposure is constant after the initial cost, which doesn’t have to be much.
  • Ask customers how they found you.  Keep track of how new customers are hearing about you.  This will give you accurate information about which of your marketing tools is most effective. From here, you can decide where to focus your efforts and your money.

As a small business owner or direct seller, your marketing campaigns must reach the largest amount of potentially interested people at the lowest cost possible to you.  What strategies have you used to market your business in affordable ways?  Please leave a comment below!

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