This is a guest post courtesy of Alice Jenkins.
You can never have too many ideas for marketing your business. At least not in my book. hehe
While one thing may work for some, something else may work for another, and the below ideas are a mix of tried and true as well some more less typical ideas than just the t-shirt and expo show schtick.
Advertising and marketing is a gamble no matter how you do it.
There’s no way to know for sure if your newest method is going to work or how many customers it’s going to bring you. But you do know how much money your spending to get your name out there.
I once asked my Economics teacher in high school:
“What method of marketing do you think is the best?”
“The one that gets you the most customers for every dollar you spent”
It took me until I got out to the hallway to think of the perfect response “What about every penny you spend.”
But the concept was as clear to me then as ever.
Every dollar you spend on making flyers, putting gas in the car to go to a trade show, or paying for ad space is a dollar you may never see again.
Nobody likes to gamble with money that is meant for them to live on but if you absolutely have to spend money to make money, then your best bet is not to put all your money on the one table that COULD pay off, but spread every dollar out as much as you can.
The beauty with marketing is that there is no limit on the return you can get back for every dollar you spend.
Here are some effective marketing ideas that help gain new customers and cost next to nothing.
Advertise in Businesses With Useful Items
You’d be amazed how well you can get the word out by dropping 5 writing utensils with your business info on them in an office pen holder.
You can get 200 branded pens for 60 cents a pen. Drop a stack of pens in a variety of business offices that are doing well or offers a complimentary service to yours.
Every time a person uses a pen they will see your brand and your contact info.
This can be done with any everyday item someone would use at a place of business. There are places where you can brand a stapler with your information and then go put it at an info desk in a hotel.
How often do you see someone throw a stapler away?
Have the Demographic Sport the Brand
Not the most original idea but an effective one nonetheless.
Try not to go the T-Shirt route, everyone does it and it is really only as effective as the person wearing it.
It’s also limited to one person wearing it at a time and who knows if it’s just going to sit in their closet after that.
A cheaper alternative is koozies, bracelets, or cups.
This is especially effective when marketing to college kids as they don’t throw free stuff like that away and when they are deciding where to hang out or eat that night (whatever your business may be) your brand will always cross their mind.
The key with branded items that can be worn or used to dress something else is that they are constantly used and exposed to people. Clothing usually sits in the closet or the laundry pile more than it does on a person.
Host a Charity Event
Most businesses think charity events and assume that they will just spend money for nothing while the charity of choice gets all the money.
This may be true to an extent but it is nonetheless a great way to get people to come to you and see you in a good light.
This is the perfect opportunity to push your business or brand name because people are expecting to see it while they have some fun.
Rent some flags and throw a charity football tournament right next to your business.
Host a themed dance afterwards at a rented venue and take a share of the income.
You could even host a viewing of an event like the Super Bowl or the championship finals of another sport (a friend of mine went to nice bar that hosted the finale of Dancing With the Stars, she said it was packed).
Sponsor Organizations at Local Schools
If you are located next to a university or even a high school, consider making it known to their organizations that you are open to hosting fundraisers.
Clubs, sports teams, and Greek organizations are always looking for places to help them throw fundraisers such as car washes, dunk-tanks, kissing booths, etc.
Work with the organizations and have some sort of discount for the customers that are referred by the members.
This is a great way to get some quick business and build good public relations with the community. The best part about events like these is that the organization throwing the event does most of the work and advertisement for you.
Get all of the employees together and make a float to ride on in the homecoming, 4th of July, or Memorial Day parade.
Any mid-sized town will have some sort of parade pass through. This is a great way to advertise your business and get employees more involved in promotions through a fun activity.
Set aside a budget for the float and really try to make a run for one of the awards. Usually it’s some radio station, newspaper, or local TV network handing out the awards and winning one will only net you more exposure.
All of these methods are primarily to get your name out there and raise brand awareness. It will not guarantee you a business boom overnight.
It’s important to consistently make yourself visible to the community and try new things and these ideas are great for setting up shop and getting the word out.
Over to You
What are some other ideas you can think of for clever marketing? Have you tried anything particularly creative or “out of the box” that worked like gangbusters? Share your story in the comments below, and share this post if you found it useful. Your effort and interaction is always appreciated!