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Getting a new business off the ground can be a slow and costly process. While operating your business can be exciting, you will need to market your new business effectively if you want to be successful, whether you think marketing is fun or not.
Advertising/marketing can be very expensive. The last thing you want to do is to waste your time and money using poor marketing techniques in order to get new customers. There are a number of effect marketing tips and tricks that are low-cost or free, and can help bring in more clients.
Before you pay an arm and a leg to buy a massive billboard or radio ad to promote your new company or products, check out these free or low cost marketing ideas that can help you get more customers:
A Quality Website
An attractive website doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. With some basic computer skills, you can even set up your own website for just the cost of hosting fees. There are even some pretty nice templates that can be used, so you only need to insert text and images. Your website doesn’t need to be over the top. Keep it simple. A home page, an about page, a gallery featuring some of your best work, and a contact page is all you really need. Your website should be clean and uncluttered for maximum impact on potential customers. If you want to have more customers visit your website, you will need to have the website set up properly in order to rank high in your local search engine results.
A Catchy Tagline or Logo
A creative tagline or logo associated with your business name can help personalize your business and attract customers. You will want something easy for potential customers to understand. Logos can be simple and should be easily connected to your business.
Free Internet Listings
There are many local and nationally-based websites (such as Google) that offer free business listings. Make sure you advertise your business on as many local listings as possible. Depending on what type of business you have, you may also want to consider offering your products or services on a free listing service like Craigslist.
Charity auctions are a great way to get positive exposure for your woodworking business while helping a good cause. Offering one of your products from your wood shop up for auction is a great low-cost (your time and materials) way to advertise.
This is a great opportunity that you could offer at your local county fair or community day, or craft fair. Have people sign up for the prize with their emails. You could offer one of your products, or a gift certificate to the winner. You could also choose to offer all contestants a consolation prize such as 10% off a purchase. You can then use the emails to possibly offer additional promotions later on.
Help sponsor a local sports team, or advertise at a community event such as a charity walk. Sponsoring costs can add up quickly, so weigh your options before verbally committing. Having your business name fully or partially featured on a shirt or banner can help bring exposure to your business, while also benefiting your community. You could also possibly offer a product or service as one of the prizes.
Yard signs are seen everywhere because they can be effective. Yard signs are particularly beneficial to service businesses, but can also be helpful to other types of businesses. Make sure the advertising on the sign is clear, concise, and easy to read.
Community Bulletin Boards
Many local businesses and organizations such as banks, grocery stores, and swimming pools have bulletin boards where business cards, posters and other types of advertising can be placed. Make sure to ask permission before posting your ad.
You don’t have to have your vehicle fully wrapped in order to advertise. Magnet signs and vinyl window decals are low-cost, but effective ways to advertise on the go.
If you are just starting out, it is helpful to ask friends and family for help to promote your business. One powerful way to have others help is through social media. Promotion of your business and products or services can be quickly spread with the help of a few influential friends on social media. Become active on as many social media platforms as you can handle including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Youtube, and Instagram.
Door To Door
Save on postage costs by hand-delivering a well-designed postcard or flyer. Special door knockers can be purchased that hang on the door knob. Hundreds or even thousands of advertisements can be passed out in a day, depending on how close the houses are in a neighborhood. Research the area so you can target neighborhoods and houses that would be most interested in your products or services. Make sure you do NOT leave any advertisements in a mailbox. Check with postal regulations regarding this.
Depending on what type of business you have, craft fairs may be a good low cost way to sell products or promote your services. Selling at craft fairs can often be long and frustrating, especially depending on where they are located. They can also be lucrative, and a great way to promote your products. Local events such as community days often have lower cost vendor tables and can also be a great option.
Become friends with other small business owners in your community. Use and recommend their products and services. Get to know other vendors at craft fairs and other events you may participate in. These fellow business owners will be happy to get a recommendation, and will hopefully do the same for you.
Maintain a Blog
A blog is a great way to connect with current and potential clients. You can showcase your products and/or services while letting others get to know you, and what your business is about.
Build an Email List
If your past customers and potential clients are willing, you can use their email address to send promotions and to tell about new products. If you enjoy writing, you may consider creating an email newsletter. You could include tips, stories, or include articles from your blog, if you have one.