The old saying goes that you’ve got to spend money to make money – but that doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. While advertising will always cost something, that doesn’t need to be a significant chunk of your company’s finances. Instead, consider these seven tips. They’re cheap, effective and a great stepping stone to help your marketing team stretch its limbs and limber up. Who knows, before long, you may be putting out glossy print ads in national magazines! For now, start local.
1. Be a part of your community
If you’re looking for inexpensive advertising, chances are you’re a start-up or local business. Whether you intend to go nationwide, your products’ home is primarily on the Internet or your business is primarily within the state or county, it’s important that your company establishes good ties with the community. This is the sort of thing that gets word of mouth going. It may mean helping to sponsor a local road race or kids’ little league team – but whatever you do, give to the community and it will return the favor.
2. Have a promotional pen strategy
Promotional Pens are one of the standards of any good marketing plan. They may seem small and easy to miss, but these pens have numerous benefits over even the most stylish and costly print or Web ads. While someone will inevitably toss out a magazine or click away from a webpage, people rarely ever get rid of pens. So, if you can spread a bunch of writing utensils bearing your company’s name, website and telephone number far and wide, you’re making a long-term investment that keeps you present in your potential clients’ pockets, bags and desk drawers – not to mention their minds!
3. Get involved in social media
Web advertising is generally an inexpensive and useful way to get the word out there about your brand. But if you want absolutely zero cost marketing online, you can always use the extremely useful tool already set out for you: social media.
Facebook and Twitter cost nothing, but they do require a lot of work and upkeep. Getting “Likes” and garnering followers is quite a bit of work. But done well, it can draw in a lot of attention and new customers. It’s also an excellent way to promote sales and special events.
4. Offer industry seminars
If you consider yourself an industry thought leader, you can use your rhetoric and ideas to your company’s advantage. Many trade shows include more than just expo floors filled with booths. Often, there are seminars and panels in need of industry leaders to speak about and discuss recent events, standards or other niche topics. This can be a great opportunity to earn your company some press and attention. And it’s also a good time to hand out a few promotional writing utensils – maybe with some custom notepads as well.
5. Send out mailers
At trade shows, you’ll find your company handing out press kits. These can be extremely useful, especially for business-to-business companies. Mailers take the press kit philosophy and pare it down to be more affordable. Rather than filling custom tote bags with goodies like flash drives and promotional t-shirts alongside company information like you should in a press kit, send out mailers in slim envelopes filled with pamphlets and a few thin, lightweight promotional goods, like custom bumper stickers.
6. Advertise in local newspapers
This harkens back to point number one, but it’s an essential next stage for any company with a focus on local customers. That means pizza places, coffee shops, plumbers, electricians, boutiques and everything in between. Local papers often feature lots of ad space that’s relatively inexpensive and certain to net you attention from exactly the clientele you’re looking for.
7. Build a fan base of supporters
Spend some time in public and you’ll quickly recognize just how much promotional material floats around voluntarily, whether on people’s T-shirts, hats, coffee mugs or car bumper stickers. All kinds of major brands show up, but so do quite a few smaller ones. You don’t need to be Apple to win a fan base – you just need to provide great services to folks who want to rep their pride in you. Offer loyal customers the right promotional gifts, from tees to custom water bottles, and they’ll do a portion of your marketing for you.
Have some more great ideas for inexpensive marketing? We’d love to hear your ideas.