Five Cheap Tricks for Promoting Your Business

by : Nancy Jackson

If you’re like me, you’re always looking for ways to promote your business — without spending a ton of money. Well, you’re in luck. This article lists five of my top 10 favorite ideas for promoting your business or organization for next to nothing (and in some cases, completely fr*e). While these ideas are a start, there are plenty of other ways to get the word out about your product or service and build relationships with potential clients. Use this list as a jumping off point to brainstorm more cheap ideas that may work wonders for your business. And stay tuned for the other five tricks, which will appear in my Nov. 2004 newsletter, 'Marketing Tips from The WriteShop.'

1. Volunteer your services or donate your products to a local nonprofit. This tactic doesn’t just help spread the word about your products and services, but it also allows you to help a worthy cause. Many nonprofits are happy to promote their donors in their own marketing materials, and nonprofit leaders are also good people to know because many of them are well-connected in their communities (and happy to give referrals).

2. Educate friends and family about your business. Simply utilizing the relationships you already have is one of the easiest but most often overlooked forms of marketing. Nobody wants to hear about your business or products all the time, but it’s a good idea to make sure your family and friends understand what you do — you never know when they might have an opportunity to send business your way.

3. Become active in online forums related to your industry. Many business owners and marketers turn to online discussion groups for advice or to vent frustration, and you might be surprised how frequently discussion pals become clients or referral sources. By maintaining your professionalism and sharing your own advice freely (remember to give, not just receive), you’ll earn respect from other forum members, who may turn to you when they need your products or services.

4. Make yourself available to local media. Reporters for newspapers, business publications, television and radio are constantly looking for expert sources to interview about various topics. If they know about you and your areas of expertise in advance, chances are they’ll contact you when they need a quote or expert insight about your particular field. If you don’t have relationships with media already, start by locating the reporters who usually report on your areas of interest. Introduce yourself in a personalized letter or e-mail, and include a list of issues for which you would be willing to comment. Follow up occasionally with press releases or other information the reporters may find interesting or newsworthy.

5. Sponsor local events in your market area. Consider hosting an after-hours event for a local business organization at your office or home. Sponsor a Little League team or a nonprofit fundraising event. These types of activities will not only keep your name in the spotlight, but they’ll also help establish your company’s reputation as a generous, community-minded business.

Copyright 2004 Nancy Jackson