When people think about promoting their business, the first thought that comes to mind is, “What is is going to cost?” While marketing and advertising should be part of any well-considered budget, there are a number of opportunities to market your business for free that are often overlooked.
Clubs & Organizations
Most clubs and organizations have some sort of membership directory, either online or in print, sometimes both. Make sure that your business information is complete and accurate. Organizations also often have member spotlights or bios. If an organization that you are a member of offers this, be sure to submit your information.
Community Web Sites
There are a number of community web sites that offer free business directory listings. Just in the Kingwood area we have kingwood.com, gokingwood.com, kingwoodconnection.com, kingwoodnow.com, and kingwoodtexas.com.
In the October issue of the newsletter, “Making the Most of Your Web Site,” we covered using your email to promote your business.
Hand your business card to every person that you meet.
Attend networking meetings and have a brief (30 seconds) description of your business ready. If the meeting allows promotional material to be handed out, have flyers or coupons on hand.
If you are a member of a professional association, be sure to provide all of your company details, along with your web site url, for listing in their directory.
Write informative articles on subjects that are pertinent to your business and submit it to area web sites, newspapers, magazines, and newsletters.
Look for opportunities to speak on topics related to your business.
Write a press release and submit it to local and national news sources. There are countless topics for press releases, new products, services, awards, and events. If something exciting happened to your or your business, let people know about it.
Become a resident expert in an online forum that is either related to your business or is in your area
Many events and conferences offer business bags to attendees. Sometimes you have to be a sponsor or advertiser to include your promotional items, but many times the organizers are just looking for things to fill the bags and leave it open to anyone who supplies items.
Many local businesses offer a place to leave business cards or flyers.
Yes, sometimes ads can be free. I’ve offered this when I need to fill a space and I’m short on time. If an opportunity like this presents itself, you need to have an ready to go.
Take Full Advantage of Opportunities Available
I’ve put together a lot of different types of promotional packages: newsletter, programs, directories, online directories, and sponsor packages. No matter what the format, there are always people that miss out of opportunities, even ones that they have paid for, because they didn’t submit their information on time. So have a plan of action and be prepared.