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Marketing a Business for Free

Your small business is ready to begin marketing, and your advertising budget is -- $0. Don't despair. For many personal service businesses, expensive mass-marketing is the least effective means of promoting your business. Here are some inexpensive methods that actually work.

Business Cards

When they arrive from the printer, don't just sit them on the shelf. Get them into as many hands as possible. Here are some suggestions:

  • Call your friends and relatives and tell them you have started a new business. Visit them and leave a small stack of business cards to hand out to their friends.
  • Talk to all the vendors from whom you buy products or services. Give them your business card, and ask if they can use your product or service, or if they know anyone who can.
  • If they have bulletin boards where business cards are displayed ask if yours can be added to the board.
  • Leave a small stack of cards on the table in the waiting room of your doctor, auto mechanic, children's school.
  • Enclose cards in all your correspondence, even if it is not directly related to your business, such as household bills and personal letters.
  • Use your business card to give your phone number or e-mail address to people you've just met.

Networking, or Speaking up

  • Attend meetings of professional groups, such as computer users groups, Rotary or Kiwanis Clubs, your local Chamber of Commerce. Have business cards in a pocket where they are easily reachable so that you can hand it to each person with whom you speak.
  • Volunteer. Participating in worthwhile community projects you believe in will give you the opportunity to meet more people who may be in need of your services.
  • Talk to people wherever you go; show an interest in them and they'll respond with an interest in you... and an opportunity to promote what you do. They may not be potential clients themselves, but they may know someone who might be. Don't miss this opportunity for word-of-mouth.

Take Care of Your Image

  • As a small business owner, you want to ensure that everyone who meets you forms a positive first impression.
  • When sending e-mail to a client, nothing looks more unprofessional than typos or misspelled words. So take a little extra time to get your e-mail messages right.
  • Answer all your e-mail messages with a maximum delay of one day. This shows that you are prompt and take people who want to contact you seriously.
  • Leave a professional, friendly-sounding message on your answering machine. Return calls promptly.
  • You don't have to dress up to work in your yard, or wear a business suit when you're working in your home office, but you do need to be physically presentable and prepared to deal with people pleasantly at all times.

By PageWise, Inc.


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