Promoting Your New Business: Advertising On A Shoestring
Mar 20, 2006, 12:45
Starting a new business is hectic, what with obtaining the funding, finding the right location, and leaping all the bureaucratic hurdles the various local, state, and federal governments put in your way. When you're finally done with the set-up tasks, you may just want to rest on your laurels and take it easy for a while. Chances are you've already ordered the usual box of cheap checks for your new business - and maybe you've even splurged a bit on Quicken Business Checks software! But you'll soon realize that the real work is just beginning. One of the things you absolutely have to do is advertise yourself. Even if you're located in the busy downtown of a revitalized city, you can't just depend on people noticing you as they walk down the street: no, you must make your presence known. Fortunately, you don't have to go broke doing it. Even if you have a limited budget, there are little things you can do to draw attention to yourself. We'll discuss a few of them here; why not try these, and then let your imagination take you where it will?
Little things that mean a lot
Looking for a really easy way to promote your business? Try cunningly designed address labels. If there's one thing that businesses generate a lot of, it's mail. Not only do we all have to pay bills, some of us have to send customers bills of our own. Sure, you can address your mail the old-fashioned way, and scrawl your name and address on every one of your envelopes; but that takes time, and we all know the old business equation: Time = Money. Another alternative is to use one of those newfangled address stamps. That's also handy, but a bit plain. Why not use a nice design or logo that can help your business stick in a person's mind just that much longer. Did you know you can have a custom photo printed on personalized address labels? And you can even order personal check designs with a picture of your store front if you want to. You can bet folks will remember your business if they see a unique picture staring up at them from their mail pile.
Say it loud - say it proud
We've all seen fliers posted here, there, and everywhere for just about everything under the sun. These days, it's easy to create and print snazzy leaflets on your home computer system, considering the inexpensive inkjet and laser printers available, not to mention the handy preloaded graphics and word processing software most computers come with. Your flier design is up to you, but we recommend you trumpet your "GRAND OPENING SALE!" or "NOW OPEN"- and maybe even offer a discount to folks who bring in your fliers. To make the fliers more eye-catching, print them on something besides plain white paper. You can often buy a ream of colored paper (500 sheets) and even paper that already has a cool boarder preprinted on it for less than $10. Put these fliers in local businesses that allow it, especially popular restaurants, and post them on public bulletin boards and other legal areas. We don't recommend putting them on utility poles and such unless you want to become very familiar with the local authorities.
Work Smarter - not harder
Sometimes, all it takes to get business is a little paper rectangle. Business cards were a great invention, because it means that for a few dozen bucks you can get hundreds of little billboards that you can carry around with you, display in your store, and (ahem) "accidentally" leave lying all over town. Of course the card should have your name, business address, and phone number on it, but have you ever considered having your photo added to your cards? The truth is that photo business cards are quite memorable and have proven to work very well.
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