The Back Pocket
Promoting Your Business On A Shoestring Budget
Have you ever wondered how you can create a business with a great client base, without spending thousands of dollars on ads? The truth is that advertising is not cheap and public relations can be costly as well. But a savvy business owner can often get the company’s name out to the public for very little money. Notice, there is no mention of getting everything for free, but there are ways to participate in advertising for considerably less money than you would expect. In fact, if you get creative you may find better ways to advertise than you’d ever imagined. If you own a restaurant, or have one in the community that does a great business, consider going in with other businesses to create placemats the restaurant can use, and offer them for free. Anywhere from 12 to 20 businesses can place their ad on a placemat and the restaurant uses them on their tables.
The price for each participating business will only be 1/20th of the cost to produce and the ads are going to be in front of a captive audience. This can be a one-time deal or a lasting business partnership between the advertisers and the restaurant. If there are more than one location of the same restaurant, getting the placemats in all restaurant can create consistency in your advertising efforts. There are also opportunities to team with professional services by sponsoring informational pamphlets to place in professional offices. For example, if you offer child care services, buying pamphlets from companies that offer informational items on childhood diseases, with your name on them, can be placed in doctors offices as well as in pharmacies.
Many of these are available and can be an inexpensive alternative to direct advertising. Get involved in community affairs and if the budget permits, sponsor a local sports team. The expense of uniforms with your business name on the back or front is a good method of getting your name out into the public. Awareness for your business as well as becoming known as one that supports the community can often provide better public relations than many other paid means. Press releases are often thought of as free advertising and most newspaper editors can see through a press release and the intentions in which they are sent. A good press release, and one that has a chance of being printed, will offer information useful to the public instead of just a blatant attempt at self-promotion. If you have information about a new product important to the paper’s readers, then there is a realistic chance of it getting printed. An article about a promotion of a local resident or a new product that save money will be more welcome and having it appear in as editorial content in the paper gives it more credibility than when it appears as a paid advertisement. Think before you write because once editors get used to seeing your pitches as looking for a free ad, they probably won’t read any of the ones you send in.
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