Although the economy is slowly struggling back to its feet, there are plenty of businesses that are still hurting pretty bad. Which means that finding money for advertising might be out of reach for many business owners right now.
The old adage holds true, however: it’s when times are tough that you really need to advertise. But, that’s exactly when you don’t have the money to do it.
So, what can you do? Well, you have to get creative. Here are some no cost advertising ideas to help get you started:
- Start Writing- If you own a business, then you’re probably an expert at something. Do you install geothermal heating units? Landscape yards? Have a craft store? How could you use your expertise to help your customers? Write informative articles and submit them to your local paper or magazine, trade publication, or professional organization. Make sure your business and contact info is mentioned at the bottom. You might also want to research submitting articles to online directories; this can be a great way to spread the word about your business.
- Teach A Class- You’d be amazed at how much business teaching an adult education class can bring in, especially if you have a service business like financial planning, accounting, landscaping, etc. Your local library, community center, YMCA, or even community college is probably looking for instructors. This will not only give you “expert” status to your customers, but also expose you to plenty of new people who need your help (otherwise, why would they be taking your class?)
- Inspire Referrals- If your customers send other customers your way, are you thanking them for the increased business? Most business owners don’t. But, this is a missed opportunity! Tell your customers that you’ll give them a reward (a free service, free product, or a hefty coupon) if they send more business your way. It’s a win-win situation!
- Hold a Contest- Want to get people into your store or to your website? Then host a contest! Give away product you’re selling, or a set number of hours of your service. But, make sure you tie the contest in with something you’ll get that will help you for a longer time. For instance, for every $10 of sales during the month, customers will get an entry into the contest. Or, for every person they sign up for your monthly newsletter, they’ll get an entry.
There’s no doubt that business owners have to try harder to make sales right now, but you definitely don’t have to spend a fortune to get people in the door. Getting creative and being willing to think outside the box of “traditional” advertising is your best strategy.