Friday, August 8, 2008

5 Affordable Marketing Ideas

Promoting a new busines can be an expensive task but it doesn't have to be! With a little creativity and thought you can promote your business without having to spend a fortune. Here are a couple of ways to market your business on a shoestring.

1. Start a Business Blog. You may have heard the word but you may still be wondering what a “blog” actually is! A blog is basically an online communication platform where you can post articles, photos, ideas and thoughts as often as you like. Visitors to the site can then comment on what you have said and you can choose to review the comments before publishing them to the site. Essentially, blogs can be extremely powerful PR tools and a great way to communicate with both colleagues and clients. There are many free blogging platforms out there where you can create your blog and have it hosted for free! Try, WordPress, Blogger or LiveJournal. In order for your blog to be successful in promoting your business you need to ensure that you post regularly (at least once per week) and that you promote your blogs on blog directories or blog carnivals as they are often called.

2. Join a Networking Group . These clubs are a great way to meet people and network within your community. They usually take the form of monthly or weekly business breakfasts or lunches where you have the opportunity to tell others about your product and vice versa. Many networking groups also try and help you to better your business by teaching sound business principles as well as sharing ideas on marketing and business promotion.

3. Offer Freebies. Why not offer free talks or presentations at industry events. Get in touch with the event organizers and ask whether they can fit you into the event schedule as a speaker. Often, these people need speakers and if you can offer your services free of charge then you have a win-win situation. If you are an expert in your field then your knowledge and advice will be valued and appreciated by the attendees and you may find this a great way to get new clients.

4. Write Articles for Relevant Websites and Publications . Websites, community newspapers and magazines are always looking for fresh content to publish. Your article should be interesting and newsworthy otherwise it’ll never be published so ask friends and colleagues to read the article and get their feedback before submitting it. Also make sure that the spelling and grammar is correct and perhaps consider submitting a photo with the article as this may improve your chances of getting published. Always include an author by-line at the end of the article that includes your name as well as your contact details so that readers can contact you if necessary.

5. Send Out a Monthly Newsletter to Clients. It is important to remind your clients that your business is alive and well and ready to do business. Remind them about your product or service through an e-newsletter but make sure to also supply them with useful information that will be valuable to them. If you just punt your business and supply promotional messages, your e-newsletter will soon be seen as spam and will get deleted faster than you can say “Junk Mail”.

Send your newsletters out consistently ie. If you decide to send out newsletters every month then make sure that you do that. This type of business promotion will never work if you send out one newsletter and then another one a couple of months later and then another one a year later. You get the drift? Build up an email database of all the clients that you have ever dealt and keep the list up to date, adding new clients every month. Try and keep your newsletters short, simple and easy to read and you’ll find your subscriber base will grow and hopefully your clientele too!

With those affordable marketing ideas in mind, try and think of a few more ideas and start to implement them. Remember, it is all about thinking smart and promoting smart. You don’t always need to have an enormous budget to get your name out there!

Author: Franchise Finder, Online Directory of Franchises and Business Opportunities in South Africa

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