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7 Marketing Tips for a Big Impact on a Budget

Growing companies trying to figure out how to make a splash in the marketplace sometimes pay consultants thousands of dollars for advice on the subject. And they get suggestions that will cost them even more.

But if you're clever and ambitious, there are plenty of ways to get noticed without spending a bundle. If you haven't tried these seven marketing tips yet, you're not really trying.

1. Press Releases

Write and distribute press releases that are newsworthy, and send them to newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations. If only one media outlet airs the story, you'll have free access to thousands of people. Design the headline to grab readers' attention in as few words as possible. Use active verbs. Get to the point quickly with a lead sentence that will draw the reader into a convincing piece.

2. Trade Shows

Renting space at a trade show can be expensive, but the best shows offer a great way to build your business. Have plenty of promotional materials ready to hand out to interested people. When the show's over, follow up. Call your leads in order of importance, but get in touch with all of them within seven days. Above all, keep every promise made at the booth.

3. The Internet

Establishing a home page for your business is relatively inexpensive and can reach many people. Always include a phone number or email address so that interested visitors can contact you. If you are a retailer, consider putting photographs of your products online, even if you're not ready to let people order your wares through your site. Advertising on Google and other search engines is another easy and surprisingly inexpensive way to drive a lot of potential buyers to your e-commerce site.

4. Direct Mail

Direct mail results depend largely on how much you're willing to spend on finding your target market and delivering quality materials to them. The per-customer cost is much higher than you'll pay for print ads, but if you create a finely tuned list of recipients, you will reach more highly qualified prospects. Few small firms are qualified to do their own direct mailings, so find a reliable specialist to do the work for you. Interview at least three or four mailing list vendors before you commit your money to a direct mail campaign.

5. Yellow Pages

Most ads get turned into fishwrap within days, but consumers hang onto the Yellow Pages all year. Remember to cross-reference your listing. If you do yard work, for instance, list your business under landscaping, maintenance, and home improvements. You want your ad to stand out, so consider springing for a larger ad or perhaps even hiring someone to design it.

6. Public Service

This is a great chance to do well by doing good. Sponsor the Special Olympics or participate in the annual Rotary Club Christmas Tree sale in your area. Donate your product to local charities, or speak to students at area schools about your business. All of these are terrific ways to position your company in a positive light in your community.

7. Games and Premiums

Periodic prize drawings can help create interest in a retail store or other business, as can contests held using social media. Promotional materials like T-shirts, coffee mugs, or pens emblazoned with your logo also help spread the word about your business.

From an article in

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