In January we taught you how to upgrade your home office on the cheap. Now we’re going to teach you how to market your business as efficiently and cheaply as possible. After all, you’ve got that new (feeling) and snazzy office—don’t you want to put it to work?
1. Order Personalized Office Supplies
You can get personalized office supplies from a bulk supplier like www.inkhead.com. Focus on pens, pencils, small notepads—things that people may take and then use regularly. Have your business name and contact information printed on them and then simply leave them in places that a person might need that object—like leaving your pen at the bank or the grocery store, a pad of paper in the library, etc.
The great thing about this trick is that it pulls double duty: you get office supplies and marketing materials at the same time.
2. Print Up Sample Product
Most businesses, at some point, have a need for shirts—either to give to employees, to give out as “freebies” or prizes for contests or even simply to sell as an additional source of revenue for the company. Ask each drop shipper/t-shirt designer/printer you’re thinking of working with to print you up a single shirt as a free sample so that you can get an idea of the quality of their work, delivery speed/style, etc. Almost every professional in this vein will give you at least one free “trial” shirt.
Wear these shirts out in the world as you go about your daily business. This helps spread the word about your business and gives you a chance to gauge reaction to each design and style of shirt you’re thinking of having printed. It’s marketing and marketing research all at the same time!
3. Utilize Direct Mail
If you plan on sending a mass quantity of a specific type of mail the postal service (http://www.usps.com) will often give you a discount on mailing cost. Most print shops will also give you a discount if you agree to have a gross of something printed up (as opposed to just a few). Many entrepreneurs believe that direct mail has gone the way of the dinosaur but it is still an incredibly valuable tool.
The best way to utilize direct mail is to make it mutually beneficial. For example, send out a survey asking people to evaluate you, your products or services and to offer any suggestions to help you improve in the future. Include a coupon (or coupon code) for a discount on a future purchase and a postage-paid envelope for them to send back their survey.
This does many things: it gives you valuable information about how to better serve your customers. It encourages people to buy more of your product and the offered discount provides added incentive to actually make a purchase.
There are lots of methods of free marketing that you can do to help bring in new business, but sometimes spending a little bit of money is a worthy investment. What is your favorite cost-effective marketing method?