Advertising can be expensive, but there are many low-cost (or sometimes even free) options out there for you to market your business. Here are eight areas to explore that may work for you.
1) Customer referral program – Reward your customers who bring in new business with a referral program. Word-of-mouth advertising is extremely effective, so turning your customers into ambassadors for your shop is a win-win for everyone.
2) Industry partnerships – Forming partnerships with other local businesses can help increase your viability, and cross-promotion could place your products in areas you may not have had access to before.
3) Host an event or class – Periodically hosting “behind the scenes” tours of your shop, or interactive workshops for children, adults, or families, builds excitement for your brand and allows you to get to know your customers on a more personal level.
4) Balloons at local events – Everyone loves balloons. Have some with your logo on them ready to hand out at parades, farmers’ markets, art and craft fairs and other community events.
5) Sponsor a youth sports team – Not only can sponsoring youth sports build goodwill and a positive image in the community, it also provides you with the benefit of having your logo prominently displayed on team uniforms, signage, etc. You can even print up a few extra t-shirts with your logo on them for the parents to wear.
6) Props – Reach out to local theater groups or schools and allow them to use your products as props in their performances in exchange for acknowledgment in the printed programs.
7) In-kind non-profit sponsorship – most non-profit organizations welcome in-kind sponsorships for their events. This not only increases your reach, but also puts your products in the hands of potential new customers.
8) Business card drawing – Have a weekly contest and give away flowers or other small prizes. This tried-and-true tactic also helps you to build your customer list by collecting information from the business cards.
Do you have any other low-cost or free marketing ideas to share? We would love to hear them.