Small business Management 101: 10 Inexpensive Ways to Promote Your Small business Offline

Posted on: July 28th, 2009

Although the Internet may offer many conveniences to business owners, you still need to advertise and promote your small business in the real world especially if what you sell is not a digital product but a physical one. However, a full-scale advertising and promotions campaign entails a big expense budget that many start-up entrepreneurs cannot afford. If you want to keep your costs low while promoting your small business offline, you may want to explore the many inexpensive ways to do so. Here are 10 ways you can inexpensively promote your small business offline:

1. Use flyers and leaflets

Hire an agency to make them attractive, use words that appeal, and create a design that can catch attention. They need not be expensive but make sure that your contact information is there and write briefly about your products or services. You can put flyers on car windshields during kids’ sporting events or put them up at local colleges and libraries. You may also ask establishments you do regular business with like doctors’ offices, grocery stores, or laundry shops if you can leave your flyers with them.

2. Direct mail

If you can afford to buy stamps and envelopes, you can send a select group of people a unique sales letter with your professionally printed and designed business card and leaflets attached. It follows that before launching your direct mail campaign, you have already done your prospecting. Make sure those in your recipients’ list do belong to your target market segment.

3. Enter into swap deals

Arrange to swap your products or services for free advertising with the local TV or radio station. For instance, if you’re an interior decorator, you can offer your services to do their interiors for free if they will air your ads free-of-charge, too, for a given period.

4. Contribute articles to local newspapers and magazines

Many local publications rely on voluntary writing contributions. You can make a pitch about your small business in the “about the author” portion of your article.

5. Increase your community involvement

Join local organizations and build your offline network. Volunteer your time and services for community projects. Accept speaking engagements. Get known and people will get to know about your small business too.

6. Make use of small promotional items

Go to where your target customers are likely to converge or can be found and give away small promotional items. Say you’re selling baby-related products; you can provide welcome baby cards for hospitals. Or if you have an online bookstore and sell school supplies, you may give leave a bunch of bookmarks at libraries. Of course, those items should have your business name and contact numbers clearly printed on them. Appleton Creative has many sources for these and many other products.

7. Send complimentary products

If you’re in the food business, donate food at church affairs or civic gatherings where people can taste your products while you get free press coverage. You can also send free food occasionally to the community hospital, firemen or the police station. Send samples of your products to the local TV or radio talents and have them endorse your products on air.

8. Advertise in local print publications

Place ads in the classified section of your local newspaper. See if you can have an ad with a colored background so it would stand out in the page. You can also advertise in school sponsored publications, recreational parks and souvenir programs. These media are usually not too expensive.

9. Join trade shows and exhibitions

These venues provide the perfect opportunity for face-to-face interactions with your potential customers. People interested in your products will come and visit your stand. You don’t need to go all out and purchase a full blown 10’x10′ designed booth. There are many alternatives. Appleton Creative can help you with these options.

10. Cross-promote with other related suppliers

You can join efforts with other businesses catering to the same industry to promote each other’s products and services. For instance, if you are a photographer, consider tying up with a cake decorator, wedding gown specialist, caterer, wedding planner and other related businesses.

Keep your promotions plan simple but get your message across. Be creative and you can successfully promote your small business offline without having to spend a fortune.