10 Overlooked Cheap & Easy Marketing Methods

I notice a lot of local businesses who fail to do any advertising. They say word of mouth is the best advertising and that’s all I’m going to do. They sit back and wait and wait and wait . . .  These are the same people that complain about being slow and have sales down in the basement. Truth be told, word of mouth advertising is the best form; however, it only works in conjunction with other forms of advertising and marketing. It works alone only if you have been in business for many years and have a large clientele list or if you have no competitors for a needed service or product in your area. I have put together a list of very cheap and simple advertising options that will keep on marketing for you long after the purchase. These are items that many businesses use everyday successfully and they are all very cheap to buy.

  1. Banners – You can get full color printed banners describing your products or services or maybe even some kind of special pricing. If you design them properly, these can bring in a lot of new business, especially if you have some road frontage to hang the banner.
  2. Business Cards – Everyone has business cards; however, are they designed effectively? Are you taking advantage of multiple colors to enhance your design and catch the eye of your potential clients? Are you offering any kind of coupon on your cards to draw in new clients? Don’t be too cheap to pay for a professional design and layout initially. It will be well worth the extra $50. Then give your business cards out like crazy. Leave them everywhere you go. Also, be sure and get individual cards for each salesperson. Don’t have one design with a ________ to write their name. That looks cheap and unprofessional. I can think of several businesses I have been to recently that are guilty of this.
  3. Flyers and Brochures – Flyers are extremely cheap to print 2500 or 5000 quantity and pass out in mass. Be sure and details your services and products. If possible, include your pricing or include some kind of call to action so your clients will call you or visit your business. These are extremely important to have professionally designed. I can assure you that a flyer or brochure designed with Microsoft Word or Publisher looks unprofessional and is much less effective than designed by a pro.
  4. Bookmarks – Next time you visit the library, look for free bookmarks and you will see all kinds of designs. Readers take these daily to mark their pages in their books, so ask your local library if you can drop off a few thousand bookmarks. Be sure to have some kind of nice design on the front that will attract people to take one and include your business info on the back.
  5. Postcards – Postcard marketing can be very effective for announcing events, new products, or specials. I received oil change specials all the time from a local oil & lube business that I frequently redeem. A postcard costs less than $0.10 in bulk and the stamp only $0.29, so for $0.39, that oil & lube business got $30 from me. It’s a no-brainer. You can buy mailing lists from business or individuals in your local area that you can use to mail postcards to.
  6. Custom T-Shirts – T-shirts have a little cost initially; however, if you have a stylish, comfortable t-shirt in a nice color, that shirt will be worn over and over and act like a walking billboard. Hundreds of people will see your advertisement. Make sure you wear your own t-shirts frequently and get some in smaller sizes for your kids.
  7. Car Magnets – These are probably the single most effective form of marketing with promotional products for the cost. Think about how much time you spend at traffic lights waiting for that light to turn green. During that time, those drivers (who aren’t on their cell phone) are looking around and curiosity will cause them to read your card magnet. Make sure it explains what your business does and not just your name. I see car magnets all the time and they will just say something like Global, Inc and a phone number. What the heck do they do? I’m not going to call them and just ask what do you do? Think like someone who has never heard of you and make sure you get the point of your business across in a brief few seconds.
  8. Holiday Greeting Cards – The holiday season, especially around Christmas, is a time when a lot of people spend a lot of money, so send out greeting cards to your top customers. Make sure and send them out early in December, so they remember you before making purchases. Also, don’t go get the $5 pack of generic and cheap looking Christmas cards. Have them custom designed. They are cheaper than you think and will make much more of an impact.
  9. Yard Signs – You see these all the time at major intersections. I have called many numbers inquiring about services and products from these yard signs. They tend to get a bit lost during election time, but outside of that time frame, these do an amazing job at getting your message out.
  10. Blog Frequently – I’m not talking about blogging about how you feel today, but use your expertise in your industry and put out some useful information. For instance, if you are in the computer repair business, give tips on improving the speed of your computer or give alerts about new viruses and trojans. If you are in the real estate business, post about ways to improve property value or curb appeal. Remember that you have the knowledge about your industry and you are the expert. Make sure your blog reflects that.

These are all extremely cheap forms of marketing with many of them great for flood marketing, which is just saturating your area with cheap forms of marketing so mass amounts of people are exposed to your business. Be sure and have your products professionally designed for maximum effectiveness. If you want to grow and in many cases stay in business during the tough times, don’t ever stop marketing. Be sure to take advantage of the cheaper forms of marketing during these tougher times. They can be very effective and lucrative.

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