Trent in Indiana writes: "What are some ways to get the word out about my business without paying for advertising?"
Trent, there are plenty of way your can publicize your company without paying for ads, and many of these techniques won’t cost you a thing (besides time and energy). Here’s a review of a few of them.
1. Email Marketing. These days, most businesses have web sites and collect e-mail addresses. Send them invites to special events, discounts and so on. The key to email marketing is to not annoy your customer; you have to give the customer something of value with each “send.” And Trent, make sure no one receives email unless they ask to get it!
2. Newsletter. You might consider publishing a newsletter to give your customers information they need. Dani has an online teaching newsletter available that is free to anyone who subscribes. They receive a monthly, informative newsletter about the world of online teaching with links to her Web site should people wish to visit. This builds brand loyalty and makes you the go-to expert. And be sure to make it super easy for anyone to unsubscribe – not only to comply with the law but to keep your customers happy.
3. Blogs. These tools give customers a place to comment and an area for you to share your expertise in a public forum. John’s blog provides thousands of (free) subscribers with his latest thoughts on how to invest in the global economy. WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger are very basic simple programs for setting up blogs. You can also use RSS feeds and social media tools like Twitter to further deepen your reach.
4. Write! We practice what we preach, and write articles and op-eds for dozens of newspapers, magazines and Web sites – like MainStreet.com! Writing articles is a great way to share your passion while reaching a new audience. People today want to walk away with insight and information, so make sure your articles provide both.
5. Post in Online Forums. When you post messages in newsgroups, don’t directly push what you are selling. Instead, offer solid advice and use your signature to give readers a way to contact you. Many of these groups don’t allow direct marketing by posters anyway.
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