As success coaches we frequently find ourselves brainstorming with small business owners about how to economically spread the word about what they do. When money’s tight it’s easy to stress over where to invest your limited marketing dollars, but sometimes the simplest and least expensive or free marketing ideas are the most overlooked.
Here are some of the simple marketing actions we get our clients to do:
Free marketing idea number 1: Make sure people can contact you. This seems obvious but it is often overlooked. Does your business card offer more than one way to contact you? Some people prefer the phone and others prefer email. I have seen this violated so drastically that I went to a website once that was designed to sell a product but there was literally no contact information on the site. I mean not a phone number, not a mailing address, not even an email address. And this was an internet marketing company!
Free marketing idea number 2: Leave your phone number when you call someone and want them to call you back. Don’t say, “Oh, they have my number.” Chances are they may have to look it up, or they may be checking messages from a remote location. Make it easy for them to call you back. The point is that the easier you make it for someone to return your call, the more likely they will.
Free marketing idea number 3: Put a great voice mail message on your phone. The other day a new business owner called for some information. She had been in business for almost a year but when we called back she didn’t answer and there was no way to leave a message. So go ahead and set up your voice mail and don’t let it fill up. And make sure to empty your inbox. I have called businesses only to find that their voice mail inbox was full leaving no way to leave a message. If you have a receptionist have him or her take messages. I called a business owner back the other day and was told by her receptionist that she would be back in the afternoon and I could call back then. Is she too lazy to take my number?
Free marketing idea number 4: Social Media Marketing. Social media sites are a great way to start and build relationships if done right. Even if all you do is put your name, what you do and your contact info, it’s one more way for people to find you.
Free marketing idea number 5: Put your business contact info on your email signature. How many emails do you send out every day? Here is a great opportunity to let people know about the services and/or products you offer. Under your name put a snappy slogan, a link to your website and your phone number.
BONUS IDEA: If you have marketing material, get it out there. Place your business cards at local restaurants. Put up fliers at the post office and library. If you have promotional pens, leave them with every server when you dine out. Then he or she will help you with your promotion for the cost of a pen. (If you do leave your pen, make sure you leave a nice tip!)
And the moral of the story is: Make it easy for people to contact you!