Free marketing and advertising ideas for business
۱. Know Who Your Customers Are
- Describe the person most likely to want or need your product.
- Why should they want to buy your product?
- When you know the motivation, you can target the product to the correct customer base.
- You can’t sell a product until it is defined and positioned.
Note: A pharmaceutical company shelved a cold medicine because they couldn’t correct the drowsiness it produced. Someone renamed it NyQuil and sold it as a bedtime cold medicine. It became the largest selling cold medicine on the market. Just because your product is good doesn’t mean it will sell. It must be positioned correctly. That’s what marketing does.
۲. Promote With Postcards
- The U.S. Postal Service is proposing slight increases for mailing letters and postcards—but leaving first-class “Forever” stamps at their present 49 cents.
Under a filing with the Postal Regulatory Commission, letters to international destinations would rise from $1.15 to $1.20. Postcards would rise from 34 cents to 35 cents.
The increases being proposed if passed would become effective on April 26,2015.
- Postcards convey a sense of urgency to the customer. They may not read your letter but they will turn your postcard over. (You have 3 seconds to get your message across. The average time people look at an ad.)
- Postcards will keep your mailing list clean (Address Correction Requested), First class returned and corrected free of charge by the Post Office. (Bulk Mail letter corrections will have additional charges. Check with the Post Office).
- With a postcard, your message is out in the open. Other potential customers will see it too, not just the person it’s addressed to.
۳. Create A Survey
- Mail a survey to customers to find what motivates them to buy.
- Where do they work? What magazines do they read? Age Group?
- This information will tell you where and how to reach your targets.
- Offer a gift or discount for completing the survey.
۴. Use A Two-Step Approach
- Offer complimentary business related information to potential customers.
Step 1: Offer a free “fact sheet” to customers that shows your expertise.
Step 2: Add these customers to your mailing list and mail to them often.
۵. Say “Happy Birthday“
- Mail greeting cards to your customers (dates from your survey #3).
- Include a coupon or special offer or tell them about your product that they should give themselves as a gift.
۶. Team Up With Another Business
- Share advertising costs with another company.
- Sharing costs makes high-quality printing and larger ads affordable.
- Can your product be teamed with another product? (Motor Oil packaged with your new funnel invention.)
۷. Be Consistent And Committed
- Research shows a message must be repeated to be remembered.
- Send multiple mailers to the same people.
- If you advertise, do it where you can afford to do it often.
۸. Use The Telephone
- Test a new idea by phone before you commit to costly promotions.
- Response from 100 phone calls will be similar to 1,000 pieces of mail.
- You’ll receive faster results, it costs less, and you’ll generate greater input and feedback.
۹. Raise Your Prices
- Has your competition raised their prices? Maybe you should too.
- Higher prices separate you from the crowd, and implies your product is better, an deserves a premium price. BMW does not compete with Yugos.
- Be careful in this area. The customer must see the value of the higher price.
۱۰. Promote Trends or Current Events
- Can you tie your product or service to the environment, Olympics, World Series?
- Gain valuable credibility and interest by association with known groups.
۱۱. Add Personality To Your Business
- Use photos of you and/or your staff in your promotional materials.
- A quote from the person pictured conveys friendliness and builds confidence in your company.
- Responses to seminars and programs are dramatically higher when photos are used.
۱۲. Use Deadlines
- Make sure you put a time limit on promotional materials.
- Watch your expiration dates. (What day does your offer end?
۱۳. Fear Of Not Having Your Product
- For products that increase personal security, personal safety or health, fear can be an effective business-boosting tool.
- If they don’t buy your product now, they will miss something. A discount, premium free gift, etc. Fear of loss is more powerful than expectation of gain.
۱۴. Use The Media
- Send letters covering topics related to your business to local publications.
- Connect your product or business to some current event that is making news.
- Your name and business name will probably be used if your letter is printed.
- You will be perceived as an expert in your field.
- You are holding this information because of an Internet site or a local or national promotion.
۱۵. Make Advertising Last
- Buy ads that last months, not minutes. (Yellow Pages Local and Online)
- Magnetic signs for car or van. Don’t forget the back of your vehicle. Put signs on truck tailgates and rear windows. Most customers don’t drive alongside your vehicle and copy down the phone or address. They are more apt to do it at a stop sign.
- Use clever bumper stickers or T-shirts.
- If you’re printing an expensive color piece, ask the printer to quote the price of his house paper.
- Design the outside of the brochure to be permanent and the inside for future changes. That way you can print up large quantities (5,000 or more) of the outside only and have the printer keep them on hand. Then as your message changes you only have to print the inside.
- You will save by doing a large run in the beginning. You will also save by only printing what you need as your company changes. Avoid outdated brochures.
۱۶. Examine Promotional Materials
- Make sure business cards, letterheads, brochures and packaging materials are first class. This is not the area to spare expenses.
- What types of materials is your competition using?
- If you can’t afford 4 color brochures use 2 or 3 color. Use of color increases response by 26%.
- If you can’t afford 2 color… use screens. (See Below)
Note: Screen is another word for shade (darker) or tint (lighter). For example: A florist wants red flowers around the borders of his brochure and black ink for the text. That’s two colors. Pink is a 50% tint of red, it is not another color. You can have some pink flowers and some red flowers with little or no additional cost depending on how your printer handles screens. This process will give the appearance of three colors; red, pink, and black. Use gray (a tint of black) and presto, a 4 color brochure (red, pink, gray and black) for a 2 Color price. It looks expensive but isn’t.
۱۷. Make A Memorable Business Card
- Make your business card a mini-brochure. If you need a map, or other information, use the back of the card. Your card is there long after you are gone.
- One thousand two-color business cards run around $30.00 – $60.00, and its worth it.
(Use shades – See #16 above and have 3 or 4 color business cards.)
- What do your competitors cards look like? What message do they convey to you?
- Give several cards to business associates who might be able to promote your business. Give a card to everyone you meet, and put one in every letter (even bills).
Note: Joe Girard, the famous car salesman, used to throw handfuls of business cards, like confetti, out of the upper deck at football games, onto the expensive seats below. On the back of each card was a discount on any car bought the following Monday.
۱۸. “Thank You” – Magic Words
- Thank customers with a special offer.
- Thank anyone who refers business to you with a personalized thank you card, phone call, discounts, flowers, dinner or even a commission.
- Thank your reliable suppliers with a letter and increased orders.
- People will remember your kindness.
۱۹. A Business Card For All Employees?
- Counter people? Drivers? Yes. They’re important enough for this tiny investment.
- They’ll be proud to leave their card with every customer and every prospect.
- They’ll use the card with friends and relatives and your name will be in many more places.
۲۰. Do What The Winners Do
- Is there a company you admire? Analyze its marketing strategies.
- Adopt the ones you can use and improve on them.
- Use what works. Collect advertising that attracts your attention and adapt it to your business.