Q: What are a few unique and inexpensive ways to advertise my business?
John Assaraf: Every business must first identify exactly who their ideal client is before they do any advertising. Next, they must identify where this client is searching for the product or service you have and how they make their decision to buy. Only when these items are understood should you decide on marketing or advertising your business. One of the best and least-expensive ways to advertise today is to start your own blog and insert stories about your product or service through various articles you write specifically for your ideal client. This way, you are sharing and selling at the same time. Make sure when using this tactic that you give great content to the end user.
A second way to advertise inexpensively is to barter with other people who have Web sites that cater to your ideal client. This way you can save any costs for a banner ad on their site and trade your product or service or a spot for them on your site. Many people are in the same boat trying to save money; why not help each other?
Nancy Michaels: Here’s the deal. Advertising costs money—a lot of money, so if you can’t afford to advertise more than six consecutive times you’re probably throwing good money after bad. Instead, I’d recommend you fish where the fish are. In other words, where are you most likely to find clients?
Are you a coach who works primarily with attorneys? If so, the bar associations would be a great networking opportunity for you to become active in and to make a contribution. You might be the only coach who’s a member, which gives you added visibility and your reputation could grow more easily in this venue. Other organizations, like International Coach Federation, may be great places to be for moral support and to exchange ideas with others in your profession, but you may not be as likely to get a lot of referrals, leads, prospects and, ultimately, new business from these people. Seek out the industry meetings where your prospects are and become known among their members by writing articles for their trade publications, speaking at industry events and building a database of prospects who you can communicate with via e-mail, which is very cost-effective, and some occasional direct mail as well. Remember, you need a media mix—there’s no one magic bullet—to help you become known in your client’s industry.
Mark LeBlanc: Every marketing or advertising strategy is a great strategy. But every marketing or advertising strategy is not right for everyone. It’s how you navigate the strategy that will determine the effectiveness of the strategy and if it will produce the results you desire.
If you make a commitment to marketing and advertising your business consistently, you can spread your dollars over time versus betting the farm on a short initiative, campaign or idea.
Sometimes it is better to send 200 pieces of direct mail every 30 days than creating a larger mailing of 3,000 pieces and hoping for something great to happen. When you create the profile of your ideal client, look for where these prospects hang out, what they read and who they are connected to. Then, every strategy has a better chance of producing sales. Here is a list of ideas for you to consider, but remember to know with accuracy what your client profile looks like.
1. Send 200 pieces of direct mail every 30 days.
2. Attend one networking meeting each month.
3. Exhibit at a trade show or community event once a year.
4. Create a small display or classified ads and place in target publications.
5. Start a quarterly newsletter, either print or electronic, and send it to your prospects and customers.
6. Write a 500-word article and offer it to your community or industry publications.
7. Develop a short presentation and make yourself available to speak on your expertise.
Use these ideas as examples and increase or decrease the quantities or frequencies to fit your particular business and marketplace. Be open to reaching out for help along the way with creative ideas, copywriting and design expertise. You don’t have to have all the answers to make this work. Remember, a consistent marketing and advertising plan will create a foundation for you and help you become unstoppable in the marketplace.