If You Build It, They Will Come (And Other Bullshit You’ve Been Told)
So you finally did it. You formed a business and opened the doors. But no one showed. Not even your mom. Welcome to the life of an entrepreneur. You better learn how to advertise with $100 (or less).
I don’t care how great your website is, or how fantastic your customer service is, or all the amazing features of your product – if you don’t advertise to the right people at the “right time” (loosely interpreted as “all the time”) you’re screwed. I have good news though, most businesses can get the attention from prospects through simple, cheap but smart advertising. You simply need to know how to advertise with $100 or less.
How To Advertise With $100 Or Less
The funny thing is most entrepreneurs believe advertising requires big bucks to get eyeballs looking and wallets opening. They carelessly dump money into online advertising, or brochures or that one big event they think will draw traffic. It rarely works (loosely interpreted as “never works”).
When it comes to advertising on a budget, innovative thinking is the key. Ironically, the tighter your budget the more innovative you must become. It is this out of box marketing that will get you noticed. And the more frequently your are out of the box, the more you become implanted in your customers mind. . . the key to advertising success.
13 Ways To Advertise For Less Than $100
The entrepreneurial enclave came together to share their best tips for advertising when your purse strings are tight. Here are thirteen ways to advertise for one hundred bucks, or less:
1. Get Media Attention
A marketing stunt that doesn’t get media attention is like peeing in dark pants. You and the pants are the only ones who notice something happened. Whatever your stunt is, make sure it is guaranteed to get media attention —without being so obvious. Rappelling off the side of a downtown building with a huge Pumpkin Plan Flag and the rappellers dressed in pumpkin costumes would do it. Microsoft did that to launch Windows and it went viral. Whatever it is must be bold, must be big, must be FUN.
2. Best Marketing Stunt
I’m not sure how unique this is, but speaking is the best marketing you can do. Whether it’s in front of a group, doing R-TV interviews, getting up at a seminar to respond to a comment, it will get you noticed. I have built entire businesses by just speaking in front of a room.
3. Sticker Slap
If your business has a snazzy tagline, print it on small stickers and slap them on marketing materials at networking events (DON’T stick them on other people’s property, please!).
A business friend who was trying to get media attention for an event she was doing, ask us to come out to video tape the red carpet and interview the people at this event. She had a hard time getting mainstream media to come out to her event. So we did the event and posted the video on her social media pages. The video not only raised more money for the charity but branded our company as the experts in media coverage. We use that video for our marketing purposes.
5. Probably Not Legal
Paint the logo or URL on your body (front and back) and streak naked across the field of a Virgina Tech football game. Better yet, pay a student to do it or just buy him or her $100 of beer.
6. Social Media Giveaways As Marketing Tools
For our sites, we like to host short, weekend-long social media contests that require simple tasks from our members in an effort to win $25-$50 gift cards. We require members to sign up for the relevant site hosting the giveaway, answer a question via Facebook and RT about the #giveaway on Twitter. Social media is a great tool for gaining new followers and getting them involved with your company!
7. Let’s Make Some Doh This Year!
My favorite and fairly inexpensive marketing was done with two mini cans of Play-Doh and a laminated paper that had a design the recipient could create a design with (in this case, Christmas wreaths).
8. Bookmark To Attract And Engage
The purpose of marketing is to attract and engage. Imagine not one of your handouts or business cards being left on tables, thrown in trash cans. Bookmarks do just that. To print out 100 of them costs me less than $25. One side recaps the presentation if I am speaking; the other is a call to action.
9. News Jacking
Writing a press release that addresses an industry issue that your client can help solve is a great marketing tactic, as long as it is tasteful. We wrote a press release discussing how our client, INSIGHT, who provides supply chain planning solutions could help companies affected by the Japanese earthquake. We got coverage in two WSJ articles, were asked to speak at a conference, and participated in 13 trade magazine articles on the topic of supply chain risk management.
10. School Fundraiser
Our business loves helping other consumers. We volunteered to do speaking engagements at school functions or create fund raisers. It only takes a letter to the principal and advertisements in the form of half sheets of paper to give for students to take home. We can reach many consumers this way and help spread the word from school to school.
11. Respect Is Always 100 Percent FREE
Make sure the Salespeople and Customer Service Representatives in your business are always polite, helpful and respectful to your clientele. Talk with your Sales and Customer Service people … train them, if necessary. It doesn’t cost a dime for them to show manners and respect – and when they do, your clientele will respond by GLADLY continuing to do business with you!
12. Surprising But True!
With hundreds of websites and blogs that we see everyday the last thing we want to see is another website or blog but the surprising fact is that about 40% of small businesses still don’t have a website. So, with that said, if I had only $100 in my pocket, I’d spend it on buying a domain and hosting to build a website with wordpress or other free CMS available. With this website, I’d then do many other marketing stunts – list building-email marketing, blogging, affiliate marketing etc.
13. Get A Face Lift
One of the easiest ways to get noticed is by having your Facebook Page given a completely new look that attracts customers. With so many freelancers out there, you should not have any problem at all finding someone to do it for less than $100.00.