As a small business owner, you know the importance of spreading your message, and while you may believe that word of mouth is the only form of truly free advertising that is available to you, this is far from true. There are actually many other advertising ideas that won’t cost you a penny, but will share your message, ensure brand recognition, and generate sales. Indeed, among free advertising ideas, word of mouth does have its value. Its main problem, though, is that it can be very slow.
When you’re seeking to bring rapid growth to your business, you need advertising ideas that move beyond that single technique. Have a look at the following 7 ideas that won’t cost any more than word of mouth, but that will help you to market your business much more rapidly and effectively.
By creating a survey for your customers to complete, you are actually taking part in a free promotion and advertising opportunity that allows you not only to collect information about what your customers think and want of your business and its products or services, but you are also creating an interaction that maintains the relationship with you beyond the initial point of sale. It will further your relationship with each customer that completes the survey, securing your brand and/or your message in his or her mind. Don’t forget to encourage the customer to visit your website and share his or her email address so that he or she will be able to view the results of the survey when you post them.
Sending an email is one of the simplest forms of free promotion, as well as one that allows you to reach a maximum number of people with a minimal amount of effort. If you have a list of email addresses that have been collected from individuals who have opted in to receive communications from you, then you have the chance to send friendly reminders about upcoming sales, to provide discount codes available uniquely to recipients of the emails, to offer updates about your business or products, or to give useful tips that may complement a product that has been purchased while suggesting additional products or services that may allow the customer to increase the enjoyment from a previous purchase. It is important to note that reputable free marketing and advertising does not include “spam”. This will never leave a pleasant taste in the mouth of your recipients and will do more harm than good for the reputation of your small business.
Social media is a new and evolving form of free advertising that provides your small business with the opportunity to engage your current and potential customers and generate new leads. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, allow you to use the principle of word-of-mouth, but with the speed, ease, and efficacy of the digital online age. Spread the word by way of social networking posts, or build a “like” button into your website or sales page, so that site visitors are only a click away from sharing your message with all of their online friends.
Ask Customers for References and Testimonials
Obtaining references and testimonials works as a form of effective advertising and free promotion in two very important ways. The first is that it shows prospective future customers that other people just like them have been satisfied with what your business has to offer. The second is that it creates a sense of loyalty among the customers who are providing the kind words. It encourages them to think over their positive experience in as they put it into words and it leads them to think of your business first the next time they will be purchasing something that you have to offer.
An online newsletter is an effective form of free marketing because it allows you to provide your customers with news and information about your industry and your products so that they will begin to see your small business as an expert within that industry. A newsletter also provides a regular reminder of your company so that your brand will be the first one that comes to mind when you product is needed.
Local Events and Organizations
If there are local events and organizations that are related to your target market, get out and support them. Whether this means attending a little league game, helping to plant trees, or taking part in a community cleanup by picking up garbage, you have the opportunity to talk about your small business, share business cards, or even simply wear a t-shirt with your logo and website printed on it.
Add an FAQ Page to Your Website
Even if your website is highly informative, an FAQ page can actually provide a surprising amount of free advertising. This is because many visitors to your site are there to discover a specific piece of information. When they see an FAQ option, they will instantly click it to dive right into the information they are seeking, bypassing everything else on the site. But this doesn’t have to mean that they will miss your brand and message. Simply work it into your FAQ answers, expressing all of the benefits of what your business has to offer and how easy it is to make a purchase.
These are only a few of the free marketing and advertising ideas available to your small business, but by taking advantage of even a handful of them, you will be giving your brand awareness and company message a significant boost in exposure.