Small-business owners don’t need big marketing budgets to spread the word about their products and services – just a little research and creativity.
1) Donate – and feel great!
Whatever your business, there’s a cause or charity out there that could use what you have to offer. Hair salon? Offer your services for the Cinderella Project of New Hampshire (providing prom dresses to girls from low-income families). Ditto for nail salon, dental office, day spa, or limo/taxi service.
Construction company? Hardware store? Plumber? See if a local church is sponsoring a family that needs some repair work done with extra supplies you’ve got sitting around. Restaurant or catering company? Find out what fundraiser your favorite charity (animal rescue, the local rail trail, whatever) has coming up and donate some good eats for the event.
2) Don’t pretend you’re too big for “little” events.
Town fairs and church festivals may seem like small potatoes to those used to doing business in big cities, but where else can you get 4-5 hours of “booth space” – outdoors on a beautiful spring or fall day – for just 15 or 20 bucks?
You don’t have to be an Avon or Pampered Chef rep with items to sell to try such venues. Countless businesses can showcase before-and-after pics of their work while handing out magnets and brochures: contractors, interior designers, landscapers, website designers, hair stylists, and so on.
And if traffic is slow, kick back and relax in the sun (how often do you get to do that?!) – in between networking informally with the other vendors, of course.
3) Leash the power of the local press.
This one is actually a no-cost idea: Check out your local newspaper website for the kinds of news and business items they want and how to submit them. Although a professionally written press release is good, it’s not necessary for smaller community and regional papers, since they often have an online submission form. (And if you need a professionally written release, we can help.)