14 Unique and Inexpensive Ways to Market and Advertise Your Business

Local Church Festivals - Every spring or fall, churches in your area typically host a variety of events, festivities, and church yard sales. Contact these churches and rent a table for the event. Rental fees are usually less than $20 dollars and can be a great source of leads.

Make sure to have some type of contest registration/drawing so you're able to collect names, emails and mailing addresses. This will allow you to continue up-selling to these potential prospects.

Balloon Advertising - Get your company name, phone # and website address printed onto balloons. These are fairly cheap, usually around .03-.07 cents each (1,000 balloons for about $70 dollars). Make sure to put the services you offer with a special call-to-action.

You can then distribute the balloons at local events, charities, birthday parties, etc…thus giving your business lots of exposure.

Customized T-shirts - Everybody wears t-shirts and would gladly accept a FREE one. But don't do the usual thing here; make your message stand out! I like the controversial angle…make your message 'unforgettable'.

For example…I have t-shirts that say:

Make Money, Get Rich & Enjoy Life! Go to: www.HippoMarketing.com

Welcome Wagon - Most neighborhoods have the Welcome Wagon, which is a service that welcomes new people into the neighborhood. They generally deliver the new homeowner a bag of goodies from local businesses. This is a great opportunity to get your name in front of new residents. It's fairly inexpensive and you should try this.

Library Bookmarks - Contact local libraries in your area about leaving behind 'FREE' bookmarkers. Put your information on it (Not the boring typical messages of course). You can typically leave a couple of hundred of these behind and check back every 3 months to replenish (you may have to check back more often depending on how busy the library is). Offer some type of contest on the bookmarker (maybe a $10 gift certificate to Barnes & Nobles, Amazon.com, or wherever…your goal is to get their names and addresses - direct them to your web site to register).

Teach & Hold Classes - If you have a specialized skill, then teach others in a classroom setting. If you're into scrap booking, why not teach new moms how to do this with their new baby pictures? It doesn't matter what you know, teach a class. Contact local community centers, churches, community colleges and libraries. This is a great way to generate sales and leads. Once you teach a series of classes, then you can contact the people you've taught and up-sell them "advanced training". Give it a try!

Children's Coloring Books - Make your own 10 page coloring book and put some advertising on the pages. Distribute to local restaurants, doctor offices, and banks (trust me… they'll be glad to see you). You can generally find a 4-piece box of crayons for about .10 cents a box.

Go a step further and have the parents send in their child's coloring to win a free happy meal or ice-cream from Dairy Queen…This ensures the parents see your advertisements and you now have their name and mailing address which will allow you to continue marketing to them.

College Campuses - Most of your college campuses generally have days where they'll allow vendors to come out and setup tables. We did this at Spelman College here in Atlanta when we were in the cell-phone & pager business. We made a killing. These kids have access to money and credit cards and are willing to spend money. Booths typically cost $50 and you'll see many other vendors there too.

Local Gyms & Fitness Centers - Depending on how you position your service, a lot of the local fitness centers will allow you to rent a table where you can display your information. Gold's Gym has been a huge source of business for us and they'll typically allow you to put a table out front (on the inside of course --- it's to hot during the summer months to be outside)

5K Runs & Marathons - Become a sponsor at one of these events. These events are usually a sponsor themselves (Breast Cancer, Leukemia, AIDS, etc.) Sponsor one of these events, they'll usually allow you to get a table and will put your information in the "Sponsors" bag that they hand out to the runners in the event. These events can be very costly to sponsor, but if you look, you'll be able to find some cheap ones.

Sponsor a Doctor's Office - I'm sure you've seen those magazine racks in the doctors' office and it said "Magazines Are Provided Courtesy of Cartess Pharmacy".

Now you can sponsor those magazine racks yourself and put your company name there and since you own and control what goes on the rack, put a few phamplets, booklets or fliers marketing your own services…surely, they wouldn't mind you using 2 slots? Each month, just make sure to update the rack with the current months issue. This works extremely well. You can get these racks anywhere from $25-$45 each. Here's a link to get you started on your search (and you may find some on ebay): www.specialtystoreservices.com

Yearbook Advertising - Run ads in the back of high school yearbooks. These advertisements are fairly inexpensive and are a great way to get your message out!

Mom & Pop Businesses - At some restaurant chains you'll find advertisements posted above urinals in the men's restrooms (I don't know what they have going on in the female restrooms…I guess I'll have to sneak in to find out). Anyhow, talk to the storeowner and find out if you could post your advertisements in the bathroom…Offer them a nominal monthly fee and they just might do it.

Go to other small mom and pop stores such as pharmacies, Laundromats, tanning salons, spas, etc., and ask them if you could sponsor 'real estate' in their store, such as their glass doors, bathroom doors and above urinals, countertop displays, desktops, etc…Get really creative here!

Library Bulletin Boards - Every single library I've been too usually have a bulletin board where you can post your business card, postcard or flyer. Check back often, this is an inexpensive way to get your services seen.

That's it for now. If you have tested and tried some unique and inexpensive ways to make consumers aware of your business, please email us and we'll include your ideas in our next updated version.

Cartess Ross offers expert marketing advice to small and medium-sized businesses. Visit our site for more FREE marketing tips and helpful information about growing your business.

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