The best way for you to get known is to use a mixture of conventional advertising and shoestring marketing techniques. Here are several ideas:

  1. Order a listing in the yellow pages if you haven’t done so already. You may have to wait for several months before the next edition is published, but at least call now to find out when the deadline for ads is.
  2. Place small display ads in appropriate sections of weekly or daily newspapers. Look for ads from businesses like yours and try to advertise in the same places they regularly advertise.
  3. Make arrangements to exchange coupons and do joint mailings with noncompeting local businesses who serve the same clientele.
  4. Write up a press release announcing your business and send it to local newspapers.
  5. If you have any writing ability (or the money to hire someone who does) write up some articles on the benefits of your business—this would apply mostly to service businesses—and see if you can get papers to run them. (Submit them as columns or write them up as a fact sheet to go with the press release about your grand opening.)
  6. Consider some type of giveaway—refer a friend, get a free service, or whatever might be appropriate for you business, perhaps some kind of free product with the first service call.
  7. Put up a website and get it listed in search engines. You’d be surprised how many people use the Internet for finding products and services.
  8. Network, network, network! Get into whatever groups are appropriate so people get to know you. Consider offering the groups coupons for a free or discounted service that the groups can give away as raffles.

You may also find it useful to look at other business’s successful marketing plans and get ideas from the techniques they used.

AvatarJanet Attard

Janet Attard is an expert on home businesses, self-employment and working in a virtual world. She is the author of Business Know-How:An Operational Guide for Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses on Limited Budgets (Adams Media,) and The Home Office and Small Business Answer Book (Henry Holt & Company). Her company, Attard Communications, Inc., provides editorial content, community management services and web-enabled databases to business and government organizations. The company has been running home office and small business forums online since 1988 and is the creator of the popular Business Know-How Forum on America Online and the Business Know-How web site.