Wednesday, May 1, 2013

50 Creative Places To Advertise Your Business For Free

April Decheine, our guest blogger this week, sent The CraftStar these wonderful ideas which we want to share with you.

Have you grown tired of trying to figure out creative places to advertise your business? What about plain and simple creative ideas? Let me share with you fifty creative ideas. I hope this list gets your creative juices flowing.

1. Take a small zip close baggy (snack sizes work well) and include the following in it: Your Business Card, Business Opt Mini Flier a Piece of Candy such as hard candy or a lollipop, mini flier of current host specials, discount coupon (optional) etc. Hand these out to the bank tellers, retail cashiers, at your kids sport events, every where you go!

2. When I stay at hotels & motels I leave a mini catalog, my business card & discount coupon and the mini coin canister for the maid! I put her tip inside the mini coin canister! I have gotten 3 orders by doing this! Be creative when you leave tips for Hotel Maids, Waitresses, Waiters, Hair Dressers, etc. Don’t just hand them your business card, make it memorable! You can also buy cute little beaded change purses at your local dollar discount store!

3. Print out fliers with your contact info (not your personal address), your website address & email address along with any current specials you are offering. Then contact local area mobile home park offices, apartment complex rental offices, housing developments etc and ask them if you can leave fliers in their office or hang on their tenants doors. Give the office employees a free gift or discount on their personal orders.

4. Contact local area bridal supply stores, bridal gown stores, caterers, tux rental centers, wedding dj’s etc. Ask them if you can leave your business cards & fliers about the great (Company Name) Bridal Gift Registry for them to give to their customers. Offer store owners a free gift or a personal discount for helping you spread the word about your business.

5. Daycare Centers! They are excellent to contact and leave business cards and/or fliers at! I get a lot of orders by doing this! So whatever company you represent, find some items that cater to children or to moms and make up a flier!

6. A lot of churches hold a Spring and Fall Fest! Contact them about getting a table or a booth. A lot of times this will cost you under $15.00 for a space! Make sure you take products with you along with business opt fliers, plenty of catalogs, business cards etc. Do a contest drawing at these types of events. Make up entry blanks that gather the customer’s info so that you can initiate contact with them again!

7. Join your local area chamber of commerce! They are always holding local business events that you can participate in.

8. College Campuses! Dorms & Housing Students are always looking to spend money! A lot of college students are also looking for an extra income so target them with the Business Opt too! Drop off fliers and business cards to the College Student Center! They usually have bulletin boards, tables and other things where you can leave your information at for FREE!

9. Contact your local area Welcome Wagon or Welcome to the Neighborhood Group! Ask them about you leaving mini catalogs, fliers, business cards, discount coupons, freebie mini gifts, etc with them.They are always looking for additional items to place in their Welcome Bags!

10. Contact your local area hospitals and ask for Human Resources Dept. The Majority of hospitals hand out New Mommy Diaper Bags filled with products, samples and other stuff for New Moms who just had a baby! It’s FREE for you to add in your information! I have gotten party hosts, new customers and new recruits by participating in these types of programs.

11. Contact your local medical offices, particularly Gynecology and OB Offices and Pediatric Offices and inquire about you leaving information with them.This is a way for you to target Parents of Children with both the home party opt, the business opt and new customer sales.

12. Donate a Product to your local area Radio Station, they have numerous contests and they are always looking for sponsors! Your donation can be written off as a tax deduction plus you will get FREE Advertising & Business Exposure for your donation!

13. Donate a Product to your local area Bingo Halls! They are always looking for sponsors of their Bingo Prizes! Bingo is BIG in a lot of areas!

14. Call your Chamber of Commerce and find out about Local Area Job Fairs. Get a booth and set up info about the fabulous business opt!

15. Call your Local Area Colleges and find out when their next job/employment fair is. A lot of times you can get a booth or table for less than $35 and you will get a lot of GREAT new recruit leads by participating in events like these.

16. Contact local area car dealerships. I have 2 in my local area that hand out a small packet that I made up for FREE to their customers who come in to take a free test drive!

17. Target your local area gyms! You can get a table space for $20 or less in most cases! Make sure you have 3-5 products on display, plenty of catalogs, business cards and fliers.

18. Network with others in your community who are in home business. Find out what events and activities that they participate in. They are usually “in the know” and can help you get started in networking in your community.

19. Contact Companies in your area to see if you can come in and set up a table in the employee lounge or cafeteria for a employee shopping break! These days a lot of companies will allow you to do this if you ask them!

20. Does your local area TV cable company have a local information channel? Inquire about advertising! These ads will reach thousands of potential buyers for you! I recommend you only use your website address for these typesof advertising and not your personal at home address.

21. Contact local small companies and shops to see if you can offer an exclusive discounts or freebie gift to their employees. Companies are always looking for a way to “treat” their employees to specials from the local surrounding community.

22. Small Home Town Newspapers! I don’t get too good of a response when I do big newspaper city ads, however… when I target small town newspapers I usually get a great response. I even had them let me place an ad on their wedding and engagement announcements page which I advertised the Bridal Gift Registry. So if you are going to do any type of newspaper advertising, inquire about getting your ads on specific pages in the newspaper that targets the group of people most likely to buy from you.

23. Get a low cost outdoor banner printed up with your business information on it. You can usually get them done for $55 or less depending on who makes it. You can have these outdoor banners displayed at outdoor music/concert events, outdoor children’s sporting events, outdoor adult sport events, outdoor neighborhood block parties, outdoor community events, carnivals, fairs, etc.

24. Take your business on the road during nice weather. Contact local area parks & community centers to see what their schedule of events are and inquire about setting up a booth or table. This is a great way to network & market your business to those in your community.

25. Community Clipper Coupon Packs & Sales Flier Mailings. These days a lot of communities have mailings such as these, contact them and see how you can participate and advertise your business.

26. Contact small local area businesses such as hair salons, massage parlors, boutiques, banks etc. See if you can set up a table for 1 week with 3 of your best selling products on it along with some catalogs, fliers, coupons and your business card. Keep a basket on the table for any customer orders which you can follow up on after you return back to pick up your display. Offer the store owner or manager a free gift for allowing you to do this. You can also offer to donate a prize for a contest if they let you display the prize donated & get a copy of the contestants entry blanks after the promotion closes.

27. Contact local area pizza shops, diners, and deli’s and coffee bagel shops to ask them about advertising on their paper place mats! Customers do read those ads!

28. Contact local area restaurants, bars and clubs and see about advertising on their paper beverage coasters!

29. Local Television Stations are always holding on-air contests & website contests for their viewers, contact them about you donating a prize or gift certificate to sponsor one of their contests! Great business exposure for you!

30. Attend Local Area holiday shopping events. Customers who are ready to spend holiday shopping money turn out for these events by the thousands! You can usually get a booth for less than $50.00 so they are economical to participate in!

31. Hold a local area community Block Party at your home or local community center! Families are always looking for something to do during the nice weather seasons! Optional: Attend your neighborhood block party and set up a table with your product offerings or samples. Get out there in your community and get your business seen!

32. Get your business listed in your cities telephone book yellow pages! A lot of them also have a coupon section too!

33. You can take this phone book advertising one step further by finding out what company makes the plastic vinyl phone book covers which have local business ads on them and get your business added to it!

34. Get your business information printed up on pencils and hand them out to local colleges and technical schools for them to hand out to their adult students! This keeps your business information in front of them! (Make sure you only donate them to schools with adult students).

35. Get a vehicle banner made for your automobile. I recommend the vinyl window clings or vinyl cling ones that stick to your automobile but don’t scratch or remove the paint. You can easily remove them when washing your vehicle!

36. If your city has a travel guide that tourists request, contact that business and find out how you can advertise in it too!

37. Local City Maps! These days even city maps have advertising on them! You can usually get a small business ad printed on them for an economical price. Don’t advertise your personal location. If you don’t have a business locations then advertise your website address or email address.

38. Contact local area hotels, motels and bed & breakfast inns and ask them if you can do up a Lobby Basket and leave it in their Lobby. What is a Lobby Basket? You make up little packs of info about your business & products and put them into the Lobby Basket for their patrons to take. They usually have a pamphlet wall or area too with pamphlets from local area attractions etc. If they don’t have a lobby basket area, inquire about leaving your business info in their pamphlet area.

39. Get your business info printed up on balloons! This is very economical to do! You then distribute them to local community centers, sporting events and other types of places where parents book their children’s birthday parties! These balloons can be displayed at the birthday party giving you business exposure. You can usually get them done for .3-.8 cents each. Your business name & website address is all you need on them!

40. Find a few other self employed business owners in your community and team up! You can all sponsor a local parade float, parade clowns etc. Make up signs with your business info imprinted on them so that you can receive some great business exposure during the parade!

41. Get some T-shirts printed up with your business information on it (both front & back sides) and hand them out to some friends, family and co-workers and ask them to wear them out and about in the community. This is their FREE gift for helping you to spread the word about your business! Optional: Get ball caps printed up with your business info!

42. Get some canvas tote bags printed up with your business information printed on it. Find a few ladies who are very active in your community and ask them to use your tote bag and give it to them for FREE under the agreement that they will use it every time they go out in the community for errands & events!

43. Get a license plate made up for your vehicle! If you have your normal license plate on the back of your car, put your business named one on the front of the car! You can get one with just your business name on it for about $20-$30 per plate!

44. Wear a business name tag every time you go out into your community! Get a Catchy Slogan printed on it such as: A. Ask me about (your company name) Products! B. I work from home, you can too! C. Earn some FREE when you party with me!

45. Local Area Magazines! Does your city publish a City Magazine? If so, contact them about advertising or if they hold contests for their readers offer to donate a product or service for their contest!

46. Check out your local area State Fairs & Community Carnivals, there are always a lot of them going on during seasonal weather. Ask about getting a booth or table & set it up with your business information! People love to shop at Fairs & Carnivals and they are looking to spend money

47. Get some Business Card Magnets printed up and hand them out every where you go! Have your friends & family pass them out too! People are more apt to keep a magnetic business card compared to a regular one which gets shoved into a drawer or wallet. By having a magnetized card, your business is kept in front of the potential customer/client.

48. When you give gifts to family, friends, neighbors, co-workers etc. make sure you give them gifts from your own company! These allow other people to see & touch your gift meaning FREE business exposure for you! (Plus, you bought the gift from yourself so you are saving money!)

49. Invite your spouse’s co-workers over to your home for a little mingling party! Serve some refreshments or do a cookout BBQ and make sure you have a table set up with some product displays! If you sell kitchen or food products, make sure you use them!

50. Do a neighborhood children’s shopping party! I do this before Christmas and again before Mother’s Day. I invite the neighborhood kids to come by and shop for gifts for their parents and loved ones. They enjoy shopping on their own and parents enjoy a small break from the children!

To make this successful make sure the products you are offering are economical, I try to keep them under $25.00 each with most being around $10.00 each. Have a table set up with some inexpensive crafting supplies and let the children make their own greeting cards to go with the gifts they have purchased or have a gift wrapping table set up so they can personally wrap their gifts!

April Decheine is a the founder of Wahm Diva, a website for home based business owners and people looking to build a business from home. She runs several blogs one of which is Life After A Corporate Downsize and owns Sunshine Travel.
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