Companies do not like to spend too much money on advertising because it it is often difficult to track a return on investment. Yes, you may bring in more people in the aftermath of an advertising campaign, but do you know how many of them were motivated by the marketing and how many just stumbled across the company?
In many cases a small business does not have a way to track their offline advertising. You can track when someone makes a purchase by using some sort of “code” or special price feature. You can also ask your customers. The problem is, if there is no incentive attached to the advertising campaign (such as a special discount) they may not remember where or how they heard about your company. Making it difficult to make any sense of marketing returns. And with all the FREE ways to market a company online, companies are becoming less and less willing to pay for advertising that can be a “hit” or “miss” proposition.
So what is the solution? Can you advertise your small business offline for free? Here are three ideas for advertising for FREE:
Create “filler” publicity. Filler publicity is something newspapers use to fill in space in their papers and highlight the local community. If you have newsworthy or interesting tidbits about your business or industry, submit them to the local paper. Often times newspaper editors need interesting or newsworthy articles.Target your article to to the section that fits your small business the best. If its about sports or food, or business, or whatever it may be, contact the appropriate editor for their prefered way to receive such information.
You can increase your chances for future free publicity by letting the reporter know you would be available for any future news or editiorial needs. After your article has been published, send a thank you note to the editor. Don’t send a gift or anything that might be construed as a “pay-off.” Most journalists are not allowed to accept and will see you as inexperienced.
Become a community activist. I don’t mean to start a protest (unless is serves a definite purpose), but get involved in local community projects that residents resonate with and you believe in. The cause must be something that aligns with your own beliefs, and there are many of those. The people you serve with side by side want to support like-minded businesses and those in the community that have a vested interest in the cause will hear about it and also want to support your company.
Celebrate a special event or milestone such as an anniversary for your small business. Partner with another local community organization, or event and capitalize on the collaboration by sharing the limelight and the workload. In fact, the more unusual the event, the better. Years ago, Southwest Airlines hosted an arm wrestling contest with another over a flight route. The publicity they received was beyond expectations and Southwest ended up winning the contest and the flight route. The other airline… who knows!
These are just three ways you can get free publicity for your small business. Advertising small businesses offline can be less than complicated. Use Google to find local newspapers in your area or check with http://www.refdesk.com/paper.html.