Make the Most of Business Cards
Business cards can serve as low budget advertising. Include a discount code on the back of your card, and place a stack on your reception desk or checkout counter. People will snap them up if there’s an incentive. Or give every satisfied customer a few of your cards (with or without a discount code) so they can hand them out to neighbors and friends. It’s a good way to encourage referrals.
Sponsor a Local Event
Contribute financially toward local charitable or community events — or make an in-kind product donation. You’ll likely receive signage or otherwise get your business in front of participants. And you’ll get the satisfaction of supporting a community cause.
Create a Parade Float
Don’t forget about participating in the St. Patrick’s Day or July 4th Parade! By serving as the sponsor of a parade and creating a float or group routine that’s part of the show, you gain valuable visibility in your local community.
Advertise with Your Local Chamber of Commerce
Some local chambers of commerce offer advertising partnerships . These help you get your message out in a variety of ways, from local chamber events to the website. These are especially good for B2B businesses (i.e., those selling products or services to other businesses).
List Your Business in the Yellow Pages
Printed Yellow Pages may be going away, but they are not gone. They are transitioning to the online world. To gain visibility, get a free listing and then consider testing out a larger listing space .
Offer Local Deals or Coupons
Use a limited-time promotion through “deal” services like Groupon. Offer a discount to get more customers to discover your business and visit it. A variation is to include coupons or special offers in local coupon books like Clipper Magazine or mailers such as ValPak .
Post on Community Billboards
Take a look around your local community to find businesses or landmarks that have bulletin boards allowing open posting. Then create tear-off flyers or signs. Other than some legwork and a little ink and paper for your office color printer, it’s free.
Send Out Direct Mail Flyers
For local businesses, direct mail continues to be a viable advertising strategy. Create a small flyer or include your sales pitch in a letter format and mail it to past customers or everyone in a certain neighborhood. The U.S. Postal Service’s Every Door Direct program is cost effective and partially automated, saving time.
Create and Distribute Brochures
Distribute stacks of physical brochures or postcards to visitors’ centers or local businesses such as coffee shops that allow it. Find the popular spots. This is one time when it’s good to be among competition. The more flyers or cards, the more likely consumers are conditioned to look for them there.
Attract Customers with Magnets
Print up small items like magnets and pens with your business name, logo and contact information to hand out to customers at local events or when you visit their homes to provide service. They are a reminder the next time someone has a need for your product or service.
Put an Ad in the Church Bulletin or Community Newsletter
Hyper local businesses may get good ROI by placing small ads in church bulletins. Or look no further than your homeowners’ association newsletter. And there are neighborhood community sites like Nextdoor , which also offer sponsored posts for neighborhood businesses.
Sponsor a Local Sports Team
Make a donation in exchange for shirts with your business name and logo. Find a little league, middle school or other youth sports team. Some teams will allow signs for your business at the local field.
Send Thank You Cards
This isn’t exactly an advertisement, but it’s a valuable technique. After you do business with a client, send a handwritten thank you note. It seems so simple, yet shockingly few actually do it. You’ll stand out.
Create Refer-a-Friend Promotions
If you send regular bills to customers, include a small flyer or card offering a bonus to those who refer new customers. You can also include promotions in mailers and newsletters or on your website.
Set Up Shop at a Local Festival
If your community has any local fairs or festivals where businesses can purchase booths, you can set up shop there and meet with local consumers or even offer product samples.
Create Company T-Shirts
You can also create t-shirts with your company name and logo, or even a short tagline. They serve as sort of wearable ads. Wear them at local events or even hand them out to customers so they can participate as well.
Offer Gift Cards “Plus A Bonus”
Give customers who purchase gift cards an option to get extra value. For example, give them a free $10 gift card bonus when they purchase a $100 gift card. Put up signs around your business and posts on your social media pages calling attention to this promotion. Word will get around about your great deal.