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It's time to roll up your sleeves and create your own brand of "publicity department". Some of the things I suggest are not for everyone, but there has to come a time when you must begin getting yourself noticed. At this point, we're not concerned about the competition, the focus here is primarily on your own visibility. You can't expect to begin making money with what you offer if nobody knows you're there. Note: Brick and Mortar or on the net, the basics are all the same.
Start with the basics.
Design a business card. Jotting your information down on a scrap of paper or an envelope won't go very far in instilling confidence in you as a professional. This is the point where you create a logo and an overall "look" for your business. Since double-sided printing is a free option at some online printers (and even when it isn't) you can use the back of your card for an incentive that will add value to the card itself. This is the first step in a marketing effort when mass marketing funds are scarce.
A business card is an important marketing tool.
I understand that my suggestions won't be a perfect fit for every situation, so it's up to you to decide which of them is best for you. Distribute your card with everyone you make contact with. If you visit a networking club as a guest or you are there to be considered for membership, pass out your card. If what you do comes up in conversation, offer your card. Use your card to post on bulletin boards in public supermarkets, libraries, and business establishments. Add your business card where allowed in public venues. Give friends and family members cards to distribute in their travels. If you want to make a small investment, run your business card image in your Church bulletin. Accepting a business card is a normal function when discussing business, so designing and printing business cards should be your very first move in marketing your business.
Create "salespeople" to speak on your behalf.
I'm not talking about human salespeople, I'm talking about "representation" from flyers and other paraphernalia that provide you a "voice" when you cannot be physically present. You can magnetize your business card's incentive side to adhere to refrigerators or metal filing cabinets, or reproduce the design in a much larger format to create magnetic vehicle signage. Make several of these signs and distribute them amongst trusted folks to adhere to their own cars, extending your exposure to areas that you might not normally visit. How about creating postcards with a more detailed message that can be mailed locally or left on countertops in business establishments frequented by tons of locals, like drycleaners, laundromats, and restaurants. In fact, wherever a business card can be placed. a postcard in its place is even more visible.
You're just getting started.
Think about your business card being reproduced on inexpensive travel mugs you hand out to commuters, or a flyer being inserted into daily publications with the permission of your local newspaper vendor, or bookmarks you create and give out free with permission from your local library. Visit garage sales, flea markets, and other places large numbers of people congregate to distribute other welcome giveaways like pens, T-shirts, or caps. In general, advertising specialty items are relatively inexpensive when purchased in volume. Put your business card in outgoing mail, run free classifieds on your tow's online site and places like Craigslist and ClassifiedAds.com. Put a message on the inside of your vehicle's sun visor (upside down) so that when you lower it, you're sending a message to passersbys while you're parked. There’s no end to the ideas that will surface when you’re in the advertising “cheap” mode. Here’s some more: Get a pre-inked stamp with a message you design and stamp every envelope you send out, even the postage-free return envelopes, place flyers in windshield wipers in mega malls, and leave a business card with your tip at every eating establishment you frequent. Who knows if your server knows someone who’s looking for the particular thing you have to offer. No matter what you do or where you go, no matter who you see or when you see them, stay consistent with your message and your "look", while promoting, promoting, promoting any way you can. Here's to cheap. Barry
For the beginner in business, jump-start your visibility (any way you can).
Big business or small, everybody's in the same boat getting the word out about their new enterprise. Showing yourself off is key, not relying on insiders to spread the word or pacing up and down praying for customers to emerge.
From all my years in advertising I uderstand the motivation of buyers well enough to create successful advertising campaigns that draw them in, but this new wrinkle amongst advertisers has me stymied. Let me explain. We're in the middle of the pandemic and some businesses have been locked down so long they no longer have the wherewithal to continue the move forward. So they toss in the towel and close their doors forever. Others are slightly better off and continue to tough it out, but not without becoming part of the dialogue on places like linkedin and Alignable forums. Here they're constantly looking for answers by asking questions like, "What's the most creative business idea you've seen since the start of the pandemic?" and, "What are you or other businesses in your community doing to adapt, innovate, and recover from the effects of the pandemic?"
So that got me thinking about passing ideas forward.
I offered to brainstorm with anyone who calls me with the desire to search for new ways to move forward or create new ideas to promote old ways as well. Here's a quote: "So while I tout myself as the “cheap” alternative for things you have to actually pay me for, I give you something that you shouldn’t pass up; Free Consultation. And just like we used to do at many of the advertising agencies I worked for, "brainstorming" produced some of our greatest ideas. So if you’re on the fence about what to do about your struggling business, any business at all, why not brainstorm with me? I won’t press you to do business with me and I love to schmooze. Let's talk. 516-510-3803. Enjoy the day. Barry."
Then I ran the following in an email blast to both of the barter organzizations I'm a member of and got the same response. All I can say to that is: Maybe I'll just give it more time to sink in. Barry
I HONESTLY DON'T KNOW
WHAT TO MAKE OF THIS.
The message that went to my fellow members of both barter organizations I belong to. Click on the image if you want to read it.