Starting and running a small business can be stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Even a small side business requires money, time, and effort. As a business owner, you recognize the need to promote yourself, but if your budget is tight, promoting your business can seem daunting. If you are not a tech savvy individual promotion may seem like even more of an ordeal – with this new age of digital, how do you decide what promotions to spend your money on? We’ve got a few tips to help point you in the right direction.
Business cards may seem like a no brainer, but not everyone realizes the value that can come from them. Even if you are “just” a blogger, or a hobby maker with an online shop, business cards are invaluable. The cost of business cards is relatively small, you can get around 1,000 printed cards for $20 or so, depending on where you go to print them. Business cards can be passed out to friends and colleagues; posted on local community boards; and passed around in network marketing groups. When printing business cards make sure to include these important elements: your business logo, your primary social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter, your phone number or email as a point of contact, and your name. Local businesses such as Kudzu and Image 420 can help you out with creating and printing your business cards.
Brochures and/or Flyers
The cost of printing brochures and flyers is higher than business cards, but the good thing about using a small and straightforward printed item is that you can print it yourself at home to save money. Brochures and flyers are good for giving potential customers more in depth information about your products and/or services, and give you the opportunity to highlight your primary offerings. Unlike business cards which often get tucked away and eventually lost, people who take brochures are more often to keep them, or thoroughly read them before recycling them. You can post flyers on public message boards and phone poles, and brochures can be displayed at any business that is agreeable to it – often times places like coffee shops offer areas for locals to display their brochures and business cards near a community pin board.
Promotional products offer a myriad of ways to get the word out about your business, or remind people of your business. Promotional products include items like:
- pens & pencils
- water bottles
- bottle openers
- key chains
- stress balls
- breath mints
- reusable shopping bags
When selecting the promotional items you wish to invest in, carefully weigh the application of each item. For example, if you are a business with a storefront that sells products, reusable shopping bags branded with your business name, logo, and phone number would be a good option to give away with each purchase. If you are on a budget, you can include a bag with every purchase over a set amount.
If you are a new business trying to get the word out about your offerings, a goodie bag that includes multiple branded items would be a solid option. A simple bag (branded or unbranded depending on your budget) containing a branded magnet, pen, stress ball and breathe mints is a fun way to introduce yourself to new customers.
Businesses that conduct themselves primarily online can also take advantage of promotional products. Focus on products that are reusable and used in daily life – items that people always need, but might not think of purchasing themselves. For example, here in Asheville, giving customers a branded bottle opener fits in perfect in the land of many breweries. Customers are likely to keep that bottle opener, stash it in their drawer, and then see your business name and/or logo on it every time they use it to pop open a craft beer. Pens and pencils are also a valuable and affordable item to pass out to customers – everyone loves a free writing tool!
Depending on where you order your items from – local or otherwise – you have control over the quantity of each item, which gives you great flexibility with your advertising budget. If you want to diversify the types of promotional products you have, you can select a few more expensive types of products and be selective with how they are passed on to your customers. Then, you can supplement and purchase larger quantities of the more cost effective promotional items that still hold advertising value.
For example, if I am a small business with a limited advertising budget of $300, I would order:
- 1,000 business cards – $35
- 100 customized pens – $115
- 100 stickers – $80
- 200 flyers – $70
total cost: $300
number of items total: 1,400
Do you own a small business? What are effective, low tech, budget friendly ways you have found to promote your products and services? Do you have any local favorites? Tell us in the comments!