Are there ways you can get valuable marketing exposure without spending any money? You bet there are. The trick to uncovering these methods is to think of creative ways you can get your products or services in front of, or in the hands of, your prospects. And that last part is critical.
It is only valuable marketing if it is targeted at the people you have identified are most likely to buy your products or services.
1) Share Your Knowledge
If you have specialised knowledge or expertise related to your business, think of ways to share that knowledge. Consider writing a regular column for a website or publication that targets the same customers you target. Become a regular contributor.
2) Create Information Products
Package and distribute your knowledge in the form of an Ezine, Newsletter or Special Report. Build your contact list and distribute this valuable information on a regular basis. Use this as an opportunity to market your products and services and be sure to Include special offers or bonuses to recipients who act by a specific date.
3) Offer Seminars and Do Presentations
Do you offer a professional or personal service? Consider booking yourself for speaking engagements where you can provide valuable information in your area of expertise to groups of people. Make sure the groups are representative of the types of customers or clients you believe are most likely to benefit from your services. This tactic serves several marketing purposes.
First, it gets you out in front of your prospects. In marketing this is called “generating awareness”, and it is the first step toward making a sale.
Second, it allows people the opportunity to get to know you and your services. And with a service business, where clients are buying “you” (that is what they are buying when they purchase your services) it is crucial that they understand the services you provide and that they get to know you.
People like working with people they like. Given a choice between hiring two people with the same skills and services, most people will choose the person they like or feel the best chemistry with.
Make sure to give attendees a special offer on your products or services at the end of your presentation. Give the offer a deadline to create urgency for them to take advantage of the offer on the spot.
4) Give Something Away
Find a way to give away samples of your products or services. Is there an association or group meeting or any other event that is looking for donations to be given away as door prizes?
Why not donate a package of your services or products? You will gain exposure (a free advertisement by the group leader) among the entire group when your package is either auctioned off or announced and given away in front of everyone. You are also giving the person who wins the package the chance to sample your products or services at no risk.
You could further leverage this marketing by offering the “winner” an incentive to refer others to you. The “winner” might also be a great person to provide feedback to you, or a testimonial regarding how they felt about your product or service, that you could use in future marketing.
Yes, there may be a hard cost associated with the product you are giving away or a “time” cost associated with the time you are donating, however when you weigh that cost against the number of people who are being exposed to your products or services. Usually, it is well worth it. And it indeed is cheap (and often more effective!) in comparison to buying an ad.
My advice is to incorporate this sort of activity into your operational budget and merely consider it a cost of doing business.
There are all kinds of ways to generate exposure to your products and services without paying for advertising space. Yes, sometimes this does involve giving away product or service, but I don’t consider that a hard “marketing” cost. I have found that the benefits always outweigh the cost of my time or my products.
The trick is to target well, or in other words, locate where your prospects congregate or what media they read or view, and then find creative ways to get yourself, your products or your services, in front of them in those places.