I know a lot of small business owners question whether advertising is worth the cost. I have to say, in most cases, that it is. Advertising can be a million dollar business, but it doesn´t have to be. You can advertise cheaply, and effectively, by using some creative methods and exploring alternatives to television and magazines.
First, use creative marketing techniques, such as contests and drawings. This can be done at local stores that sell products or services similar to the ones that you are selling. For instance, if you have a line of natural spa products that you want to sell you can hold a drawing at a local spa or holistic store that sells similar products. These are the customers you will want to target. You can put together a sampling of your products, display on site, and draw a name to win the basket. This keeps your advertising costs low while getting your name out to people likely to buy your product.
Secondly, consider using a press release to advertise your business or even a special event related to your business. While it will cost you to have one written, an effective press release can do more for your business with one publishing than can a multitude of ads placed in the wrong outlet. If you are getting ready to have an open house or home party, for instance, you can have a press release written about that party in hopes that it is published in the business section of your local paper and attracts customers interested in your business. Press releases work really well if you are a local company and the release is written for and released in your area. Releases look like articles and are okayed by editors, so at times people view them as having more clout than advertisements, which are paid for by the company hoping to make money on their business.
Finally, do the trade off route. I´ve written about it before, and it works. Share advertising with similar companies. Place your products or brochures in their stores and allow them to do the same for you. Network with others who run similar companies. If you meet someone who needs a service that one of these companies provides, give the company´s name to the person. Then let the company´s owner know that you sent the customer her way. In return, she will think of you the next time someone says that they need a service or product that you sell. Trading off offers huge payoffs with little to no expense. And it is always nice to meet other women in business, as each woman business owner will be able to offer something to you, whether it be a new client or some gems of advice.