There are a number of ways to draw attention to your business. Sometimes business cards can be effective, but a lot of people distribute business cards. An entrepreneur who wishes to stand out has some other affordable options, as I found out recently.
Budget marketing is a goal of many entrepreneurs, and start-up businesses are especially interested in saving money without sacrificing audience appeal and attention. Following are a few ways that can help you generate interest, which may lead to customers. Each of them are available in my market for under $25.00.
Laptop Cover Signs (Laptop Skins)
I went to an event and saw the DJ with his laptop set-up at the elevated DJ station. The top of his laptop was facing the audience, and it had an almost cover-to-cover sign which advertised his business. I figured this could work in a similar fashion when you go to WiFi cafes and other businesses where you use your laptop.
This could even work if you do workshops and seminars using your laptop to show Power Point Presentations or other media. People who see your laptop skin may write down the business information without even talking to you. This is passive advertising at its best. Once again, the ad is facing people for however long the laptop is open with the cover facing them.
Some laptop skins are available at close to $10. Retailers can be found by googling “custom laptop skins.” There are even some Youtube videos on making your own laptop skins. One such site is www.skinsforless.com. The video on this site is under two minutes.
Canvas Print Frames
Whenever quality pictures are used, viewers will tend to connect. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” When I checked out canvas print frame displays at an area Office Max and Office Depot, I was happy to see the use of photos, and photos with text as an inexpensive business promotion tool.
Office Depot provided me with quotes for creating this tool. I was pleasantly surprised at their rates. The thing I really like about these is their portability and the way they have built-in display stands. The displays are available in different sizes. At Office Depot the prices were $9.99 for a 5X5 and $17.99 for a 9X15. These two sizes could be done in the store, while their $24.99 16X20 had to be sent out for processing. See pic #1 upper right, which shows the back cover of a canvas print frame. According to one Office Depot store employee, the displays parts are available from Jet Master Display System.
Advance Galleys (Advance Book Proofs)
After self-publishing 26 books I learned that you definitely want to do everything you can to create hype, buzz and review opportunities before the book launches. Advance galleys are an excellent way to promote an upcoming book. With this technique, the non-perfected book is sent out to reviewers with the marketing plan and other pertinent details on the back cover.
Industry experts understand that there may be typos, or other errors in the book, and that some final changes might be made before the book is published. The final publication will not have the marketing information on back; instead it will usually have a summary, author biography and some of the best reviews that the galley generated.
Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist was an example of a galley that Zondervan Publishing sent to me to review. It was not the final book, but was a likeness of it (see pic #2 upper right showing the back copy of this galley). The idea that Zondervan and other publishers have is that the review is published on blogs and book retailer sites at about the same time as the final book launch.
Lulu.com is one print-on-demand company which can print one such book for under $20. Some universities have Espresso book machines that can print a book for about $10. I discovered that a school near me (UT-Austin) offers this service.
Staked Ground Signage Near Intersections
Some businesses will print a volume of signs on heavy card stock or other durable material. The idea is that the signs will be stapled to stakes and posted near intersections. These signs catch idling cars and cars stopped at stop signs and traffic lights.
One of the best signs I ever saw used this way actually advertised a business which makes such signs. I also found one for a local auto mechanic near a busy intersection near IH-35.
Note: Be certain to check your city ordinance about their policies for posting such signs. You also want to make sure you are not inserting your stake near a gas line or where it obscures traffic.
Smartly Designed/Arranged and Properly Posted Flyers
I was at the laundromat one day and decided to check out their community display board. I found a color rich flyer posted there by Ena Brent. It had a picture of her with an exhuberant smile, and a picture of a local restaurant. It read, “Party Yourself Into Shape”, “Ena’s Zumba Happy Hour!!!” It also provided other relevant details. See pic #4 upper right.
When I went to the event, I found about 20 people were there joining Ena (a Zumba instructor) in a high octane Zumba workout routine in a reserved room at the restaurant. It ends up that they were helping her celebrate a birthday, as her friend Ardtina explained. See pic #5 upper right.
What I liked about the flyer is detailed below:
- It had the address, an inset picture of the restaurant marquee, and a landmark description. This made the restaurant easy to find. Some people may have already known where it was, some may have used the address to navigate, some may have known the landmark provided, others may have recognized the restaurant marquee. I think providing all of this information represented spot-on marketing genius.
- Although they were in a reserved room, there were flyers on the other tables at the restaurant while the event was taking place. This gave other patrons a chance to discover what was taking place a few yards or feet away from them.
- The party theme was apparent on the flyer, and it made me want to be there. That’s why I stopped by and got to know Ena.
- A black border, and a dotted line border separated the information on the flyer. This made it easy to read, and kept the details from being overwhelming. The rich colors also made it a winning flyer.
Investing in your business is wise. Finding ways that give you lots of bang for your buck is sensible. Hopefully, some or all of the tools indicated in this article will prove helpful and effective. The truth is, as I found out, these tools work. They certainly worked with me.
Also by Shirley
‘Bread & Wine’ by Shauna Niequist
Publishing Options: 3 Ways to Publish a Book