20 Ways to Market Without Advertising
Posted on April 18, 2011
There comes a time when every entrepreneur needs more sales so they automatically turn to advertising. I’m not against advertising, but most businesses approach it like throwing darts while blindfolded. While advertising is a form of marketing, it’s almost the most expensive and least effective.
The following is a list of ideas to market your business inexpensively without advertising.
Podcasting is blogging in audio form. Consistency is very important so pick a schedule and stick to it. The average commute time in the US is about 25 minutes one-way and over 90 million people are alone in a car when they do it. Why don’t you give them something entertaining and educational to listen to?
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2. Answer the Phone
How is answering the phone considered marketing you ask? Customer interaction. Companies like Zappos have built billion dollar businesses off this model. Make sure everyone in your organization answers the phone quickly and is kind and courteous.
3. Put on a Conference
If you can pull together prospects who may be interested in your product or service, bring them together along with other experts to solve a problem they may have. You’ll be a hero and someone they’ll turn to for more help.
4. Attend a Conference
Talk to those attending and network. The real value of a conference is the connections you make so don’t just go to learn.
5. Respond in Forums
If you’re an expert (or know just a bit more than most people) get in the forums and help. Five people may see the discussion today, but thousands may see it over the coming years. It has a cumulative effect over time and only costs your time at the keyboard.
6. Create Good Stuff on Your Website
I gave away most of what I sold when I launched my business, and still do. Put your valuable stuff out there. It’s impressive and many will want more.
7. Partner with a Charity
I partnered with a charity in Haiti about a year before the big earthquake. They sponsored a webinar series I held over a three week period and received 100% of the proceeds. I taught the classes for free and they helped spread the word because they were invested in the outcome.
8. Use Direct Mail
Instead of blanketing homes with coupons, give away something for free. Perhaps a free download or a sample of your product. This could bring a lot of foot traffic to your business by people who wouldn’t otherwise know you exist.
9. Send Thank You Cards
I did a free day of coaching recently and then sent a thank you to every person I talked to. That’s 16 opportunities I had to connect with people on a deeper level.
10. Send Birthday Cards
Take advantage of any excuse to send a card. Random holidays, wedding anniversaries, or Christmas cards in June. Why do they have to be in the winter? Mail is unexpected now that everyone is online so blow people away with a stamp.
11. Issue a Press Release
Not as powerful as they once were, but press releases are a great way to inform the press of interesting stories. Try not to make it about you but instead about someone who experienced your product or service and has a radical story as a result.
12. Help the Media
Better than sending press releases to people who don’t know you is getting to know the media and asking how you can help. What kind of story does each journalist prefer to write? Sending ideas makes their job easy.
13. Ask for Referrals
Yes, you need to ask. Most of us don’t spend our days trying to connect our friends with people who can help, though the world would be a better place if we did. Ask for referrals and you’ll find your best future clients.
14. Give Great Customer Service
Each time you touch a customer you have an opportunity for them to fall in love with you. When they do they’ll buy more and tell their friends.
15. Use Surveys
The best way to improve what you offer is to ask your customers what they like, didn’t like, and what they want more of. When you get answers, deliver results. Most people are honored to be asked.
16. Tell Your Story
We don’t do business with large faceless organizations. My about page is one of the top three most visited pages on my site. Tell a story and allow people to to connect with you on a deeper level. I use written words, audio, and video.
17. Be a Connector
John Bergquist is a connector. He’s spent years connecting people without gaining anything but trust. Being helpful facilitates the spread of your ideas. While not charging for it, I’m helping a very influential blogger get his video show converted to a podcast in iTunes. Think that favor could help me down the road?
18. Create a Community and Help Them
Every time you interact with people you’re representing your brand. Are you doing it in a way that people will talk about you to their friends?
19. Partner with Another Business
It’s a great way for both of you to get in front of a new audience. Write about each other in your blogs, interview each other on your podcasts, or teach a class together.
20. Do Something Amazing
Changing the world is tough but a great marketing tactic. You don’t need to attend a world peace summit; even recycling has it’s advantages.
When it comes down to it, you don’t need 20 marketing tactics; you need two or three good ones, and you have to own them. Find strategies that fit you and your business and do them better than anyone has ever done them before.
What are some other effective marketing strategies?