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Marketing On A Budget

Q:I dont know if anyone will know the answer to this, but I figured I'd give it a try since we have such a broad range of brain power around here. :) A little background: I am still in the startup phase of my business: I'm running on shoestrings, sometimes very frayed ones. I assume many business owners have been in this position at one time, or at least I'm hoping some have so that I'm not totally alone! ;) Anyway, I need to get the word out to local businesses about my services since most of my orders will most likely be local for awhile. Realistic first step: mailings. Problem: I cant afford to invest in that large of an amount of stamps at once. Solution: Distribute flyers and brochures by hand. (Am I on track here?)

A:One thing you probably have not thought about, is magnetic signs for your car. A CPA friend of mine finally listened to my urging and got some. In less than a week, he had three new clients. One of which saw the signs as he delivered some work to another client. :-) They should cost about $50 for two 8 by 12 signs. The beauty is that they work 24 hours a day, and people see them no matter where you are. The drawback is that you have limited space to inform. However, if you can't say it in less than 50 words, you don't really know what you're doing. :-) If you need to know of other things I can do for you, feel free to ask. I'm adding more items at the end of the month. What kind of business services do you offer? I've been in your situation. It can be a challenge. I have two suggestions right off the bat: To save on postage, why not get yourself a bulk mail permit. You get it from the post office and it saves substantial mailing costs. You need a minimum mailing of 200 but I suspect that is very do-able for you. I also recommend that you consider simply folding your flyers, or whatever, and sending them (without an envelope - another savings). I'm sure you are spending at least this much on your gas, when you run around from business to business. Think of it. Carefully targeting your market, you should get a decent response with very little effort. And, frankly, I think a business would be more ready to respond to a flyer mailed than to a flyer taped to their door. Another thought, I learned a long time ago that the best tool a small business person has is the telephone. Why not spend an hour calling the businesses that are most likely to need your services? You will be amazed at the responses. I'm currently doing this for a lawyer. I call and ask if they'd be interested in mailing, offering specific information on what he offers. I get a lot of "no"s but I also get a lot of "yes, I need that help right now." To the first point, I don't know of any law you are breaking unless the businesses have "no trespassing" or other such signs. As far as a marketing idea, all I can say is some marketing is better than none. Sure , you may not appeal to some businesses because of the "too small syndrome"; however, if it draws a few clients you can then roll that revenue into mailings, etc. By the way, check with your post office about mailing to businesses around you by their new carrier route rate.

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