How do you get the word out about your virtual business on a tight budget?
In the “real” world of advertising costs for promoting your business can be quite steep but there are many things that you can do on a tight budget.
Placing an ad in the Yellow Pages can be tricky and add a huge monthly expense to your phone bill. In-column yellow page ads are the most effective in major metropolitan areas. If you just want to get your feet wet, don’t buy a display in column ad; instead, just place a “bold” listing in your major category. If you decide to buy a display ad make sure you don’t get roped into the added expense of a “custom logo” ad. In a regular display ad, logos are placed in the upper left corner. You will pay dearly just to have your logo in some other position.
Newspaper ads can bring hefty costs too, but most papers do have business classified sections that can be very reasonable. Choose a certain time each month or each quarter to run the ad and do not deviate from that setting. If the “busyness” of your business is seasonal, run the ads when you are NOT busy.
Promote, promote, promote! Make sure your url (web site address) is on everything you do in print!
Promote, promote, promote! Join relevant associations and participate in their functions. For example, you for sure should be a member of your local Chamber of Commerce. In our area we have a monthly meeting called “After 5”. Different members host an “After 5” gathering in their business. Get to as many of those sessions as possible and be prepared with business cards and brochures. If your business is geared to a specialized field, as is mine, join the relevant trade group. For example, I work with remodeling contractors so I’ve joined Milwaukee/NARI.
Promote, promote, promote! Get your name out by donating your services to charity auctions. I have donated VA service certificates to our Chamber Auction, the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation, and our local Public Television Auction.
Promote, promote, promote. Do a targeted mailing (i.e.. send to all your Chamber of Commerce members). Create an informative brochure. Create an introductory letter to go with it. Send the letter, brochure and your business card to your targeted list TWICE. Do the second mailing within 6 months of the first.
Written by: Marsha Kopan, CVA
Executive Secretarial Services
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