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DIY Marketing

June has been designated as Entrepreneurs “Do It Yourself” Marketing Month, a special event that honors small businesses and entrepreneurs who develop and implement their own marketing and public relations campaigns. There are loads of strategies you can put into action yourself without breaking the bank, which is especially good news for new professional organizers and those who are feeling a pinch in the current economy. Here are just seven:

Get your marketing message out

Your Business Card

A business card is one of the least expensive marketing tools at your disposal – don’t be caught without one! If you’re holding off until you’ve reached a decision about your business name, logo, or other details, that’s fine – there’s no sense buying 1000 cards, only to toss most of them out. In the meantime, you can print up some decent cards on your own printer, but be sure to use a good quality product like Avery’s Clean Edge Business Cards for a professional image.

Flyers

Flyers are another marketing tool that you can produce using your own computer and printer. Again, make sure you use quality paper, and ask someone to check it over for spelling or formatting errors before you print multiple copies. Perception is everything – if your flyers are sloppy, people will assume that your work will also be sloppy.

Start a Blog

You don’t need any special technical skills to become a blogger – if you can send an email, you can post to a blog! Furthermore, it’s a great way to let potential clients see that you’re great at what you do and learn a little bit about the way you work.

To get started, why not sign up for a free blogging account at www.wordpress.com? If you find it’s something you enjoy (and I’m sure you will!), you can always upgrade to a customized template and hosting service later on, when your budget allows it. (Since creating blogs is one of my favorite things to do, please keep me in mind and drop me a line when you’re ready for this step.)

Donate Gift Certificates

Organizations are always looking for items that can be used as door prizes, sold in silent auctions, and used in other fundraising activities. Ideally the recipient will end up buying additional services and providing you with a testimonial and/or referrals, but even if they don’t end up cashing in the certificate (as often happens), it’s a great way to get your name out there, and costs you next to nothing. In some cases, you can even get a tax receipt for your donation.

Your 30 Second “Infomercial”

Develop a message to introduce yourself that clearly defines what you do and the type of referrals you are looking for. You can use this introduction not only at formal networking events, but any time you’re talking to someone about your business.

Spread the Word

Be sure to tell everyone you know about your business. Just because your dentist isn’t in your target market doesn’t mean he doesn’t know someone who might be. We all know at least 200 people, so rather than assuming that someone wouldn’t be interested in hearing about your products or services, assume that they will!

Public Speaking

Networking groups and other organizations are always looking for people to speak at their meetings, and this can be another great way to get your name out there. If you hold a draw for a gift certificate or small product, you’ll be able to collect contact information and follow up with those people at a later date.

To get a sense of what feels right for you and will be effective for your business, take a look at what others are doing, and let your imagination go wild! Just remember – marketing doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. It’s all about getting your message out to the people you want to reach.

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Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar Julie Bestry on June 17, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    These are all great tips, not only for beginners but for professional organizers feeling the need to “get back to basics”, marketing inexpensively.

    The only point of contention I have is the donation of gift certificates. From the very beginning, I chose to have a very “selective” professional organizing practice, interviewing prospects as much and as deeply as they interview me, in hopes that we’ll determine if we would work well together and to make certain that we’re on the same page.

    If someone has already bid on your gift certificate and purchased it, even if you included a laundry list of policies (which you probably would find awkward to include, and they probably wouldn’t read before bidding in an auction), it’s too late to make clear what you do and DO NOT DO in the course of your practice. Without coming to some sort of understanding regarding policies, things can become uncomfortable for all parties. U-G-L-Y.

    Janet, your point about including this as an option is apt, as it does get your name out there (though I think donation of gift certificates for services is *not* tax deductible in the U.S.), but I think rather than a certificate for service (which pretty much bypasses any control you have over your policies), it might be more useful to offer a certificate for a consultation, maybe even paired with a product (like an ebook or small storage containers with a tips guide).

    In terms of business cards — YES — don’t wait. With a service like Vistaprint, you can get 250 very professional cards (over and over and over) for the cost of shipping…as low as about $8, until you find a design that’s perfect. Waiting to have a business card does nobody any good. Not having your card with you makes you look disorganized…something no PO can ever afford to be!

    Finally, in terms of “spread the word”, you’re darn tootin’! In fact, if you figure out your target market and then spread the word to the people who already talk to them, you’re one step ahead. For example, if you want to help organize moves, don’t just tell real estate agents, but also leave your cards with bank loan officers, because they can spot the folks with disorganized paperwork, and recommend you at the start of any process.
    🙂

    Great tips, as always! Thanks!

  2. Avatar Janet Barclay on June 18, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Julie, thanks very much for clarifying that gift certificates should only be for consultations rather than actual organizing services, for the very reasons you’ve stated.

    If you don’t normally charge for your consultations, you can include a tips booklet or organizing product, so it’s your donation isn’t perceived as having no value.

    I know I hate “winning” gift certificates that are no use to me unless I kick in some extra money from my own pocket.

    I worded this comment much better this morning, but it seems to have disappeared…

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