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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:
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 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 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!
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.