Starting a business is expensive! Developing your product, producing your product, finding a professional way to showcase your product, packaging your product. Not to mention even trying to pay yourself a wage you can live on and paying for any mistakes you make along the way. Even taking a moment to think about the crazy costs of advertising is enough to make you want to jump ship all together. Maybe a little anyway. Not everyone has the capital to pay for all these things at the beginning. The great news is that the internet has given rise to even the tiniest of voices out there. That means your voice can be heard. It means, you can get some free advertising! Advertising often times equals more sales. You get the idea. So where do you go to get the message about your product out to others? Let thee count the ways. 🙂
When it comes to “free advertising” social media reigns supreme right now. The key to successful social media marketing is not to simply spam the heck out of the other people, but to create a conversation with the other people around in the online community. You can plug your own product but make sure to ask a follow up question. You can inform people about research pertaining to your product. You can offer a tutorial. There are lots of ways to interact with others in an online community that isn’t your typical hard sell advertising. Albeit, this sort of advertising can be time consuming but it’s worth it in the end to create a relationship with your customers. Loyal customers are the best customer base you can have!
Recommended sites: Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pintrest, StumbleUpon
Donating items for benefit auctions in your home town or surrounding area is an excellent way to get your name out there allow it to bask in a positive light. Not only are you acting charitably as a business (which people love) but you are also strategically putting yourself in front of people that are likely to actually have money to spend. I once donated some hand painted wine glasses to an auction and found out afterwards that the buyer of my wine glasses was a winery owner. Around here, our wineries sell retail. This wonderful stroke of luck landed my glasses in to a retail space with demand for more. See what charities you can find to donate to!
Door to Door
If you do not have your own retail space, you can certainly remedy that for a fairly low overhead price. Find stores in your area that sell items that are similar to your items. Bring a few things with you to show off and a book of pictures to allow others to see your full line. Approach owners and management of stores with a pitch to allow them to sell your products in their store on consignment. Basically this means you would like to rent some shelf space in their store. They put your product on their shelf and then when the item sells, you are notified and then paid for the item. The store will take their percentage off the top as payment for allowing your product to take up shelf space.
Consignment, like donating to charities, has benefits for everyone. When you allow stores to put your items on their shelves, it is an immediate increase in your traffic. If you have chosen the store well, the folks that see your products will already be in the correct target audience. That means they are much more likely to buy. For the store, adding new products to their shelves automatically adds value to their other products and they didn’t have to pay for the item up front. It’s a win-win!
BYOB: Be Your Own Billboard
I have found that people who make their own products almost always are using their products. It’s a good sign that you have a product you believe in. Since we already know that you very likely stand behind your product, go out there and promote the heck out of it. Be a loud mouth! If you can wear your product, do so often. Make sure to carry business cards that have your websites address so folks can go straight to the business of buying things from you as soon as possible. If someone mentions something similar to your product, bring your product up. Be sure to point out the benefits of your product to your potential consumers.
Now get out there and show everyone what you can do!