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15 Ideas for Low Cost Offline Promotion Campaigns | Freelance Sprout | Find, Start, and Grow Your Dream Freelance Business
Read the six part series on creating a freelance business plan
 

15 Ideas for Low Cost Offline Promotion Campaigns

Date March 25, 2008


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Times Square at Dusk
Creative Commons License photo credit: Stuck in Customs

Promotion and advertising can be a heavy expense, especially for a new business. A freelance business ,more often than not, has a very limited budget for offline advertising.

Looking at your promotion options, you can move in one of two directions.

1. Take the conventional route and mount an elaborate media campaign spending a a lot of money in the process.

2. Let your creative juices flow and mount a low-cost promotional effort, using a potpourri of attention getting ideas to get your message out.

Now, conventional advertising is valuable and it does has its place. If your enterprise is large enough, you may find that a full-fledged media campaign is the most efficient and cost-effective way to promote your business.

As a startup, money will be tight. You won’t be able to sustain the heavy cost of a long term media campaign. Good thing though. There’s an assortment of low cost ideas you can try. The following 15 low-cost techniques should help you get started.

1. Giveaways
People love to receive “free” items, especially items they can use to gain knowledge or improve their lives. You can base an entire promotional campaign on this desire. Once you start giving away authoritative information, customers will begin to perceive you as an expert in your field.  There are some great and cheap promotional products that can help you brand your name, useful things like personalized pens or water bottles make great free giveaways.

2. News Creation
Do you want to get names and news from your business in the local newspaper? It may be easier than you think. If you don’t have any news to report to the local media, create some.

Are you starting the first business of your type in the area? Maybe you’ve opened a free advice center for the community. Awards from civic and professional groups are also great news stories.

3. Special Events
You may be able to attract the attention of a crowd or the media by staging a special promotional event.

4. Charity tie-ins
Are you launching a new product? Trying to increase visibility among a particular segment of your community? Offer your service—or advice—to one or more local charities as a raffle prize or for use at a fund-raising event.

5. Contests
Offer a desirable or unique item—or even several items—as contest prizes. First, find a contest theme that relates to your business.

Invite submissions and offer prizes to the winners. Do contests attract attention? You bet. All it takes is a few signs, a small press announcement or two, and the word will spread throughout the community.

6. Community service
Ask yourself how your business can be a “good neighbor” to your community. Volunteer for various causes. If appropriate, you can step in during emergencies, offering services to help an organization or individuals in need.

7. Coupons
Americans are very cost conscious. At what level will coupons increase the volume of service lines? When you get some tentative answers, start distributing coupons that offer a discount on your services.

Distribute them to area newspapers, on store counters, in door-to-door mail packets, at the public library, at laundromats—at any location where people congregate.

8. Badges and novelties
You can easily and inexpensively produce badges, bumper stickers, book covers, and other novelty items for distribution in your area. You can imprint your business name and the first names of the customers on many of these products at little cost and distribute them for free.

You can link your novelty program into a contest: once a month, you can offer a prize to any individual whose car happens to carry one of your bumper stickers or badges with peel off coupons, redeemable online if they make a purchase.

9. Celebrate holidays
You’ll probably want to celebrate major public holidays with special sales. Almost every business has a few little-known holidays. Ever hear of Cat Lovers Month?

Once you find the “right” holiday, you can sponsor a special sale or special product, and arrange media coverage of a holiday event.

10. Go where the people are
You can open sales information booths at community fairs and festivals. If you have the people and the time, can you handle regional fairs or trade shows?

11. Mailing lists
Once you begin establishing a committed clientele, build your mailing list. Save the names from email and telephone inquiries.

12. Unbeatable deals
If you want people to buy NOW, offer them an unbeatable deal.

13. Parties
Everyone loves a party. Perhaps you can offer an open house or reserve a small banquet room in your community. Bring refreshments.

14. Greeting cards
Do you send greeting cards to major customers or clients? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries make nice greeting card occasions. Greeting cards create enormous goodwill and keep your name in front of people.

15. Seminars
In this information-hungry age, people love to receive advice, especially about their personal needs and hobbies. Perhaps you can offer wellness seminars during lunchtime to your area’s business community.

Maybe you can offer one-hour decorating workshops to any group of ten people who will gather in someone’s home.

Promoting with offline campaigns takes time and creativity. Get involved, save money, be creative and realistic with your ideals, and have fun. If you do that, people will remember you.

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Related posts:

  1. 10 Ways to Make Money as a Freelance Writer
  2. The Freelance Manifesto – Creating the Life you want by Choosing Less
  3. Never Be Too Busy to Market Yourself

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