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August 5, 2010 / Tony Arena

How to Advertise Your Small Business for $40 Cheap and Effective

  • Step 1

THE APPROACH

When you’re working on a tight budget, advertising can seem like a fantasy. However, getting your business name out there to the public can be done inexpensively and effectively. The key is to start small and use your resources wisely.

The goal of this approach is to use $40 to provide a real-world presence, portable advertising, and an internet presence. It will require some creativity on your part. You may even have to learn a little bit.

  • Step 2

    THE WEBSITE

    You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on hosting and design services to establish an effective web presence. It’s entirely possible to build a website of your own for free. However, I recommend spending just a little. A good business web hosting service can provide you with clear instructions, customer service, a free domain name, access reports, email, and an overall superior online experience.

    I recommend Yahoo Small Business. They are relatively inexpensive and offer new customer discounts. Your start-up costs will be under $10.00. For that money, you will get excellent hosting, user friendly design tools, a free domain name of your choosing (provided the name is untaken), volumes of resource information, automated billing, customer service, and much more. Standard pricing for their basic package, even after the introductory period, is under $15.00/month.

    Once your website is designed, you should invest some time in free promotion. This would include submitting your website to multiple search engines (free), social bookmarking (also free), and submitting links to your business website on relevant forums (free again). Also be sure to include your website’s address on your flyers and business cards.

  • Step 3

    PIN-UP ADVERTISEMENTS

    Pin-up advertisements can be designed on your computer using basic word processing software. They should include your company name, contact information, a brief and concise description of the service you provide, and tear tags (hand cut tags with your contact information which can be pulled off by potential customers). It should be designed in black and white to save money on reproduction. (For examples, see resources).

    Print a master copy of your pin-up and take it to a local copy shop. Request as many copies as you can purchase with $5.00, including tax. Distribute those copies to local bulletin boards and to shops your clients frequent. For instance, if you are advertising a pet waste removal business, you should ask the local animal shelter if they would post your flyer.

  • Step 4

    STARTER BUSINESS CARDS

    Using the same word processor you used to produce your pin-up, you can design your own business cards. You will print these business cards on formatted and perforated business card stock. Avery business card paper will cost around $15.00 and provide 250 business cards for those using an inkjet printer. **Tip ~ test the alignment of your business cards by printing a single sheet on standard computer paper and checking the alignment against that of the Avery paper.

    These business cards will be of great value when a client offers to refer your services to their friends, or when you randomly meet potential customers. Business cards can be made on regular card stock, rather than more expensive perforated paper, but you business cards will likely come out uneven or crooked. It’s worth the money to avoid the hassle of cutting 250 business cards.

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