Every business from the major corporation to the home-based business needs promotion; a way to get your name out to your target market. Even if you’ve had your business for a while, you may be looking for some distinctive ideas to keep your business in the minds of your current and future clients.
We’ve all seen the mailed advertisements that people toss aside as junk. Although somewhat effective, these types of advertisements are often impersonal and not that cost effective. Here are 10 unique ways (some of them free) to get your next new client:
1. Give away free stuff
Everyone likes promotional items: water bottles, key chains, pens, USB drives, notepads, mouse pads, etc. Be creative. You can get your logo and business name printed on just about everything. I’ve gotten promotional items such as oven mitts, sewing kits, luggage tags, iTunes gift cards and compact mirrors.
2. Sponsor a client's event
Here is a chance to do some pro bono work. You might not have the money to provide financial sponsorship, but you could do the flyers or the online advertisement graphics for an event in exchange for being listed as a sponsor (I’m sure your client would be very grateful). You might even be able to get your logo and contact information listed on their ad material for free.
3. Speaking engagements
I teach a seminar on graphic design basics with a colleague of mine. It gets people to come out, ask questions and network. But more importantly, it promotes us as experts and gets our names in front of people who may eventually need our services for projects that they can’t or don’t want to take on.
4. Create your own personal holiday
One of the best ways to keep your business name in the mouth of your clients is to have a regularly scheduled day when you do something special. It might be a semi-annual sale, or a monthly “logo day,” or maybe a certain day of the week is designated “customer appreciation day.” Whatever it is, make sure that it happens on somewhat of a regular basis so that your current and future clients know when to look out for it.
5. Referral incentive program
Offer your customers an incentive for referring customers to you. I’ve done gift certificates or percentages off of services. You could even partner with a client of yours, and if you get a referral, they get your clients’ services at a discount. In exchange your client could offer your services as a discount to their referrals.
6. Holiday promotions
Use the holidays to your advantage by coming up with a creative way to contact your clients during themed holidays. Send out greeting cards, unique discounts, specialized e-mail blasts or events that surround a particular holiday and get the word out.
7. Hold a contest
Offer a contest with a grand prize that would interest your target audience. Generate interest by advertising with flyers, e-mail blasts, radio, word of mouth, on your website and other social networking websites. This will get the word out about your business and will more than pay for itself.
8. Personalized calendar
A customized calendar is an advertisement of your business that is in front of your client all year. What could be better? You have plenty of space to show off your work and list your contact information. And for all you Mac users out there, iPhoto is a great tool to use to get professionally printed calendars from Apple with as low of a quantity of one at a time.
9. Write a blog
You’re reading this right now aren’t you? Think about how many other people will, too. It’s a great way to show that you’re an expert and gain the interest of potential clients. The sooner you get a dialogue started within your comments, or someone references your blog, you’ve reached a client that you may not have come in contact with face to face.
10. Use video e-mail
Helloworld.com is a great way to set yourself apart in the e-mail world. When a client clicks open your e-mail, your own personal video begins to play right there in their inbox. You can create a commercial, a special promotion, a video blog or anything else that you think might capture your audience.
What do you think? What creative ways have you come up with for promoting your business?