|Advertising Locally--building a customer base|
advertising without a budget, not necessarily on the Internet.
I need some good ideas on how to advertise my business. I'd like to advertise locally, since most of my customers like to meet once or twice in person.
I don't have a storefront, and I can't afford a big ad in the paper. I've thought of placing a classified ad with my web address and phone number, but haven't had the money as of yet. I'm relatively new to my area, so I don't know a lot of people. Most of the few customers I've had are from family referrals (if not family themselves.)
As far as advertising online, I haven't had good results (or any at all...) I tried google adwords for a month--with no results and a lot of money spent. I think my biggest problem with advertising online is that my type of business is very popular, so even being listed within the first 100 pages of a google, yahoo, etc. search is nearly impossible. I 've been focussing on SEO for months now, but with no luck...I've tried all kinds of different search terms, even resorting to "business type", "city name", "state", etc.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!
One thing my company has done on several occasions to raise our "local awareness" is to do things in the community.
Wear your company's T-shirt and participate in a charity event (like a walk or run). Lots of people get chit-chatty at those events; your T-shirt will be a conversation starter. (And, as you said you're new to the area, this will also help you get to know people in the community - regardless of whether or not they get to know your business.)
Another thing to do is join a local civic or business organization ... a lot of times these orgs will have websites that list members & member companies. If you want to step it up a notch, join and then volunteer to help out a business org (such as joining the board of a local association in your business space) - plenty of networking opportunities there.
It's not only about getting business for your site now, it can be about networking and contacts for the future, as well. :)
The most effective method I have used is the sending out of A5 size flyers to local firms in the post.
briefly stating what we do and in bullet form how we go about doing it, then giving our contact details.
Grossed £1000 on burst with constant orders from those customers ever since.
We also place our website on CD rom and give these out on follow up enquires.
The whole process is cheaper and more efficent than you would ever imagine.
I have a few thoughts for you..
Even in my little town of about 70,000 there is a local hosting and design firm. They have a local business directory in which any local website can be listed. They have a PR7 on the home page and business listing page is a PR6. That should give you a great start with "townname keyword1" searches.
Do a search on your city's name and make of list all of the businesses in your town with web sites. Offer to "network" (recip) with them. Most people on their sites are locals and should be interested in you.
While reading the paper, make note of the names of anyone continually writing tech articles in the business section. Approach this individual (rather befriend them) and suggest that keyword1 keyword2 is available locally now online. You might get a brief article out of it.
As far as online advertising, if you are not in a big city you will likely be dissapointed not just by adwords but all services if you are looking for local business. Just focus on all of the local sites and free directory listings.
OK, just looked at your user profile and saw your type of service. You really need to get out in the community and join clubs and get in front of people. Spend the $200 or so to join the Chamber of Commerce, you'll likely get to speak once in front of a lot of people to tell them about your service (I'm a former local chamber member). Your area is so competitive I would forget getting into the top 500 on major search engines unless you're an expert at SEO. And also I am pretty sure people doing searches on what you do won't be using local terms in the query. A bit of encouragement...I know many in your shoes who make a very nice living for themselves with the right marketing.