The Marketing Guy.
By: Craig Valine
For February 1998

How To Get Low And No-Cost Advertising For Your Business.

The opportunities for getting free advertising for your product or services are limited only by your own imagination and energies. There are so many proven ways of promoting your objectives without cost that it literally boggles the mind just to think of listing them.  I could write an entire book on it, but in the meantime, here are just a few ideas:

One way is to write an article relative to your particular expertise and submit it to all the publications and media dealing in the dissemination of related information. In other words, become your own publicity and sales promotions writer. Get the word out; establish yourself as an expert in your field, and "tag-along" everything you write with a quick note listing your address for a catalog, dealership opportunity, or more information.

Another really good way is by becoming a guest on as many of the radio and television talk shows or interview type programs as possible. Actually, this is much easier to bring about than most people realize. Write a letter to the producer of these programs, then follow up an in-person visit or telephone call. Your initial contact should emphasize that your expertise would be of interest to the listeners or viewers of the program--perhaps even saving them time and money.

Other ways of getting free or very inexpensive exposure include the posting of advertising circulars on all free bulletin boards in your area, especially the coin-operated laundries, grocery stores, and beauty and barber shops. Don't discount the idea of handing out circulars to all the shoppers in busy shopping centers and malls, especially on weekend. You can also enlist the aid of the middle school students in your area to had out circulars door-to-door.

Some of the more routine methods include having a promotional ad relative to your product or service printed on the front or back of your envelopes at the time you have them printed with your return address.

Be sure to check all the publications that carry the kind of advertising you need. Many mail order publications just getting started offer unusually low rates to first-time advertisers; a free-of-charge insertion of your ad when you pay for an order to run three issues or more; or special seasonal ad space at greatly reduced rates. And there are a number of publications that will give you Per Inquiry (PI) space--arrangement where all orders come in to the publication, they take a commission from each order, and then forward the orders on to you for fulfillment.

Many publications cannot sell their ad space, so they will have to sell it at a discount.  This is called "Remnant Space." In this arrangement you send them your ad, and they hold it until they have unsold space, and then at a price that's always one third or less the regular price for the space need, insert your ad. Along these lines, be sure to check in with the suburban neighborhood newspapers, like the Penny Saver or Weekly’s.

If you send out or publish any kind of catalog or ad sheet, get in touch will all the other publishers and inquire about the possibilities of exchange advertising. They run your ad in their publication in exchange for your running an ad for them of comparable size in yours.

Finally, there’s nothing like getting a qualified prospect through "lead generation" advertising.  Simply run an ad offering a free report of interest to most people--- a simple one or two page report with a "compelling offer" that they will want to respond to right away.  Make it easy for them to respond, either with a response device, such as a 800 number or give them a business reply envelope.

I find that having a 24 hour toll-free recorded message works great!  It allows the prospect to call in with no risk and hear a recorded "sales presentation."  In a recorded message you can tell (or sell) a lot more than in an advertisement.  Remember:  The key is "lead generation."

However, of course, the trick is to convert all these responses, or a large percentage of them, into sales.  If the offer is compelling enough, or gives them such great value or advantage, the readers will respond almost immediately.   And don’t forget to upsell, and cross-sell to get more out of the sale per customer.  Just make sure that what you do sell to the customer does have extreme perceived value to them.

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, it's just a matter of unleashing your imagination. There are incredible opportunities in every business.  Think about what you look at and what you would respond to. Humans have this unique need to respond to what catches their eye and what benefits them in the best way possible.

Good luck!

If you would like to know more about how to market your business effectively, e-mail the "Marketing Guy" at

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Copyright 1997 ~BizNet OnLine Magazine
Last modified: November 08, 2002