It takes some trial and error to find what strategies will work best for your company, but luckily some options are low-cost or even free.
At Royal Flush, we put most of our advertising dollars towards Google keywords or Google advertising. But you do need to have some other options, since it is never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket.
We have basically tried everything under the sun at this point. Marketing needs differ greatly based on products and services offered, location, and the size of your business. These are some of the advertising methods that have worked for our company and some that were epic failures.
Billboards — honestly, huge waste of money. We put a billboard up last April on a really busy stretch of I-95 in Connecticut. I don’t know that we received a single call for all the money we spent. Friends told me how nice the picture was, but none of them ordered anything, so I will count this as a marketing failure.
Flyers, banners, shirts, etc. — I am sure that at least one local baseball team or high school has asked your company to put an ad in their flyer or sponsor their shirts. Over the years, we have sponsored 5k races, softball leagues, charity golf tournaments and more. I don’t know that any of these things brought our company a lot of money. But they did bring visibility and goodwill, which is never a bad thing. What you get out of this form of marketing depends on how big your service area is, but for some companies this is a very inexpensive way to get publicity.
Facebook, Twitter, etc. — I love all forms of social media. While these methods will take some time to set up and manage, it is almost completely free. It takes a long time to build a solid base, but once you have it, you can engage so many people with fewer than 140 characters. If you want to see good examples of this, check out Don’s Johns in Virginia. They have always had a really great Facebook page and they clearly put a lot of time into it. Honey Bucket, on the West Coast, also has a really great Twitter page that is worth checking.
Blogging — another great free marketing option. We started a blog years ago and I won’t lie, it can be a lot of work to maintain. Some weeks the ideas just come to me and other weeks, I am struggling to find anything to write about. I commonly hand the blog over to our summer interns so that we get fresh content each year. This is a wonderful outlet to inform customers about all the services you provide.
There are a lot more ways to advertise and spend your money. I highlighted these because I think they are the biggest ways to spend money and the cheapest ways to get your company name out there.
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.