While social media is an excellent way to let people know about your business, don’t overlook old-fashioned ways of getting the word out. Some ideas are below.
One piece of advice that applies to all of these ideas: If you have a phone number for your business, make sure the greeting on your phone is professional and appropriate. If callers expect to be calling “Billy’s Bicycle Repair” and they get your voicemail, they should hear “Hello, this is Billy’s Bicycle Repair,” not, “Yo, wussup!”
Here are some ideas for old-fashioned marketing:
- Post a notice — ideally, a professional-looking brochure — on bulletin boards at places where people gather, like coffee shops (e.g. Starbucks), restaurants (e.g. Panera Bread) and supermarkets. Be sure to ask for permission before posting.
- Distribute fliers or brochures for your business in your neighborhood. Two good ways to do that are to put the fliers between the door handle and the door post or tape it to the door. If that takes too much time, a quicker method is to put the fliers inside a plastic baggie weighted with a rock so you can throw the baggies into each driveway as you drive by (or ride by on your bicycle).
- Distribute fliers to your classmates at school. Again, be sure to ask permission from school administrators — they might be OK with you distributing the fliers as long as you do it in a certain location or at a certain time.
- Leave brochures on park benches or other public places where people might find them. You should think about leaving them in a place that is most appropriate for the type of product or service you are selling. For instance if it’s a service most likely to be used by young people, you might want distribute the fliers near a university; if it’s a service or product for people with pets, find a bench in or near a dog park. (NOTE: If you use this method, put the brochures under a rock so they don’t fly away and check regularly to make sure they don’t end up as litter — that’s not a good look for your business.)
- Write an ad for your business on a piece of cardboard or poster board, attach it to a stake and stick the stake in a ground where motorists can see it. The best place is at an intersection where they will be stopped and can write down or memorize your phone number — or take out their phone and call you. (But be sure to observe whatever rules your town may have for roadside signs.)
NOTE: Be sure not to put the notices inside a mailbox or attach them to any part of the outside of the mailbox, including the post holding it up. It is a violation of federal law to use mailboxes for anything but mail. (You may be used to getting brochures taped to your mailbox or tacked to the post, but that is a violation of the law and, even though the chances of you getting caught and penalized may be small, we do not recommend that you take the chance of getting in trouble.)