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  • Chedo Stepanovic

Small Business Marketing Idea #2

When it comes to advertising and promoting your small business, whether it’s a brick and mortar location or online business you’ll love this idea.

Begin by researching some of your local area events. Think of events like Canada Day Parades or celebrations, Santa Clause parades, Rib Fest's, any event that draws thousands of people together within a public space or area.

Then consider creating an offer of some sort, preferably something of value but that wont cost you a fortune to give away or has potential for up selling. Think of things like 2-4-1 deals, or free appetizers with the purchase of a meal, or maybe a free inspection of sort if you’re a contractor like a plumber.

Then, print high quality cards the size of business cards with your offer and a link to a specific page on your website with more details regarding the offer. Be sure to select to an expiration date that is during a slow time of year for your business. Most people hang onto offers and redeem them just before they expire. So if your business is generally slow in September and October, print half the cards with expiration at the end of September and the other half at the end of October.

This should result in some of your cards being redeemed in the last two weeks of September and the rest in the last two weeks of October. Depending on what kind of business you are, you could have cards that expire weekly over the entire period of your slow season. So if you’re an ice cream shop, offering a 2-4-1 deal on scoops of ice cream all December could generate a lot of extra foot traffic.

Once you have the cards, find some staff and have them wear branded t-shirts or uniforms and take this up a notch by having a large rectangle flag that one of your staff walks around with.

If the event is public, have your staff find a busy location on a sidewalk or in a park where crowds will be walking to and from the event. Your staff don’t have to be at the event itself, just on a route near the event. As people are walking by, your staff can hand out cards with your offer and if asked, provide answers about your business.

This sort of “guerrilla” marketing may not work well for all business but who doesn’t like free ice cream? Imagine walking by and hearing, “would you like some free ice cream?” and being handed a 2-4-1 card to a local ice cream shop or café?

It’s really important that you track your costs for this sort of marketing. How many hours of labour did you incur? Cost of cards? Cost of goods or service in the offer? Track your redemptions, and do the math after the last day. As long as you turned a profit this may be a marketing strategy that you use regularly and can then save money on your printing costs by producing enough cards for an entire year of events. Keep in mind, you may also generate repeat business from a customer and so what is the lifetime value of that customer? What is the value of the positive review you may receive from them? Did they join your subscription list? There are many benefits to this sort of marketing and for the right type of business can be very profitable.

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