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10 Inexpensive Marketing Ideas from Atlanta

by Jim Martin

You may think it impossible to get the word out about what your business offers. Don’t make excuses. You don’t need fads or gimmicks. Follow the proven tips and techniques of other entrepreneurs to get the word out about your business and watch it grow.

Give Your Stuff Away. Ari Fleischer and Aly Moler of Frozen Pints have grown their craft beer ice cream business by leaps and bounds by attending craft beer shows and farmers markets to do one thing—give their product away. Once customers taste this unexpected (and delicious) combination for free, they line up at their local store to buy it or request that the store carry it.

Attend Networking Events. Desiree Scales of Bella Web Design is a master networker. She attends and presents at almost every event in town. Her contribution to the overall community makes her one of the first people that come to mind when anyone looks for an expert in her area of concentration: small business websites and drip marketing.

Or, Create Your Own Event. If you don’t like the events you are attending, invent your own! Darrah Brustein created one of the most successful networking events in Atlanta, Atlanta Under 40, to connect with other young entrepreneurs in her city. It’s now franchised to other cities.

Volunteer to Lead an Organization. The secret to getting the most out of an organization is not just to attend but to lead. Lisa Calhoun of Write2Market served as the president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, allowing her connect with the brightest minds of the fastest growing companies in the Atlanta market.

Start a Podcast. Todd Schnick of Dreamland Interactive created his own podcast—he interviews other business owners. People love to tell their story: highlighting them on a podcast makes an instant, meaningful connection. It’s also a great way to learn about a topic you are interested in.

Be Helpful. Most small business owners struggle to get their finances in line, especially when they move from an Excel spreadsheet to something as sophisticated as QuickBooks. Cathy Iconis of Iconis Group hosts a Quickbook Chat on Twitter every Thursday night at 7:00 EST to answer small business owners’ questions—and potentially find some clients.

Send a Weekly E-mail. If you want to stay in contact with your customers, nothing is simpler than creating a weekly e-mail that provides something of value. Rick Houcek of Soar With Eagles sends one out every Monday called the 2-Minute Monday Motivator.

Support a Cause. Mary Hester of LAN Systems throws an annual cookout every Earth Day. Party-goers are encouraged to bring their “e-waste”—old computer monitors and CPUs. The most recent event collected more than two tons of IT equipment, keeping it out of the landfills and creating goodwill with their customers, current and potential.

Sponsor an Organization. Many local organizations are inexpensive to sponsor for a year if you consider the so-called per meeting cost. If your product or service is a good fit with their audience, you get exposure every time the organization sends out an e-mail and a mention every time they meet. Attendees remember and appreciate companies who sponsor the organization.

Create a Cool Giveaway. When thinking out what your company will give away make sure it’s something they won’t want to throw away or easily lose in their desk or bag (think pen).

Marketing yourself and your business does not have to be expensive. You simply have to be creative, bold and energetic. Those the characteristics that make entrepreneurs successful.