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Small Business Advice – The Best Advertising You Can’t Buy

One of the hardest things for a small business can be just getting noticed. Giant corporations like Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike can spend millions of dollars advertising on the Super Bowl to a worldwide audience while you struggle to let people in your immediate community know about your products and services.

Hopefully you have at least a small budget for some targeted advertising – perhaps via direct mail, online methods like Google AdWords or respected community newspapers.

But even if you’re trying to get noticed on a shoestring marketing budget, there’s one kind of advertising that won’t cost a penny but is worth its weight in gold.

small-business-adviceWe’re talking about Word of Mouth advertising – the kind of exposure you get when a customer has such a good experience with your products or services that she rushes right out to tell her friends, both in real life and in online social networks like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

It’s hard to quantify and track word-of-mouth advertising. You can just look at click-through or response rates, although you can try to find out if new customers heard about you ‘from a friend’.

Meanwhile, business blogger Alan Yu points out that the best way to generate word-of-mouth buzz is simply to deliver excellent customer service and superior results to your customers.

Yu also notes that many of your customers and your friends may assume that your business is doing fine and doesn’t need any extra help. Be sure to encourage people to spread the word if they like what you have to offer. Maybe you could even offer them some sort of discount or bonus if they refer a new customer?

Have you had success with word-of-mouth advertising? Or have you struggled to generate conversational buzz? Either way, share your stories below in the Comments section.

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4 comments

1 Melissa KoehlerNo Gravatar { 09.30.09 at 11:43 am }

Offering a discount for referrals is a great idea – and if you do it in the form of a code it will provide you with a great way to track your word-of-mouth advertising. Maybe offer a discount code in return for a quick survey? You can put one together very quickly and easily on a site like surveymonkey.com. This way, you can begin to gather qualitative as well as quantitative data about your efforts.

2 DebbieNo Gravatar { 09.30.09 at 11:53 am }

Local restaurants work with children’s sports teams and local charities to generate new business. At a local museum, I saw a flyer for a new restaurant which had made a donation. It explained how you could help the museum by eating at the restaurant and bringing the “coupon” with you. The restaurant was donating a percentage of every meal to the museum. What a great way to advertise corporate giving and to track the results of your promotion.

3 JoJo JohnNo Gravatar { 10.23.09 at 4:49 pm }

Hello there
I i saw ya msg on blog.dollardays.com
Very interesting
In fact I have been looking for something like this for ages
blog.dollardays.com is definitely on my bookmarksnow.
Great effort congrats !
John

4 aaronNo Gravatar { 10.28.09 at 6:52 am }

Thanks for the comment, JoJo!

Happy to hear that you are finding our content useful.

- Dollar Days Blog Moderator



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