Cheap & Free Advertising
A side hustle is a great thing to take on. The extra money can help you stock that savings account, pay down bills and just live a better life in general. A second revenue stream also helps keep your finances in secure because it makes your income more diverse.
The hardest part about starting a small side business is getting customers. With traditional, old fashioned, advertising campaigns easily starting at 1000 dollars or more, it pays to get creative with your advertising. Here are some free and cheap ways to advertise your small business. All the advertising methods below are either free or will cost less than $50. Let’s check them out.
Cragslist is a great source of free advertising because it is a very well known website. People shop the services section of this online classified all the time and it is a great way to reach customers, although they are often very frugal ones.
The first thing that you are going to want to do is sign up for an account with Craigslist. You can post an ad without doing this but signing up will allow you to easily keep track of your ads and renew them. Renewing them will be the most important thing but I’ll get to that.
Once you have signed up, you can post an ad. Do NOT spam Craigslist, as they will ban you. Post no more than two adds a day to two separate categories. Do this every day but do not exceed that amount. Make sure that you post your keyword that people should find you with multiple times and in every variation. If you offer carpet cleaning for example, also include the term carpet cleaner, clean carpet, carpet cleaners and various incorrect spellings like “carpt” or “crpt”.
As the ads, expire naturally, be sure to renew them. This is how companies get so many listings on Craigslist. They post a few listings every day but also continually renew the old listings.
2. Business Cards
The classic business card is alive and well. You can use business cards in a variety of ways. You can hand them out in person whenever you met someone or you can easily stick them on the door of a residence. Placing hundreds of business cards on doors is a great way to do some cheap shotgun marketing.
The key to success with business cards is to make a good card that stands out. Go with a color other than standard white and print on both sides.
Vistaprint is a good option for business cards and you have probably seen them advertised on television or heard them on radio. The problem with Vistaprint is that they have a cheap introductory rate but they kill you on the extras and the shipping charges.
Staples is actually one of the better deals for business cards. Prices are subject to change but last time we checked, you could get 500 cards printed front and back for under $20. Plus, you can get them quicker and pick them up locally.
Go here to check out business card pricing at staples.
A website is crucial these days and they are easier than ever to create.
There are a lot of companies that offer free websites for businesses. The catch is that they are free to start but will then cost you. You could end up paying over $40 a month for some of them. That is almost 500 dollars a year which is way more than they are worth. Avoid them.
There is actually a very good free way to start a website that we recommend.
Head over to wordpress.com and open a free account. You can then start a free website with a wordpress subdomain. It will look like yourbusiness.wordpress.com.
WordPress is very simple to use. You just need to choose a website template and start inputting your information. As you get used to it, you can improve the design and layout. Before you know it. you will have a great looking website.
After you get things going, we do recommend that you upgrade to the Personal or Premium plan which will cost you a few dollars a month, currently $5 and $8. This will give you a real domain name though, instead of a subdomain. That will make it easier for customers to directly visit your website. Choose a catchy domain name that is easy to remember and do your best to stick to a “.com”.
Now, you could go out and get your own hosting account and buy your domain yourself but for the average business owner, that would cost you more than using wordpress and it is more complicated. Decent hosting starts at $10 paid monthly and domain names are $10 to $15 a year if you buy them yourself. If you are just going to have one website, just stick with wordpress.com, it is ultimately cheaper and simpler.
Go to wordpress and get started for free now.
If you already have a good Facebook friends list going, you are ahead of the game. Open up a Facebook business page and then tell all of your friends that you are in business and ask them to like you.
Once you reach 50 likes, you can then personalize your facebook url. That will make it easier to visit your page directly and make it look more professional so it is worth getting those likes.
Post at least weekly on your facebook business page to keep people engaged. It is a great idea to show people examples of your work on your posts as well. Then your friends will like them and their friends will see them and like them, etc, etc.
If you are good, word of your business could spread like wildfire.
Facebook makes it easy to set up your listing, so get started.
5. Car Window Vinyl
Many people will tell you to go with a magnetic car sign but quite frankly, those things are pretty tacky and look cheap.
A much better option is a small vinyl graphic that you can put on your back window. It will look better and be more professional.
You can find graphics for your rear window for well under $50. You will have to apply the graphic yourself but the work is well worth it. It is easy as long as you do the prep work and follow instructions.
One of the best place to go for custom vinyl on the cheap is Etsy.
6. Your Email
You are emailing all of the time, so put it to work.
Add a simple signature to the bottom of your email with your business name, a slogan describing what you do, your business phone and your website address.
This way, every time you send out an email, you will be advertising yourself. It is a constant reminder to your friends and colleagues that you have a side business that they might be interested in.