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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Four Ways to Start Marketing Your Product or Service with No Money

You have a great product and your services are in demand. You need to let people know that you have something they could use. Cashflow is always an issue for new entrepreneurs and business owners. Even if your business plan was successful and you were able to secure funds for your organization, you have to maximize every penny.

Marketing your product and services can be tricky but your passion and belief in it is the very first ingredient to success in this area. Without a passion that may sometimes annoy people, you will quickly be discouraged by people's lack of enthusiasm and give up. Giving up is not an option. I repeat, giving up is not an option. So here is what you do:

1. Networking in Real Life: Social media has made the world awesome, crazy, accessible, and smaller in many ways. However, we still crave human interaction and require it to feel safe in releasing money for something we may or may not love as much as you do. By associating with people in your field, going to free events that gather potential customers, and always having a business card, you can make very good connections that have long time benefits. People who like you will tell other people about you. You will run into those who just want to use you, but even they can be a great connector to those who would be interested in your product or service. Get out and talk to people and you will be amazed how often people will ask "What do you do?" There is your ticket to give a brief yet powerful overview of your product and service. I would suggest that you do not open conversations about what you do. This will quickly turn people off and give them the wrong impression. Smiling and being kind can be a great marketing tool to meet people and allow them to
become more intrigued with you as a person. 

2. Craigslist: We have all heard of the craigslist killer and other bad news associated with this super trafficked website, but have you heard that it is a huge marketing resource for you? Craigslist is chocked full of people looking for things and services, as well as selling products and services. Utilize both tools functions of the website. Click on the community link and see what is going on and places you can connect with people. Be strategic in everything you do, your business must grow and you must make it a part of you to be able to succeed.

3. Facebook, Twitter and Blogs: This is no myth. These huge social networking sites are beyond wonderful for marketing. I am not talking about spamming people's news feeds with your business or buying ad space. I am talking about how powerful it can be to meet people who need your product or service, without running ads. I personally have found many clients just by being active on my social networking sites and being myself. I do have professional profiles, but I have found that my private profiles where people get to really know me, are the ones that reap the most prospects. If you are not interested in blogging, or find it too time intensive (which it is!), then read others blogs and leave comments. Leave real comments that add value to the readers. Try not to be argumentative or critical as people will likely just delete your comment. However, chime in and offer valuable feedback. Bookmark a few of your favorite ones and return often to learn and possibly meet new prospects. Your link back to your own business website will also help you generate some traffic from other readers that read what you write.

4. Volunteer: You reap what you sow. Period. Find something you like or believe in and get involved. Don't waste time with self pity. People will not be as passionate about what you do as you are, and this can be discouraging. However, volunteering opens up an opportunity for you to get involved in someone else's passion. It is also a place for you to meet possible clients and build real relationships that can mean referrals! I am not stating that you should volunteer to just get clients. Volunteering is good for the soul. But I am pointing out an opportunity you may have overlooked. If you get involved in other people's business, they may be inspired to ask you about yours.  Another benefit of volunteering is the free education you can gain from listening to what people need, like, hate, dislike, or flat out must have. How can you make your potential clients' lives easier with with you are selling? Listening is a powerful tool and volunteering gives you access to many people with their distinct ideas.

These are just four of several ways you can jumpstart your marketing efforts without cash. Of course you can create flyers, postcards, and other written marketing materials, but using yourself is highly effective. Understanding people and how to connect with them is something we must learn from experience, no matter how many seminars or conferences we attend. 

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