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Leverage Existing Marketing Opportunities for Next to Nothing

Often when running ones own business, it is difficult to direct attention away from delivering the core product or service and to focus energy on promoting the company, ensuring proper business image and enhancing opportunities for visibility. And this time a year, once we shovel out of our doorways, who has time to worry about anything outside of daily operations? Thankfully, there are many ways successful marketing can be achieved with little time or effort and even less money.

1. Plaster your business name everywhere. Emboss your name on everything that leaves your door including every piece of paper: invoices, letterhead, envelopes, checks, boxes and packages, notices, etc. (And don't forget the door itself). If appropriate, institute company shirts, jackets, bags, etc., emblazoned with your logo.

2. Even if your business does not include the use of vehicles, the car you, your spouse or your employees drive, are moving billboards. Turn the Route 128 morning parking lot into a roving commercial for your business by investing in inexpensive, attractive and removable magnetic signage that promotes your business name and or logo on the side of your car or truck. (Put it on your roof and just maybe you'll make the Fox25 morning traffic report!)

3. Ensure that your email signature is personalized to include your business name and or logo and that your outgoing caller ID is your company's name.

4. Be ready for any opportunity with business cards on hand at all times. Leave them at the sports club, restaurants' raffle fish bowls and PTA meetings. Be easily accessible via phone, email and in person.

5. Maximize word of mouth. Tell everyone you know you are running a business. In addition to business and networking contacts, this includes Aunt Patty, the mailman and your kid's piano teacher. Also, a good reference is worth thousands in advertising dollars. Enlist the support of happy customers and leverage their satisfaction in written testimonials, verbal recommendations as necessary, etc.

6. Hold an event; a sale, showing, class or demonstration as appropriate to your line of business. You can now post your event free of charge on Boston.com's event calendar through an easy to use online form.

7. Social Networking - You have a facebook, myspace or twitter account. As should your business. Announce new products and services, events or growth through your web of networks regularly.  Sponosr discussion groups, blogs and e-newsletters that keep your business name front of mind.

Visibility is key, but don't sacrifice your business image for a little ink.  Keep your methods in line with your product, service and company.  Always remember, "the medium is the message".   

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