For those who are new to the world of business, there are many aspects you have to consider. One of the most important of these is your marketing strategy. If they don’t know you exist, how do you expect them to pay you? You need to get your name out there in the public both online and off. However, there are several methods that you should be wary of until your business has a chance to start earning its keep.

1. Promotional Goods

Giving away or selling promotional items within your store is a good method to attract attention to what your business focuses on. However, some of these can become quite expensive in bulk purchasing and many will have very little impact in customer acquisition. Items such as pens, pads of paper, toys, flash drives, and more are great to give away at expos and in the store. You still want to monitor your spending very closely as these items can dig pretty deep into your bank account.

License: Creative Commons image source
License: Creative Commons image source

2. Fancy Plaques

Many business owners are approached by advertising salesman who offer well designed plaques to promote your business in upscale locations. For the beginning business, this could be a double-edged sword that could wind up stinging your business checking account more than you want it too. Although the $800 you spend on a single year for this plaque may sound cheap, there is little guarantee that you will make that money back from the advertisement. This method is also focusing your efforts specifically on those who frequent that particular establishment and your business may not be what that audience wants. That same $800 could be spent in a variety of other ways in order to reach a broader selection of consumers.

3. Expos or Fairs

Local business expos are a great way to market your products and services to the general public. The hosting provider does all of the advertising for you and does everything they can in order to bring in possible consumers. Your only concern is to make sure you have plenty of materials in order to entice consumers to show interest in your business.

Although the lot fees for these expos and business fairs may sound cheap for a weekend, this could be a bad investment. You need to know what the estimated foot traffic will be and how the host will advertise the expo or fair. That’s only the beginning of the expenses. Next, you need materials to hand out – everyone loves freebies. As you start collecting materials and goods to share at these expos, the cost could start to rise. What you should focus on is pure marketing. Maybe have a key-chain and a pamphlet to hand out, but not much more than that. These expos and fairs are for marketing your business to the general public and you need to display your business to encourage visitors to your booth to come visit your physical location.

You need a budget for marketing in order to succeed. You can’t expect people to simply walk in and start spending money. Consumers need to know what you offer and why your business is superior to the competition. This budget needs to be realistic based off of your income. Too many business owners will go all-in to promote themselves and lose the entire budget with having very little to show for it. Research your methods and make sure your return-on-investment exceeds what you’re spending.

About the Author: Ken holds a master’s in business leadership from Upper Iowa University and multiple bachelor degrees from Grand View College. As president of morningsidenannies.com, Ken’s focus is helping Houston-based parents find the right childcare provider for their family. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his three children and his wife.