10 Ways to Generate Buzz for Your Business

During the first quarter of 2009, according to a recent report by The Nielsen Company, businesses spent $3.8 billion less on advertising than they did during the same time frame in 2008. With advertising expenditures in the United States down 12% for that first quarter, many businesses are looking for budget-friendly ways to get their business noticed and reach their target audience.
If you are looking for some low-cost ways to reach your consumer base, start by considering these:
1.      Promotions. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have one. Tie-in promotions with holidays, or simply hold a customer appreciation day where you throw a party and offer snacks, discounts, or even games.
2.      Exchange services. See if there is someone who is also looking to save on promotion of their business and, if so, team up to exchange services. For example, if you own a restaurant, offer a couple of gift certificates in exchange for an ad in a local newsletter or on a radio station.
3.      Get online. While many businesses have a Web site today, not all of them are using their site as effectively as they could be. Make sure you are using resources to your best advantage to bring in traffic, such as search engine optimization (SEO), having an online media area, offering relevant expert information, etc.
4.      Consider mail. Mailing post cards can be an effective low-cost route. Just be sure to target who they are sent to, as much as possible, to maximize effectiveness.
5.      Donate. Give something away and you should get noticed. Consider donating time, products, or services. For example, if you are a painting company, select a family or non-profit organization, each Christmas, to receive free paint services.
6.      Think fundraiser. This is like donating, except that your customers supply the donations. For example, hold a canned food drive, asking each customer to donate one can. You should end up with a sizeable quantity to drop off at the selected organization.
7.      Get writing. If you can write some articles on your subject area, you can set yourself up as an expert in that field. Supply newspapers, magazines, and online article sites with your pieces.
8.      Start talking. Start offering to do speaking engagements about business and your field. This works great for conferences and seminars, as well as for offering classes to the public. Be sure to take business cards, brochures and/or media kits with you.
9.      Network. You have heard it before, but it’s true that networking can be a very low-cost way to get the word out and to meet others who may help spread it. Join social and community groups, such as those on meetup.com, or start one of your own.
10.    Inform the media. Most of these suggestions require that you see it through by informing the media. This can easily be done by sending out a professional press release or by working with a PR agent. For example, if you start a group, offer classes, hold a fundraiser, donate, launch a Web site, or hold a promotion, you should inform the media. This is the best way of getting on the air, in the papers, and mentioned on the radio, before, during and after you take these actions.