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Small town marketing advice By


Last week, the Bandera Business Association offered some marketing tips from Business Town for businesses located in small towns. Here are more helpful suggestions.
Exclusive offerings - Offering exclusive purchases or previews of new merchandise to existing customers is a great way to inspire a feeling of excitement and loyalty. To enhance participation, you may also offer a discount. If the exclusive offering is in itself extremely attractive, the discount can be small.
Events - Hosting a special event at your business, such as a celebrity appearance or a charity fundraiser, is a terrific way to introduce people to your business or maintain contact with existing customers. It also will create an aura of excitement and goodwill. You may even obtain media coverage.
Cross-promotions - You don't have to be a movie producer or own an international fast-food chain to cross-promote your product with another business. You might consider offering free tickets to the local theater with each purchase of a particular item or price level. Another great business-to-business cross-promotion might be to offer free tickets to a ball game to any business willing to invest 15 minutes just to listen to your sales pitch.
Trades - Ever notice the ads for car washes on taxi roofs? Car washes don't pay cash for these advertisements! They get the exposure in exchange for cleaning the taxis periodically. If you are absolutely sold on developing an advertising campaign, remember that smaller media outfits will sometimes accept products in lieu of payment.
Giveaways - You're probably wondering how you can make money if you give away products. Well, it's a lot easier and less expensive than advertising. In fact, giveaways have their place in just about any type of business.
Selling business-to-business, you can generate goodwill with the people you choose - your best customers or a select roster of potential clientele - by occasionally giving them a small gift when you call on them. The giveaway should not be so expensive that a feeling of bribery is conveyed, but nice enough that it doesn't end up trashed the minute you leave.
For consumer service businesses, you may want to offer your product for free trial periods or offer free estimates if you are in a service-oriented business. Retail businesses may hand out balloons or other novelty items to build traffic or retain customer interest.
New customer offers - Attracting new customers is one of the most difficult marketing challenges to achieve even with powerful advertising or a dedicated sales force. That's why different businesses - national greeting card manufacturers to local oil delivery services - offer incentive pricing, freebies, or extra advertising allowances for new customers. Even lawyers customarily offer a free first consultation.