There are a number of inexpensive, or even free, ways to promote your business, organization, ministry or group, both online and off. In no particular order, and by no means conclusive, this list will hopefully help you put your little gray cells to work and serve as a springboard for your own brainstorming session.
1. Write, or find a writer, to create an original skit to tell who you are, what your purpose is, or anything else you wish to convey. This can be as simple or elaborate as you choose.
2. Create original posters/flyers and put them everywhere. Simple, one-page flyers can be created with any professional wordprocessing software and can be placed on car windshields, tacked to bulletin boards, taped to store windows or distributed door-to-door.
3. Hold a poster contest with prizes for first, second and third places. Make copies of the winning entries and post them everywhere.
4. Create a community day. Write a letter and mail to every similar organization in your area and invite them to attend. Offer refreshments, share ideas, network.
5. Publish a newsletter. This is one of the best and quickest proven methods to grow your group, inform your members and build goodwill.
6. Write, or have someone write, words to popular or well-known music that tells the story of your group. This can be humorous or serious. But it must be memorable.
7. Write a special letter to every first-time visitor. Encourage them to come back.
8. Talk about your group often, encourage participation. Ask every member to invite a friend.
9. Organize and print a group cookbook. This oldie is not only a goodie, but a goldie! You can make money by selling copies, give new members a free one, use as contest prizes, and more.
10. Write, or have someone write, press releases of anything new your group is doing and send to every area newspaper, radio station, and TV station. Emphasize the benefits your group offers to the community. Be sure the release is professionally written and not just a sales ad. If no one in your group is capable of writing a press release that is publishable, hire a professional.
11. Create and distribute commitment forms for prayer, attendance, financial support, etc. and ask each new member to sign one. Use the forms in special meetings and on special occasions, too.
12. Host a Resource Fair or Trade Show. Get similar organizations, companies, and individuals to set up booths, distribute materials, etc. Can be free or for a small fee. Publicize the even extensively. Let everyone know when, where and why. And have fun!
13. Create a simple brochure. This is another idea that must be professional to be effective, but it need not be elaborate. Something that tells your mission, benefits of membership, and how to join will work very well.
14. Print and use letterhead, envelopes, note pads and anything else that you can put your name and a simple logo or graphic on. Be sure to include a motto or tagline that people can easily remember and relate to you.
15. Videotape special services and programs and share the tapes with prospective members, donors, etc.
16. Write, or have someone write, a regular column for local, community newspaper(s). Many community papers are eager for regular columns to fill their editorial needs, and if you, or someone in the group, can write proficiently about a subject of interest and value to the community, this is a great way to generate interest. Offer the column freely for a "resource box" that includes your contact information.
17. Set up guest appearances on local radio and community television talk shows to discuss your group, or a new program you've begun.
18. Ask other organizations or businesses to distribute your literature, brochures, flyers, etc. Offer to do the same for them.
19. Place literature in libraries, doctor's offices, lawyer's offices, grocery stores... anywhere possible. Ask every member to distribute literature in the places they frequent.
20. If appropriate, ask area churches or other groups to allow you speak to their members about your organization.
21. Write, or have someone write, press releases about the members or volunteers in your group and what they are doing. Send these releases to every area newspaper, radio station, and TV station. Be sure to list their group affiliation. This is especially beneficial if the members are well known in the community.
22. Send birthday and anniversary cards to everyone you know. People remember those who remember them.
23. Create a slide show with background music to use in special services and at special meetings.
24. Give free T-shirts, bags, mugs, etc. to be used as prizes by area radio stations. They are always looking for free giveaways, and they offer great publicity to the donor.
25. Present seminars in libraries and meeting rooms on topics related to your organization's area of expertise, then distribute literature afterwards. This should NOT be a sales presentation, but an offering of valuable information that will help others to learn more about your group's area of interest.
26. Create, or have someone create a comic strip about your group to be printed in newsletters, flyers, and newspapers. Distribute this freely to anyone who would like to reprint it.
27. Have bumper stickers printed with your group's name, logo, or tagline. Distribute through bookstores, radio and TV stations, member's businesses and grocery stores.
28. Have mugs printed with your group's logo on them. Fill with candy and give to members and friends. Appropriate times would include birthdays, anniversaries, the birth of a baby, hospitalizations, as door prizes, etc.
Article copyright © 2005 by Darlene Bishop. All rights reserved worldwide.
Darlene "Dee" Bishop is a Christian minister, writer, and creative designer who has succesfully worked online since 1998. Visit her website at http://darlenebishop.com to learn how her common sense marketing and website design solutions helps churches and WAHMs develop a valuable presence online. Visit my Business