This has been a very rough first quarter for most of the businesses we know. Aim Advertising has had an enormous increase in business owners calling to ask “what can I do to get business in the door when I have very little money to spend?” In our twenty-five plus years of advising clients we have never been out of great ideas for little or no budget advertisers. Here are two of the calls and the free advice we gave them.

Caller 1 – I have a Chinese restaurant and would like to do a direct mail with my menus and try to increase our take out business. What would that cost?

I suggested several different size lists and went over the mailing cost with each. There seemed to be no small list she could afford. I them ask her if she had a list of email clients and she said no so that ruled out an e-blast. Then I asked her is she had a good amount of menus printed and she said she had stacks. I then suggested she walk the streets and put those menus on doors offering free delivery. She asked, can I do that? I said, Obama did. So that is what she did. Several days latter I had a hair appointment at a local establishment and when I walked in all the hairdressers had just ordered Chinese. Their comment was they did not know she would deliver for free. Our office also did not know that. I bet our whole street did not know! I have a feeling her campaign was a great success.

Oh, and one more tip I gave her. Set up a drawing in your restaurant and on a monthly basis give away a dinner for four. Explain all you have to do to win is give us your email address for our e-news letters.

Caller 2 – We are going to have cut your own flowers for a few short months our business is off the beaten path what can we do to advertise.

Again direct mail or radio would have eaten up all her profits for such a seasonal endeavor and setting up at farmers markets or roadside stands was out of the question because of manpower. Our solution was: With the May elections over within a week pick a winning candidate and ask if you can have some of his roadside political signs. He obviously would not need them any more and you would be doing him a favor picking them up. Recover them with laminated posters from Staples and set them out on the three major highways to point customers to your farm.

There are a million ways to advertise just put your head to it and be ready to do a little work. By the way it was a coincident both ideas came from political maneuvers.