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Advertising and marketing advice on shoe string budget!

(12 Posts)
galen Thu 22-Oct-09 09:11:49

hello all you wondeful experienced self emplyed/freelance mums! I am just venturing into setting up a business and have come to pick your brains! I previously worked as a child pyschiatrist in my pre-children life, and whilst I am considering returning to this, I am also going to try running my own parent coaching company as I loved this part of my job previously.Thye only problem is I have nO money to put into the business LOL I have set up a website, but now need some cunning free marketing and advertising strategies LOL Now I am sur eyou will all tell me that I need money to advertise, but was just wondering if anyone had any ieas of how any marketing could be done for next to nothing!
if you want to see what I am on about have a look here So anyone got any creative ideas LOL
TIA grin

mabh Thu 22-Oct-09 11:18:18

Hi Galen - well to a degree you are right, advertising is not free!

But you should be able to get some coverage in your local paper. You do have to have something newsworthy, though (which is where a lot of small businesses go wrong!) ie. interesting to the local audience, not just something you want to say!

A starter press release would be simply that you are starting up in business (paragraph one), your credentials (para 2) and what you are offering the local community in terms of service, jobs, location, etc (para 3). Then add your contact details and web address on the bottom.

In future, you could keep an eye on national developments and national news stories in your field, and send press releases adding your comment and how you contribute to fixing the problem. Hopefully your local journo would eventually get to know that you are a person who they could ring to comment if anything comes up.

If you don't get anywhere with this, you could try ringing the journalist (but beware this isn't necessarily more productive). Failing that you will need someone to write press releases for you - professionals can normally get them printed.

bettythebuilder Thu 22-Oct-09 11:32:55

There are other free ways to publicise your business and website, too, such as joining Twitter and finding friends and making posts relevant to your sector, Facebook (set up a fan page) and BTTradespace (where you can set up pages about your business- ranks well with google, etc).

you could maybe try to put something on the local pages of netmums, but they can be heavyhanded (to say the least )about businesses posting so you way well be deleted without warning!

TheHAUNTEDHouseofMirth Thu 22-Oct-09 14:57:49

Galen I know that your services can be accessed by telephone /internet but where are you based?

Is there a Families Magazine in your area? They are always on the look out for new stuff and will happily give you editorial without you having to fork out for an advert.

You could try an ad in your local NCT magazine. You'll have to pay but they charge peanuts.

I'd get some flyers printed. Many cafe's/children's shops have notice boards or will put them on the counter.

Chat up your local Health Visitor. She'll probably hand out leaflets for you. Maybe also Surestart?

We have this company where I live. Interestingly, they started out offering mainly workshops but now I see they are also doing coaching. If you look at their site you'll see the do free taster sessions. I think you'll get a lot of business trough word of mouth once your up and running but you need to build that first so that might be something to try. PP also do evening workshops on single subjects which they publicise through our local primary schools.

I'd also approach your local radio station. You could do a parents' phone-in, that would be great publicity.

Competitions are also a good way of getting publicity and building a database for an email newsletter. Keeping regular contact with customers and prospective customers is very important.

If I can be of more help CAT me.

galen Thu 22-Oct-09 19:14:02

oh thanks all - great replies, lots of ideas to try out!
I was thinking of offering some free workshops to local nurseries /schools that is worth a try,
And will definitely make use of facebook/twitter etc..
Local paper and mags good idea too,
and also thought of trying surestart and/or homestart ....
OK best go and get on with some of those then LOL![grin

Corriewatcher Thu 22-Oct-09 20:02:32

Hi there

Great question, Galen. I'm just setting up my own online business too and have been investigating advertising. It is soo expensive. One thing I read on another site for mums setting up in business was that magazines don't expect you to pay the full rate price and expect you to negotiate a discount. Does anyone out there know if that is true?

purplepeony Thu 22-Oct-09 20:58:27

I'd say nurseries are your best bet- I went into parent coaching once, but then changed to something else.

A lot depends on what you are offering- is it 1:1 or workshops?

You can advertise on your local Netmums website - noticeboards- and the NCT mags are a good diea- but they do charge.

TheHAUNTEDHouseofMirth Thu 22-Oct-09 21:55:36

Corriewatcher never pay what's on a magazine ratecard, always negotiate. If you want to get a really, really good deal find out copy deadlines for your target publications, get your artwork ready then contact them suggesting you want to book an ad in the edition they'll be working on next. Chances are, they'll have some space left in the current issue and you'll negotiate a whopping discount because you'll be doing them a favour!

Corriewatcher Thu 22-Oct-09 22:29:20

Thanks very much, Haunted House. I shall definitely do what you suggest. You'll have saved me a lot of money!

MarketingConsultant Wed 28-Oct-09 18:30:42

Here are a few ideas:

- make sure your company/website is listed in all the free directories you can find - in particular, get listed on Google Local Business, and Thomson Local - there are about 25 "good" nationwide ones, and other local ones too

- Do GoogleAdwords - you only need to spend perhaps £10-15 a month and it will increase your visibility - make sure you do it within your geographical area if that is your target market

- Submit your website to Google and to Bing

- do some PR - write a press release about your company (must be newsworthy though) and submit to local papers, local business mags, other local target media

- networking - join your local Chambers of Commerce or one of the women's networking groups like Women in Business Network or Athena Network - or just search the web for free networking events in your area

- social media - add yourself to LinkedIn and join some relevant groups on there and get involved in discussions; add a Facebook page; start tweeting on Twitter; join Ecademy and Plaxo

Good luck!

nannynick Sat 07-Nov-09 13:39:52

Having taken a look at the website, I feel that needs some work, sorry. It seems to say things like "She is" rather than I. It says Parent Coaches, yet it's just you.

I feel you need to focus on it being just you, selling YOU, gives it the human touch which then local newspapers, magazines etc may then what to cover. The human interest story... why you do what you do, who do you help, how has it helped them.

Looking at your website, it took me a while to realise that it was Telephone / E-mail support, not face-to-face. The initial page above the fold (so before you scroll down the page) needs I feel to make it clear what is on offer, methods of access, why I need the service, why choose you. Above the fold currently I see two lines of text, an e-mail address and phone number, plus part of a picture.

If you compare that with my site you will see how much more information can be conveyed above the fold. My site isn't great, could do with a lot of work, it is always a work in progress.

atworknotworking Sat 07-Nov-09 21:51:54

Agree with Nick you are selling you as a professional, promote yourself, your personality, quals, achievements and be clear why you can help me the client be a better carer. You will find a knock on effect with advertising, you could do a local press release / interest angle from the perspective of a busy mum of 2, working from home helping other mums/dads with parenting skills.

Ask some people you have helped to put some testimonials up, and highlight snap shots of these and pop any associations or qualification / insurance details on as well memberships inspire confidence.

Just on the appearance of the site it doesnt seem to gell with me, the pics are modern whereas the text / typeface and background is from another decade, and makes my eyes go a bit wuzzy, putting your name / email addy on the top of each page makes the pages huge as they take a lot of space up and I kept thinking I'd already looked at that page IYSWIM. I always find a plain background with couple of key colours, used to maximum effect work best, Nicks is a good example of a well flowing site.

Its a good idea BTW and I think you could promote your service really well at NCT groups, and local Sure Starts would perhaps get you in for group chats etc.

Have you had a look at vista print, their webbys are really easy to manipulate, you could design one and wobble them about to give you some ideas, they have pre-set templates and then ones that you can totally change colours of etc, you can wobble about with them without buying, although I have one and I like the really cheap matching everything that you can get (and freebies) its good quality stuff and if you dont have thousands to spend on branding no one would ever know.

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