I Need Free Offline Advertising Ideas

by July29 Banned
41 replies
I need help coming up with some free and/or very low cost advertising ideas for my offline business.

I have a great Ad that I believe will generate a lot of leads for me, but I'm having trouble getting exposure to the Ad. I placed it on Craigslist in the Small Biz Ads, but haven't had any response (because I assume not too many business owners are searching through those ads looking for something to buy.)

I've also placed an Ebay classified Ad and an Ad on Kijiji. I'm also going to print some flyers of the Ad and place them inside some local businesses - grocery stores, library, etc.

But I desperately need more ideas. I want to put the Ad in the paper but that's going to cost me $400 that I don't have. If I can just get business owners to see the Ad, I have no doubt that they will contact me.

Any ideas? My target market for this particular campaign is a small business owner who does not yet have a website. Direct mail is a possibility, but it's hard to sort out the businesses that don't have websites.

Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.
#advertising #cash cow #free #ideas #offline
  • Profile picture of the author Marcus Paul
    Use the local yellow pages to find businesses that spend money on advertising. Then check to see if they have websites or not. Make a list of those you will target and their names and addresses and send them a letter. Be creative on how to get them to OPEN it. There are different threads on this forum about marketing to offline businesses. Do a search for "offline"

    Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author mookinman
    Buy a load of cheap envelopes, put your ad in the envelopes, write "To the business owner/manager" on the envelope, and deliver them by hand to every business in your local area. The envelopes will get opened, but your ad will only get acted upon if it's good.
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    Thanks, guys. Very good ideas. And I have read some of the threads about "lumpy" mail and other techniques to get your letter opened. Just wasn't sure how to make a list of who to send them to.

    Thanks for the tips.

    Has anybody ever had experience dropping off letters to businesses, rather than mailing them? For example, going to the business at night and sliding the letter under the door? Would that be effective, legal, etc?

    Thanks, again.
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    • Profile picture of the author JustaWizard
      Your absolute best form of free offline advertising is - and take it from me, I literally wrote the book(s) on this topic (it's true) - seminars and public speaking.

      The warmest, most friendly calls you will ever make will be to local clubs, associations, and organizations offering to speak for free. Those are your free offline advertising/marketing venues, and the best ones you'll ever find.

      Go meet business owners and pass out postcard or 1-page flyers inviting them to your upcoming seminar (charge a few bucks rather than free), book a room, and deliver value then a sales pitch at the end for your services/products.

      You can easily combine the above 2 approaches - e.g., speak to sell tickets to your upcoming seminar.

      David Portney,
      The Public Speaking Training & Seminar Expert (if not The Wizard!)
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      • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
        Nah, seminars and public speaking take a back seat to press releases...

        If your press release gets picked up by a local newspaper or magazine and you get coverage by a reporter and photographer then look out

        Instead of just lecturing to a select group of people you will get exposure to maybe 10,000+ people or more all at the same time and...

        You just might get more long-term business then you can handle


        Originally Posted by JustaWizard View Post

        Your absolute best form of free offline advertising is - and take it from me, I literally wrote the book(s) on this topic (it's true) - seminars and public speaking.


        David Portney,
        The Public Speaking Training & Seminar Expert (if not The Wizard!)
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        • Profile picture of the author webmate
          Any chance you could let us know which WSO the Ad came from ?

          Good luck with it.

          Thanks.
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          • Profile picture of the author July29
            Banned
            Originally Posted by webmate View Post

            Any chance you could let us know which WSO the Ad came from ?

            Good luck with it.

            Thanks.
            Yes, it came from Michael Silverter's WSO, titled "Offline Gold on Steroids - Make Thousands Without Leaving Home"

            It's only $7 and it's awesome.
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    • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
      Originally Posted by July29 View Post

      For example, going to the business at night and sliding the letter under the door? Would that be effective, legal, etc?
      Any reason you don't go to the business during the day and actually go inside?

      If you dont' feel you can, then find a friend who can and pay him a commission.

      I'm getting ready to make a major change to my 'offline' business, and I decided I needed a dedicated sales rep to take the business to the level that I want. I had a friend who had a lot experience going into businesses and selling services, and basicly made him my sales rep. We each will do what we are best at..
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      -Jason

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  • Profile picture of the author Inbound
    Yes, flyers work very well. Just be sure the first few line of the advertisement is short and to the point.

    Inbound
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    Yep, the flyer itself is awesome. I'm not worried about their reaction to the flyer...I know they'll love it and rush to the phone to call me.

    I'm just struggling to come up with free/cheap ideas to get the flyer in front of them. I think I'll post the flyer and drop some off to businesses during the day. And I'm looking into some of the other ideas above.

    Any other creative suggestions are still very welcome! The more, the better!

    Thank you all so much for your help! You have no idea how much your ideas are appreciated!
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    Go to the local watering hole where all he business men and women in the area go for lunch and coffee.

    Offer your service for free to the owner in exchange for a strategically placed sign. For instance if you build sites. "July29 built my site www . ??? You should use his service too!"

    This can be hanging on a wall or setting on the counter or you can even get more creative and print the paper menus for free and get a plug there.

    George Wright
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    George,

    Thanks for the idea. I like it. I'll be giving that a try tomorrow!
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Kim
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    • Profile picture of the author July29
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Justin Kim View Post

      Heres a great idea. You can go to your local pizza place and pay them $50 to add your flyer to every delivery
      See, this is why I love the WarriorForum. Where else can you find creative ideas like this?!
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    • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
      Originally Posted by Justin Kim View Post

      Heres a great idea. You can go to your local pizza place and pay them $50 to add your flyer to every delivery
      Or even better yet...do an ad swap for free where you promote their pizza place on your website and they promote your flyers for free for 1 month!

      Cheers,

      Chris Negro
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    • Profile picture of the author w123
      Originally Posted by Justin Kim View Post

      Heres a great idea. You can go to your local pizza place and pay them $50 to add your flyer to every delivery

      Variation of this idea:

      Build the pizza joint a quick 1 page site, for free, (or severely discounted) in exchange for delivering your flyers. At the bottom of the page, make sure you include an active link "website built by (you)" that links back to your own sales site, assuming you have one.

      1. it gives you a free backlink.
      2. it helps your local biz, and most likely, they will promote their new site.
      3. people will see your link (biz owners eat pizza, too!).
      4. you'll get your flyers delivered.
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      • Profile picture of the author a2dsilva
        Do a search on the forum for "vomit bag". I think it is a brillant idea and will get you good results if you take the time to gather a list of local businesses that you can send it to.

        You can also use the same idea above and do an Endorsed mailing with say your Accountant, Office Supply store etc.. Basically they send it out to their clients on your behalf.

        I recently did this with a client who has a Real Estate investors club in Canada and I only had the opportunity to add 5 lines of text in the monthly newsletter. Went out to about 2000 ppl and i've got about a .5% response rate. That's because only a small percentage of the list actually do Real estate as a business. To me that was a successful mailing.

        I'm just going to repeat the offer.
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  • Profile picture of the author Sandi Valentine
    Check with your library. They often offer programming and free classes - I spoke last week on Internet Marketing for small businesses. 45 minute presentation using some PLR material - walked them through how to set up on Google maps

    Walked out with a website deal and $2,000 worth of accounting services from a local CPA - not bad for an hour of preparation and an hour's worth of work.

    The librarians were thrilled, as well. We had six people attend, and they said this was their biggest turnout in four months and want me to come back once a month to speak.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marcus Paul
    This one I hate to tell other people, but the forum has been good to me so here goes:

    I have about 15 colleges in my area. I go to the college job boards (or campus internship program) and offer internships for marketing. The interns who apply need to be able to go to area small businesses and conduct a 3-question survey:

    "I am a local college student conducting a marketing survey. Would you mind answering 3 questions for me about marketing?

    1 - Can you list three ways you advertise?
    2 - Do you have a website?
    3 - Would you be interested in learning how to get more buyers to your website?"

    After the survey (where they have written down the responses) they hand the owner a flyer which describes the services I provide and has the INTERNS name and email address on it. It is not written as a sales piece, but provides some basic information on internet marketing to pique their interest. Every email the intern receives and forwards to me earns them $10. If it turns into a sale I give them 5% of the sale.

    The last time I did this I had 5 interns (all friends of each other) who canvassed about 45 businesses in a day. They forwarded me 13 emails over the course of two weeks. This resulted in 9 appointments. I have signed 4 of those sales, and have 3 with which I am still in discussions.

    You have to make sure that you obey the local labor laws even though it is an internship. Also, make sure to make it clear it IS NOT for college credit, unless you can get the college to recognize it as such (I doubt you will.)

    Note: This was made easier because a friend of mine is a business and marketing professor at one of the schools, which gave me the idea.

    Good luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author jasonl70
      Originally Posted by Marcus Paul View Post

      This one I hate to tell other people, but the forum has been good to me so here goes:

      I have about 15 colleges in my area. I go to the college job boards (or campus internship program) and offer internships for marketing. The interns who apply need to be able to go to area small businesses and conduct a 3-question survey:

      "I am a local college student conducting a marketing survey. Would you mind answering 3 questions for me about marketing?

      1 - Can you list three ways you advertise?
      2 - Do you have a website?
      3 - Would you be interested in learning how to get more buyers to your website?"

      After the survey (where they have written down the responses) they hand the owner a flyer which describes the services I provide and has the INTERNS name and email address on it. It is not written as a sales piece, but provides some basic information on internet marketing to pique their interest. Every email the intern receives and forwards to me earns them $10. If it turns into a sale I give them 5% of the sale.

      The last time I did this I had 5 interns (all friends of each other) who canvassed about 45 businesses in a day. They forwarded me 13 emails over the course of two weeks. This resulted in 9 appointments. I have signed 4 of those sales, and have 3 with which I am still in discussions.

      You have to make sure that you obey the local labor laws even though it is an internship. Also, make sure to make it clear it IS NOT for college credit, unless you can get the college to recognize it as such (I doubt you will.)

      Note: This was made easier because a friend of mine is a business and marketing professor at one of the schools, which gave me the idea.

      Good luck.
      what a great idea! gives something to brainstorm on tonight
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      -Jason

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  • Profile picture of the author Sandi Valentine
    Check with your library. They often offer programming and free classes - I spoke last week on Internet Marketing for small businesses. 45 minute presentation using some PLR material - walked them through how to set up on Google maps

    Walked out with a website deal and $2,000 worth of accounting services from a local CPA - not bad for an hour of preparation and an hour's worth of work.

    The librarians were thrilled, as well. We had six people attend, and they said this was their biggest turnout in four months and want me to come back once a month to speak. I'm going to use this opportunity to build an email list of local potential clients and promote a paid seminar I'll be doing in April.
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  • Profile picture of the author happyslob
    I know it's already been mentioned, but the local phone book is a WEALTH of information for anyone looking to create websites or creative content for business owners. And, since they're local business owners, they often like the fact that they're dealing with someone in the same city or town.

    let us know how it goes!
    Christina
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    These are all amazing ideas.

    Jason,

    I am considering going into some businesses during the day. I do obtain offline clients in a variety of ways, including cold calling, walking into a business, etc.

    But, recently I bought an offline-related WSO. Included with it was this Ad. I think the Ad is amazing and speaks for itself. So, I wanted to put it to the test. I am more than able to just go start talking to some business owners, but I guess I just wanted to see if I could get this Ad to generate a few clients for me. But I don't want to spend a lot of money to test this Ad out, which is why I'm brainstorming some free/cheap ideas.

    Anyway, I appreciate the ideas from everyone. I'm not very creative myself, but many of you guys are extremely creative with your ideas. It's great to be able to pick your minds!
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    Good call, Chris. That's even better! I love not spending money...

    Also, thank you to Chris for some of your other ideas that I've gotten from your videos and newsletter. Seriously, anyone who hasn't checked out Chris' free offline consulting videos should do so now. Good information and the price is right!
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    • Profile picture of the author chrisnegro
      Originally Posted by July29 View Post

      Good call, Chris. That's even better! I love not spending money...

      Also, thank you to Chris for some of your other ideas that I've gotten from your videos and newsletter. Seriously, anyone who hasn't checked out Chris' free offline consulting videos should do so now. Good information and the price is right!
      Thanks July29 for the vote of confidence...although my goal is to give a quality video a month, in the FREE WSO I do give 2 free videos off the bat and explain how I generated $1500 in my first sponsorship. The best part is will be reoccuring EVERY year.

      Sincerely,

      Chris Negro
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  • Profile picture of the author mikeb209
    Get a pack of sticky notes, get a black felt tip marker, write down your details and start sticking. Place them everywhere you go: Gas station,bathroom,restaurant, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joshua McCoy
    Man, so many great ideas for offline stuff! You guys are really getting me to think outside the box (the box being my computer)
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    Yep, the people in this forum have amazing ideas. I'm putting into use many of the thins discussed here today...things that I never would have thought of without the help of these warriors. I will let you guys know what ends up being successful and what doesn't...

    Thanks, again!
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  • Profile picture of the author onpointinfo
    Hey there a few questions:

    1) What are you willing to do to generate leads offline some great ideas were presented but not sure of those which are you comfortable doing and not

    2) What are your strengths or specialties in your offline business

    3) Do you have a portfolio of sites already done or just getting started

    4) Any existing customers you can get a testimonial from

    5) How many ways are you marketing and promoting and yourself 1-2-3 ways how many and which of those ways got any responses and if so how many...

    6) What has worked and has not worked

    7) Do you have a offline marketing plan on paper that you follow if so I wish to see it if not too much trouble



    *********************************************
    Note:
    I need for you to pm me a copy of your flyer or any ads you have run or are running and the responses for any of your marketing methods.

    There is a possible reason that the problem is not so much your marketing as it is the sales copy ...your sales message on the ad or flyer.

    I will take a look at for your flyer at no charge just remember when you hit the lottery and just make me your private driver ..ok...lol

    I will review your sales copy and send it back to you as an attachment to your email account so you can print it out and then we will take it from there since I am working in the blind and cannot make any comments till I see your sales message on the flyer..

    Strong possibility one of your major problems is your advertising copy or your sales message among other possible you things you may not be doing I will try to detect what possibly could be why your marketing is not working.

    **********************************************
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  • Profile picture of the author July29
    Banned
    Onpointinfo,

    While I appreciate your input, my inquiry is not in regards to my sales copy. I'm very confident with my flyer/ad.

    I don't have any "major problems" at all, in fact. I don't want to send you my sales copy so that you can send it back to me or give you my portfolio or give you my marketing plan on paper.

    This thread is not about "why your marketing is not working." It's simply a thread to generate unique ideas and mediums to go about advertising my flyer that myself and others may not have thought of before. Thanks anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author onpointinfo
      July29....

      My approach in helping you was to try to identify 1st why you are not getting responses online since it does not mean they are not seeing your ad online as you think.

      I first looked at what may be the problem why no one is responding, I do not claim to know unless I do an analysis of what the problem may be.

      I approach things from a consultative approach. My questions and probing was not to put you on the spot, but to help you identify what could be the reason why no one is responding from all the different places you have placed your ad on the internet and mind me you placed them on highly traffic sites, but still not sure what the problem is and you could be right it may be just simply they are not seeing your ad online, but once again could be a host of different reasons why they are not seeing it or responding to it if they are seeing it, how do you know they are not seeing your ad without some form of tracking in place, but not easily done as far as I know on those places you placed your ads online if there is a way to track who is viewing your ad...!!!

      My strength may not be in online marketing..., but offline marketing happens to be my strength

      I am not saying that anything is wrong with your ad, but how do you really know there is nothing wrong, unless you already did some testing against some form of control and found a proven winner ad that actually spells "WINNER".

      July29, the next step was ideas after my analysis of what could be the reason for no responses online, and as far as offline I was also going to suggest ideas based on your openness to my consultative approach to my questioning and probing.

      My apologies if by any chance i offended you, this was not the intent but what I would do for any brick and mortar business owner if I was to step in and conduct a analysis of their needs, problems, existing marketing, I do not start backwards without knowing first what the business owner may be doing wrong or may not be doing, then and only then do I start presenting ideas and suggestions on how to generate leads.

      My approach was meant to maximize any help I could provide to you, but I will once again respectfully step back as you do not want my type of consultative approach to helping you.

      july29 there is nothing to lose by providing your ad, and possibly something to lose by not doing so...food for thought.........................

      take care...
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      • Profile picture of the author July29
        Banned
        onpointinfo,

        I do appreciate your offer to help. I appreciate everyone on this forum, specifically on this thread, who have offered their ideas and assistance to me.

        I apologize for being rude. It's just that - my question was in regards to advertising ideas. And lots of people gave lots of great ideas. Then you come in asking me to give you the ad, give my you my marketing plan, show you my portfolio, etc.

        I don't want to give out the Ad because it was from another Warrior. He provides it as a part of his WSO so it's not mine to share. I like his sales copy a lot, I just wanted to see if there were any offline advertising methods out there that I had not yet thought of yet.

        I do appreciate your input, though. It's definitely good to have the consultative mindset, especially in this business. And it sounds like you are doing very well at it. So, keep up the good work!
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  • Profile picture of the author mmpieri
    You can pass few flyers to pubs around the area, local corner shops, by word of mouth and other social gathering. Personally I use seminar to get my business noticed.

    MM
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Brown
    Check posts from David Preston. He has some dynamite ideas. Everything that will work will cost you time or money or both. Offering to do a 1 hour free seminar to local civic groups, Kawanis, Jaycees, Elks, Moose, Etc can easily get you in front of the right audience.
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    • Profile picture of the author mlandmark
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      • Profile picture of the author Don Alm
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        • Profile picture of the author July29
          Banned
          Originally Posted by Don Alm View Post

          1) Put together a booklet called; "14 Ways To Boost Your Business with a Website!"
          2) Get a Voice Mail number (mine costs me $10/mo)
          Place a 2 minute recording giving the resaons why those listening to the recording should leave their name and mailing address at the end of the message...to get your Free Booklet
          3) Send Giant Postcards, 8 1/2 wide by 5 1/2 high saying; "Free Recording Reveals 14 Ways to Boost your Business with a Website. Call...555-1234 x 123 anytime!"

          I've been using this marketing method since 1985 when I first learned of it from the "Master Marketer", Gary Halbert.

          I've found that prospects will STILL dial up a Phone No. and listen to a recorded message.

          Your booklet then gives Reasons Why they need a Website and How it can generate income for them.

          You can also include some samples of your website work.

          Don Alm
          I recently purchased a WSO...it's the one where I got this Ad from that I'm using. He actually suggests in that WSO to set up a recording. I guess it's a good way to get people to call knowing their isn't a salesman waiting on the other end.

          Do you mind sharing what service you use for your voicemail?

          Thanks!
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      • Profile picture of the author July29
        Banned
        Originally Posted by mlandmark View Post

        I know you are looking for no-cost/low-cost ways and there have been some great ones mentioned already but I just wanted say advertising in your local newspapers,magazines or even on radio can be pretty cheap.

        I used to work for a newspaper and a lot of times (especially now-a-days) they have unsold space (or remnant space) that they would rather sell for something rather than get nothing. Can't guarantee anything but it wouldn't hurt to call around and ask them if they have unsold space that is inexpensive or tell them if any becomes available give you a call and (some advice) don't forget to negotiate with them on price, never pay what they ask.
        Good advice. I've just checked into the local paper's pricing via their website. Which, the cheapest ad space was shown at about $400. I never thought of trying to call and negotiating the price with them. I just assumed their was enough demand that they wouldn't be flexible on pricing. But, I guess you never know until you give em a call and ask.

        If I could get them to cut the price in half, I'd have no problems. I'm just scared to spend $400 on something that I feel might not be effective. I'd hate to spend $400 and get no results. I guess I feel that way because I don't read the paper - but apparently, a lot of people do.

        As long as it works, I'd be happy to spend the $400. I just don't know if it works yet. Like I read somewhere else, it's not the cost of advertising - it's the return on investment!
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    • Profile picture of the author July29
      Banned
      Originally Posted by eaglewingmd View Post

      Check posts from David Preston. He has some dynamite ideas. Everything that will work will cost you time or money or both. Offering to do a 1 hour free seminar to local civic groups, Kawanis, Jaycees, Elks, Moose, Etc can easily get you in front of the right audience.
      I am getting ready to do a seminar next month. Hopefully several. In the seminar, I'll be targeting all local businesses - those with and without businesses. I haven't done a seminar yet, but I think it will be a great way to get noticed.

      I'm going to keep it low cost (low enough to get people to sign up, but high enough to establish a value). And then just offer lots of free advice, focusing on the backend sales.

      Anybody have any suggestions on what you charge for seminars? Or do you generally do them for free?
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  • Profile picture of the author nhowie333
    Without knowing the specifics - Joint ventures, speaking engagements, and public challenges to get get media attention. These are all free and can get a lot of exposure.
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  • Profile picture of the author Micheal Perkins
    I just sent out some mailings today using a sales letter David Preston revealed in one of his posts. The letter is short and to the point. I got my list from the Chamber of Commerce website and the yellow pages.

    The COC website listed the names of the owners of the businesses I targeted, Apartment buildings and Restaurants. I got a few that way. I wanted more so I went to the phone book and looked at local restaurants and then googled them looking for websites.

    I bought 50 envelopes for $5, and stamps for just under $20. I got a confidential stamp from Staples for $6.

    Hoping to get at least one job from that, but would like to see at least 5 come in. I'm going to wait 1 to 2 weeks and then stop into any business I do not get a call from and ask to speak with the owner or manager and go from there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pat Ordenes
    stickers are a great way...
    small one you can place on traffic poles, etc...
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  • Profile picture of the author twannahiga
    Thank you for the great post Marcus! I never thought of it in that way before, it seems like a great way to target new businesses! Thanks!
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