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FORTUNE Small Business:

How can I market on a shoestring?

Don't worry about your empty pockets - there are cheap ways to get the word out, says FSB expert David Rippe.

By David Rippe
Founder, Celestia International

(FSB Online) -- Dear FSB: I own a small health and safety company, which I am financing on a tight budget. What is the best way to market our services in the local metro area (Columbus, Ga.) without breaking the bank?

- Christopher William Dennis, president and director of safety, LIFEworks CPR, Phenix City, Ala.

Dear Christopher: Some of the best marketing techniques won't cost you much. For instance, by attending local Chamber of Commerce meetings and health- and safety-related events in your area, you will be able to introduce yourself to potential clients. You can ask those who have used your services for testimonials to use in any marketing materials you hand out and publish on your website.

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And you can contact local media, from TV stations to newspapers, with ideas for coverage they can do on your company. Given the life-saving field you are in, you probably have some exciting stories to share.

If you have any money to invest in a direct marketing campaign, consider sending out a well-written cover letter with a brochure to possible clients. (For ideas on how to do this, see Seven smart ways to find new customers). Then follow up with a phone call. Giving your clients a ring after doing your mailing can boost your deal-closing rates exponentially. Top of page

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