Don't get caught up in technology when marketing your business.

Websites, email, and social media are convenient and can allow you to respond instantly to changing market conditions. However, the cost of some of these options can add up when you factor in the cost of technology services to track and analyze results. If you don't have it in your budget to add the bells and whistles, relying exclusively on bits and bytes to get your message across could find you barking up the wrong tree. So until you have the budget, get out there and pound the pavement - get to know your customers and their needs. One of the best way to do this is good old-fashioned face-to-face marketing. Marketing is, above all, about creating personal relationships with your customers, so get personal.

Consider implementing just one of these 4 face-to-face marketing strategies:

1. Join a professional group.

To maximize your face-to-face marketing time, you want to build trust with as many potential clients as possible in the shortest period of time. A group allows that to happen. Look for an organization that consists of members who can be your clients. For example, if you're a dog groomer, join a group devoted to miniature poodles. Attend meetings regularly and say “hello” to everyone. To jump-start your introduction, offer to give a presentation or two on a subject dear to the members' hearts. You'll be seen as an authority whom everyone can turn to if they have questions.

2. Sponsor a school activity or local charity event.

It's true that your local fifth-grader is going to have neither the authority nor the cash to use your business. But her parents can be likely clients. So jump at any chance to throw a bone to the local school by sponsoring their sports teams or fundraisers. Find a reputable charity to donate to that is dear to your heart and it will expose your business to potential customers. Depending on your donation level, you could have opportunities for your business to be seen in print, online and in person at the event. Oh, and don't forget to attend the event!

3. Volunteer or sit on a board.

It generally only requires attending a meeting every month or less, plus helping to organize or run events. You'll not only help to change your community for the better, but will meet and get to know other decision-makers. If they need the product or service that your business provides, they'll contact you first because they already know you.

4. Give the grand prize.

Offer to donate the grand prize, preferably in a contest or event that receives maximum publicity, such as a local marathon or a pie contest at the county fair. Don't limit yourself to the goods and service your company provide. Cash is always a good choice and so is merchandise related to the theme of the contest, such as new running shoes for the marathon. As the top prize giver, you can advertise using the banner for the school activity at the award venue. In addition, the picture in the paper can feature you giving the prize to the lucky individual while standing in front of your ad.

Have a Pawsitively Tail Waggin' Good Day!

P.S. This information was provided by Ruff Haus - Your Loyal Marketing Companion. Established in 1997, we are a special breed of brand design company that works with a premier pack of clients. We bring a fresh outlook and tail-wagging enthusiasm to your marketing program.