Promotion for Nothing, and the Clicks for Free

By: Chris Mahlmann Last Updated: October 22, 2009

At any business or networking event people are always excited to talk about their business.  Business owners front expenses to attend the events, investing their own and staff time to come along and spread the word as well.  They do this knowing that talking to strangers, or even people that you already know, face to face about business is not something that comes easily for most.  So why the heck do successful business people do it?


Because it has time and again proven itself as a technique that's great for business.  It would be dumb for their business not to, honestly.

Take a second though, and ask yourself if you and everyone else in your company brings that same mentality to every opportunity your business faces?
While the concept of something that gets you in front of the potential customer is a no-brainer to most successful business owners, something that does that for them that is new, different, or out of their current spectrum of thinking like electronic marketing however, is sometimes a whole different ballgame that has not yet etched itself into the heart of every business owner.  I am not talking about just one specific option mind you, though obviously I am biased, but the whole darn concept really, and I’ll give you an example of ours below.

The cool thing here is that many of the businesses that can benefit the most from online marketing are ones that are already successful, so anything they can do to grow their business through online tools is a bonus.  What they are doing is likely working well and often does not need to change a bit.  With these folks it is a matter of “what else” they can be doing.  For those that are struggling or weathering the economic winds but could use a bit of lift in the sail, online opportunities can provide a strong lift in an area with literally endless opportunity, and many times at very low to no cost.

So think about what you would do if an opportunity to market your business came along with zero cost, that happens almost immediately, and involves darn close to zero time on your part?  Basically anything that comes from the effort is a bonus right?  Who wouldn't want to do something great for their business without having to pay a dime or spend lot’s of time?

Ok, now imagine that someone walks (electronically) into your business and says

“Hey, how about we promote your business for free to the fastest growing online presence serving your primary customer base, and promote the same kind of offers that you are happy to run to bring in additional business, that you regularly print out in your store or run coupons for in other mediums”, and “here is what it takes on your part”….

“Send us via email your logo, and a sentence about what the coupon or special offer is such as “10% your next meal”, “20% all summer merchandise”, or “special price of X service……”, that we will use to make up the VL coupon with.  You are done.”

60+ businesses in Valpo have said “absolutely – let’s go, this is an immediate no-brainer” when we told them this is exactly how running a coupon or special offer works on ValpoLife.  That’s a good sign about the entrepreneurial spirit evident in the community.

More typically though to be honest, when someone on our team has called, an employee takes a message, says something along the lines of “let me talk to someone in the business about it and I/he/she will get back to you”, and that is that – never do we hear from them again.  Sometimes it is the owner or manager themselves and they are running, and don’t really have time to jot down anything other than the message.  My point is that someone took the message, but did not get the message so to speak.  

I use this example as a light hearted eye opener to anyone involved with helping promote the success of any business whether they are working for it, or they own it, or they are helping to manage it.

Are you really open to what many of the newer strategies for making your business successful can offer you?

valpolife_facebook What you do with your website, whether you put your contact info at the bottom of your email, whether you learn to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or whether you write a blog, sign up for a newsletter related to your business or your market, or whether you check out websites that have information that can help your business, embrace as many of the ways that you can connect to people electronically as you can.

You may think you are too old for it, or it is not your thing, or the way that you prefer to communicate.  Your customers or potential customers don’t really care though.  They are waiting for you to communicate with them.  And when someone offers you a free chance to do so, you would be wise to respond to the message and the medium.

Specifically about the coupon, it is literally that easy, it only takes a minute and it doesn't even hurt.  There’s no cost, no contract and no obligation to participate! All you do is send an e-mail to!  Include:
•    what you would like to offer the community (i.e: 10% off your next purchase, not valid with any other offer),
•    a logo image file to make your coupon visually appealing,
•    and an expiration date- the further away from today, the better so folks are actively seeing your coupon with the others they will be printing (or feel free to leave one off completely)!

Worried that you don't know where you saved that logo image file or don't have the time to dig for it?  Tell us, and give us the URL of your website and we can even pull your logo from your site! That's it!  You're done!

A link to our coupon page can be found on the homepage everyday and goes out in the weekly ValpoLife newsletter to over 3,500 community members!  We also regularly post a direct link to the coupons page to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for thousands of potential customers to see.  We make it easy through our Print Multiple Coupons Button for customers to select up to 10 area merchants and print them all out on one sheet to throw in the car, your purse, or stuff in your pocket before you head out of the house or the office.


We're looking forward to reading your offer and creating your ValpoLife coupon.