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Maybe you are just starting a new business, or maybe your already established a company. Either way, one important factor in the success of your business is advertising. There are many ways to advertise, but most of them are quite expensive. Here are some ideas for ways to advertise your business without spending a lot of money.

1. Put up flyers in various shops

We are focusing on advertising to expats, so I can’t advise on Japanese oriented shops, however there are several places frequented by expats where you can place your flyers. There is:

  • Nissin Delicatessen – Nissin in Azabujuban will let you place a flyer on their noticeboard for free for one week.
  • The National Azabu – If you pay 10,000 yen, you can place a flyer in their shop for one month.
  • English language churches – If you have a service/business that will help the community, you may be able to talk to a church (eg Tokyo Union Church) and ask them to allow you to advertise there. (We have not tried this so cannot guarantee)

2. Advertise on social media

There are several useful Facebook groups where you can advertise your business.

  • Tokyo Expat Network and Yokohama Expat Network both have a set time every month where it is allowed to post advertisements.
  • Yokota Eats and Travels group is a group filled with many foreigners living on the military bases and you can post recommendations there (do not spam).
  • Look for specialty groups, like if you own a food business, post on the Gaijin Eats in Japan Group. If you can’t find a group, ask on the Tokyo Expat Network if anyone knows of a group for xxx.

3. Organise cheap or free events that relate to your business

For example, as a travel company, we might join Meetup.com and create a tour event for a nominal cost, say 1000 yen per person. That would allow us to introduce our company to a new audience. If you are running a crafts and accessories business, you might organize a “jewelry making session for kids”, sold at a cheap fee in order to introduce your business to the parents. Think about what would work for you.

4. Networking is key

The expat community is surprisingly interwoven and the more personal recommendations you can get, the better. You need to think about how you can network in the right circles – who is your target? Where can you meet them? Young people with money to burn – maybe you join a gym such as Club 360. If families are your target, you need to be mingling with other parents – go to events for children, get chatting in the playground. If people like what you have to offer, they will recommend you to their friends. Also consider joining events, for example the 20 different artists and craftspeople participated in the Best Living Japan Artisan Fair which provided them a good chance to network, plus about 250 guests.

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