The most difficult thing about starting up your new business is finding the clients. In the following pages I will show you ways to do exactly that. After reading the book you will be more confident about how to approach marketing your business. If you are capable of adopting even just quarter of the suggestions, your business will receive a great deal of exposure and many clients will come to do business with you.
Some of the suggestions are suitable for start up businesses that may be on a very tight budget and some are more suited for the more established or larger business. In either case there is enough material here to suggest new tactics as your business expands. Think carefully to whom you are selling before choosing your approach. Your tactics will need to vary according to the nature of your customers. Consumers will be open to some marketing methods which just wouldn’t work for the business owner and the consumer would be at a loss to know what you want from him if you approached him in a manner that you might approach a business owner.
See what works for you, see what you feel comfortable with, use creativity and adapt the various suggestions to fit your situation.
Congratulations on you first concrete step to putting your business on the road to success.
1. Be in the right place
So many businesses offer the same service or product. To sell successfully you need to offer a visually different service. You could be more exclusive, be more approachable or you could be more expert in your approach. You could work for certain, specialized market sectors or you could offer different pricing structures from your competition. Be different.
Timing is all important in any marketing business. To know when something will be in trend is a skill that all successful businesses must develop. More often than not, trends are determined at least a year before the actual time that they appear on the market. Keep up on literature in your chosen field so that you will not be caught unprepared. In saying that, some products always have a demand, such as musical instruments, camping gear, western fashion or biker’s clothes.
The marketing creed is to have ‘the right product in the right place at the right time’. To have the right product (or service) is the single most important factor of your business success. Remember, as much as you may be in favour of a certain concept, it has to sell or your business will fail. It is always wise to do research before you decide if your product or service is right for your business. Do surveys; ask the general public if they have use for what you are offering and if they would buy it if it was on offer.
Get quality business cards printed. Be creative but not kitsch. Business cards can come in classical format or in the shape of mini pamphlets that carry more information about your service. If tastefully done, they can be very effective. Hand them out at every opportunity. Stick a few on supermarket notice boards and other places where people look for what’s on offer.
5. Print postcards
Put an attractive graphic message on one side and text on the reverse side. Post these through letter boxes of homes and businesses. People keep them longer than flyers.
6. Contact everybody you have ever known
Write a letter to all your contacts and tell them about your business. Send it on quality paper with an attractive letterhead. Ask them to refer people to you or to pass the letter on to others who may be interested in the service.
7. Seek to meet people at every opportunity
Join local business forums and entrepreneur clubs. You will be invited to present your service and the motto of these clubs is to help each other by pooling contacts. Go to all sorts of venues and introduce yourself and hand out your cards, if appropriate to do so. See where the people to who you want to sell go and go there also.
8. Offer rewards.
Offer rewards to people who bring you business. A free session can be one good type of reward or alternatively, you could give a small commission or a free gift.
9. Ask Reps for advice
Company reps and suppliers collect a lot of knowledge about the market in which they work. Ask them what mistakes you are making, how to improve your service and ask them how your competitors succeed. If you need second hand equipment they often know of people who want to sell.
10. Go on fact finding trips
Some local authority organisations have fact finding trips to successful start up businesses. Much can be learned from these trips. They are also an opportunity for you to make contacts and hand out written material. Failing this you can head out on your own and find an opportunity to chat with the business owners. Often they will be very open if you approach them in a proper manner.
The Internet can be a very useful tool for small business owners because it gives people who use the web a chance to see that you are open for business and it also tells them where you are.
11. Have a web site made
Have an attractive and informative web site designed. Advertise it on and off the web. It will bring clients to your door.
Most search engines allow you to add your URL or you can buy programs to do this for you. Choose your key words carefully because they will direct the traffic to your site accurately if you get it right.
13. Write an e-book
Write an e-book about something that is connected to the subject in which you work. Distribute it for free. Be sure to mention your service somewhere in the book.
14. Write a monthly bulletin
You have to be able to write well in order to do this. Encourage the visitors to your Web Site to sign up for it. You can include a small add somewhere in it. Keep pumping them up on the advantages to your services but do it tactfully. To have a newsletter circulating you will need to sign up for an auto responder. There are some good ones on the web that you can use for free.
15. Buy pay per the click advertising
Pay buy the click advertising is a very effective way of ensuring that you are paying for a service that brings people to your site and charges you only for those who actually open and look at the site. You will be guaranteed a proportion of these as sales. (Some estimates suggest a ratio of 1:100).
16. Don’t miss an opportunity to give a free talk
Whether you are given the opportunity to talk or organize a talk on your own, advertise the fact that you will be talking as aggressively as possible. Plan what you are going to say carefully and practice a few times beforehand. Research your subject and your host thoroughly. Allow people to ask questions. Prepare yourself beforehand by making a list of what people might ask. Use the occasion to hand out written information and to take contact details of people who show interest in your services. Giving a free gift with your logo on it can warm people up to your business. (A free pen or similar gift is sufficient).
17. Organisations often need speakers!
Write to local organisations and offer them your services as a speaker. Most organisations are short of speakers. Adjust your style to their needs and make sure that all those who attend take away written material.
18. Host a party
Host a party from time to time. Have a relevant theme for the party to indicate what service you give. Make sure that there are plenty of fun activities to keep interest high. Hand out information packages with a free gift inside. Give the participants a brief talk about why you invited them to come and outline what you do. (Maximum 2 minutes). Competitions make for good activity. Ask the press to attend.
19. Get in touch with a local authority business advisor
Most local authorities provide services for entrepreneurs. Make an appointment and ask how you can attract more business and what they can do to help you achieve this.
20. Advertise in your local area
Often the area in which you live is the best place to advertise. Make use of community publications, notice boards, and parish web sites.
21. Go to religious services
By going to religious services, you have a unique opportunity to have yourself introduced to people who you might not have known before. Also, the minister may become quite active in singing your praises and recommending you to his congregation.
22. Put a card in shop windows
Sometimes something as simple as placing a postcard in a shop window may prove to be very beneficial and cost very little. Some shops give this service free because the notices bring people to the shop.
23. Local radio stations
Ask you local radio station about the cost of advertising. It may be cheaper than you think to advertise with them and they will produce the add content for you. When you develop a relationship with them you may even suggest hosting a weekly corner in which you talk a little about your area of concern and answer listener questions about the topic.
24. Advertising in the Yellow pages.
The yellow pages can refer a lot of business to you. Here your ad does not have to be big to be effective.
25. Advertise constantly
It is better to advertise consistently than to have occasional advertising drives. Look for the long term opportunities and avoid paying money for publications that are not in the public eye. (Free ads newspapers or yellow pages can be good options).
26. Have a press release put in you local paper
This is especially important when you first open for business but you should also take advantage of this possibility of doing this on an ongoing basis whenever you consider that you have any newsworthy information. Include a picture in the article if you can. Some newspapers may not even charge you if they think your story has a lot of public interest potential.
27. Offer to write a weekly column.
You could offer to write a weekly column free of charge in the local press. Use it to answer reader’s questions and diplomatically refer them to your business.
28. Offer a Prize to your readers
You could stage a competition for your readers. Offer them a prize for winning the competition such as free services.
29) Give to a charity.
By giving to a charity you have a unique opportunity to create press interest. Make sure that they are informed about your contribution indirectly. Once contacted, agree sheepishly to be interviewed.
30) Write a feature article in a magazine.
Read magazines and offer to write about some aspect of your business and look for flaws in information presented by them in previous articles. Offer to write an article about something that interests you and about which you have knowledge in which you give objective and correct information on the subject in question. Write briefly on how you approach your business.
31) Be a guest expert.
Offer your services to a local radio station, in which they direct questions to you on specific subjects. Ask to see the questions beforehand, if possible, so that you can prepare your answers and not be caught in the lurch.
32) Do opinion polls.
By doing opinion polls you create a headline opportunity in which you can demonstrate public trends, preferences and concerns. Send your results to the press and include a tactful indication that your business can offer solutions to public concerns.
By forecasting what may happen in the period ahead with regards to trends, you can again create a headline opportunity for your business.
You may offer a warning about something in the area in which you provide a service. You can state how people might be affected and how they might avoid the dangers. You might also, add in your article what legislation could be implemented to protect the public’s interests.
35) Private homes.
Drop a flyer in letter boxes in your local area. This needs to be done regularly. Note which areas which have produced better effective results.
If your local newsagent delivers you may ask him how much it would cost to have a leaflet put inside the papers and magazines. This makes it look like the leaflet was supposed to be there and will cause more people to look at it.
37) Post office.
Many postal delivery services have a service whereby you can have leaflets delivered by postmen.
You can direct deliveries to target areas and you will usually be charged per thousand delivered. This can be a good option if your time is very limited.
38) Mail directly
You can find mailing lists in trade directories, yellow pages or white pages directories.
Trade shows and exhibitions
39) Rent a stand
By taking a stand you will be able to talk to many people about your services get feed back and take contact details.
40) Circulate at trade shows
Have a small fold up type card made. (Max. postcard size folded) Find opportunities to talk to people and exchange cards. Here you do not need to rent a stand and you may even get business from the stand owners. You can even catch people on their way out of the exhibition. That way you will be the last thing they remember.
41) Special offers.
Promote special offers where you offer attractive deals such as half price deals for limited periods and ‘buy one get one free’ type deals.
42) Make it easy to buy
Minimize customer risk, offer trial periods, attractive guarantees and such like.
43) Limit offers
Have clear time limits on offers. This helps focus customers on a decision.
44) Have inexpensive gifts made up with your logo, telephone number and URL on them. Distribute them widely.
45) Give free reports.
Offer free reports on some aspect of your work. This will help establish you as an expert in your field.
46) Direct marketing
By selling directly to the customer face to face, although this is probably the hardest form of marketing to master, is without rival for its results. Get someone you know to set up interviews for you. Once you have been invited to someone’s home or business you can be sure that there is a high level of interest in the product. The rest is up to your personal charm. Just sell yourself.
If you have a good product it will sell itself.
Join up with other businesses
47) Work in conjunction with other companies or organisations that complement each other.
Make sure that they do not compete with you if they are in the same area. Figure out how the partnership will be mutually beneficial.
48) Make sure that you are listed in all relevant directories locally, on the Internet and in trade/service directories.
49) Offer credit terms or payment by installments
Make sure you accept all the relevant credit and debit cards. If you work on the web, get connected with on-line service suppliers like pay pal, pay storm and/or click bank.
50) Reply to unsolicited emails
If you have a conference utility ask them to visit your site at a pre determined time and use it to present your product. Usually they will become interested in the conference utility. Have a business account with the utility also. This will present another stream of income for you.
51) Encourage junk email and use the free reply envelopes to put your ad into
Somebody has to open the envelopes and they will see your offer. Believe it or not, some people will respond to this form of advertising. It’s free and takes very little time.
52) Join clubs
Clubs are a place where you can quickly feel at ease and tell people about what you do. This is a very good method to get word around locally about your business, your prices and offers.
53) Go to seminars and conventions
Use these venues to hand out your business cards and gather information.
54) If you promote a communication service you may consider contacting network marketing professionals working with Herbalife, Amex, Sunride amongst others
If your product has benefits for them you may well get many referrals.
55) Work with a friend
When you go to venues and parties, take a friend and get him/her to ask you questions about your business. People love to eve drop, but be careful not to over do it. Don’t talk loud and be natural. Talk about some interesting facet of the business or about how you solved a problem for a customer, for example.
56) Have a sign made to put on either side of your car, van or truck.
Ask family members and close friends if they would mind a sticker on their car, also. Include your logo, phone number and WWW.
57) Have refrigerator magnets made
Hand them out widely. People find them handy and use them for a long time. Make sure that they are decorative as well as informative.
58) Tell local experts about your presence
Look for experts that are in some way related to the field in which you work and send them a nice letter telling them about your service. Often, clients ask questions to which they have no time to deal with or no solution to and they may refer them to you to get them off their back, if for no other reason. This spill over can be to your great advantage.
59) Create a partnership with a sales promoter
It may be difficult for you to go out and look for business and at the same time to give your clients the attention they deserve and so you may prefer to hand the promotion of your business over to someone else and dedicate yourself to taking care of the customers 100% of the time. In this case, if you can get hold of a business savvy person with knowledge of your market and who can fill your appointment book to capacity, may prove out be worth their weight in gold. In any case it is an option worth thinking about. Remember, in many countries you can reclaim their wages back against tax, so you can’t loose.
60) Hang a plaque
Wherever you decide to work hang a sign or a plaque outside. People will see this in passing and it will register in their memories. Some people will decide to enter your establishment on the basis of seeing a sign on the street.
How to win and keep customers
Sound motivated. Let the client know how much you’d like to work with them. Don’t act like you are doing them a favour but at the same time don’t sound like your begging them to come.
2. Let them know how you will help them.
Take a positive attitude. Explain the benefits you have to offer.
3. Reply personally to post or email.
Call them up. Don’t answer them by post or email. Listening to the client will inform you much more about them and what they need than written contact ever can. Even if they are not sure they want to buy at that moment, offer to help them, in any way you can, in the meantime.
4. Never appear small minded.
Always be generous in your outlook. Don’t refuse information about the merits of other businesses and don’t defame others. Avoid generating any negative situations; word about them gets around like wildfire.
5. Give support.
Always give support to your clients. People will always sing your praises to others if they receive ongoing support.
February 8, 2016
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