Picture via stock.xchng
Whether your company is still feeling the pinch of these brutal (and frankly confusing) economical conditions, or whether there are personal factors affecting your bottom line, one thing is certain: to succeed in business you have to keep on marketing.
Don’t market your products or services . . . and your business will fail. And that goes for ANY business in ANY economy.
Here are five low-cost ‘no-brainer’ marketing tools you can use right now to help break out of a sales slump and boost your revenue — and therefore your staying power. In fact, it’s a strategy that has been proven to work irrespective of which direction the economy is heading.
1. Reactivate ‘Stale’ Clients
It’s a well-known fact that it is 5-7 times more expensive to acquire a new client (or customer) than it is to get a repeat sale from an existing or even ex client. Yet still, business-owners are all too often so busy chasing new clients that they completely overlook what they already have: a gold mine of neglected sales. And even if they don’t ignore their former clients, most companies never properly implement or even consider a follow-up strategy.
There are numerous ways to ‘mine’ lapsed clients. Here is one of the quickest and perhaps easiest methods:
Simply pick up the phone (or write to them, if you prefer) and ask how thing are going. Apologise for it being a while since you last were in contact. Check how they’re doing, and what’s going on with their business, etc.
The purpose of the call is NOT to sell your new product or ask for more work, but rather to remind them that you exist. You’ll be surprised how many ‘stagnant’ clients will say, “Hey, while you’re here, I’ve got a need for…”
Don’t feel like contacting them? No problem! But you can be sure that when you are not talking to your former clients on a regular basis, your competition will be.
2. Have a Referral System
You’re probably like a lot of people; you think that as long as you do a good job, then you’ll get recommended. Well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that doesn’t quite cut the mustard. Sure, you’re bound to receive a few referrals here and there, but to really leverage your good work, you have got to be more proactive and have a referral system in place.
The next time you finish a job (or deliver a great product) — and each time after that — pick up the phone or email your client and ask for a referral. (I know this can be hard, but the more frequently you do it, the easier it can get.) However, don’t use the R word itself: for many people the word “referral’ has negative connotations. Instead, simply ask, “Who else do you know that would be interested in my services/product?”
Another great way of generating more referral business is to give an incentive to compel customers to happily provide their friends and colleagues’ names and addresses to you. A gift certificate or a discount on future orders are two popular incentives.
It’s a good idea to personally thank people when they recommend you. They are more likely to remember your gesture, and will acknowledge the weight the referral carries. I usually send a thank-you note and a small gift.
3. Leverage F.R.E.E. Publicity
It’s difficult to beat public relations as a marketing tool. It’s free, believable (when your story is published in a newspaper, for example), gets you noticed, helps spread the word about you or your company, helps establish your identity, gives credibility and, best of all, it can generate quality leads.
Journalists and news reporters are always looking for good stories. So commit to writing at least one press release every month or so, and aim to get it published in places where your target audience is likely to see it (or hear it, if it’s a radio station). Sooner or later, your release will be picked up, and then it’s “Bingo” all the way!
The trick with getting your media release into newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations is to make sure they’re newsworthy or at least have an interesting hook, write a compelling headline that sums up the story AND grabs the reader’s attention in as few words as possible, use active verbs and stick to facts (no fluff allowed in the domain of news releases).
4. Hold a Prize Drawing
A great way to get noticed and generate new leads is to host a sweepstake or contest, with a prize that hits your ideal customer’s ‘hot buttons’. Make it desirable enough that people will play again and again, or invite others to play. Promotional materials such as T-shirts, mugs, bags or pens inscribed with your logo and web URL also help spread the word.
5. Give Something Back
Finally, be charitable. Sponsor an event — a local photography competition, for example — or a youth sports team (you could provide T-shirts for them with your logo on the back, for instance), or team up with one of your local charities and help with fund raising. All of these are terrific ways to position your company in a positive light in your community.
Variety is the Key
So whether you are suffering from a seasonal downturn in business or are feeling the consequences of the larger global economic meltdown, don’t let these valuable opportunities pass you by. Get going with one new tactic today and introduce another every month or so, if that’s what it takes. Just make a start! Your business will thank you for it in the long run.
By Tracey Dooley, Creative Consultant | PR Doctor | Marketing & Alliance Strategist
If you want to learn how to systematically implement a simple-yet-powerful reactivation strategy that adds 10-30% to your business profits with little time, money or effort on your part, and at absolutely no risk to you, then please get in touch for your no-obligation complimentary consultation by visiting my sister site: www.traceydooley.com
Please be aware that I am offering this service to just one company at this time. This company will learn just how easy it is to implement — and execute — this sustainable 2-step profit technique . . . and it WILL gain an incomparable competitive advantage. All places are on a first-come, first-served basis.
(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert affordable mentoring and have fun attracting clients easily?)
(C) 2009-2011 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved
Want to use this article (or any article, tip or post on this blog) on your website, blog, a message board or in an ezine? Not a problem! But please give credit where it’s due. You MUST include copyright info above, along with the following:
Tracey Dooley is a freelance copywriter, editor and marketer. She has spent 18 years crafting compelling concepts and copy that successfully sell, inform, educate or entertains. Her expertise runs across many different sectors and her client list includes marketing agencies, a leading supplier of personal computers, semi-conductors and telecommunications equipment and the UK’s largest TV and interactive production company. =====> www.mediaminister.co.uk.
Add my RSS feed to your reader now so you never have to miss a post.
Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include.