For many of us, marketing can be a time consuming task. In fact, thinking about it gives some of us a headache. Things would be so much easier if the phones would ring off the hook with little or no effort on our part.
Often, I've heard it said, "I just don't have time to market my business." In fact, the truth is that, for a number of us, it isn't until we hit a dry spell that we realize the importance of consistent marketing. It is then, when we're in the midst of a slump, that we look in the rearview mirror and wonder, "What could I have done differently?"
The answer: market. Despite the pain it may bring, marketing is a necessity for business growth. As a plus, however, it is often easier than many of us think and can even be an enjoyable experience. Following are a few quick ideas that may take the pain out of marketing your business.
1. Take advantage of your daily contacts. When you go to the
supermarket, take a flyer or business card with you and post it on the bulletin board. Place your business card, with a nice tip, in the hands your waiter or waitress at restaurants where you dine. There's the cleaners, the barber or salon, and other places that you visit frequently. Leaving your business cards and flyers at places you visit often is a great way to market.
2. Give a thrill with your next bill. With every bill you pay, insert a business card. Once, I sent out an electric bill and placed my card in with a note on the back that said, "Have a great day!" As a result, I received a call from a lady at the electric company to prepare her resume. Even though she wasn't the person who directly received my payment, the card was passed on to her and she became a client!
3. Send fun notes. My personal preference is the postcard. I send postcards to prospects on a weekly basis, a few at a time. Postcard messages should be focused and targeted but also attention grabbing. The best thing about postcards is that they require no opening and many eyes see them before they get to the recipient.
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4. Promote when you invoice. Many invoices have a place for you to add a couple of lines of text at the bottom. You can use this area to announce a new service or product, or, briefly tell your clients about discounts and specials. Another great way to promote your business is to place a quarter page flyer with a promotional offer into letters, invoices, and outgoing parcels. It's quick and easy.
5. Make your voice mail work for you. A voice mail or answering machine is a great marketing tool. Using key words such as, "Guaranteed," "Expert," "All-in-one, "Immediate," and "Reliable" are great attention grabbers. An example of a key phrase would be, "You're guaranteed to benefit from..." These attention grabbing statements sell your confidence and your service. You're also leading your prospect in through the "WIFM" (What's In It For Me) approach. I have seen this method work great, even with people who misdial numbers.
6. Create a referral incentive. Offer a special incentive for current clients or customers who bring you referrals. It could be a free gift, a gift certificate (for your product or service, of course), or something else that will serve as an incentive. Send out a short letter to your clients or customers asking for their help giving and mentioning your referral incentive (also a WIFM approach). Many times, your good clients or customers will have no problem referring you, if they haven't already. However, it doesn't hurt to ask.
There are many easy and innovative ways to take the pain out of marketing your business. Although it's a great idea to take at least an hour a day to devote to marketing efforts, using these simple tasks are almost effortless and, dare I say, painless ways to market consistently.
Copyright 2003. Absolute Document Services. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted without written permission.
Dawn Mayo is the owner of Absolute Document Services and OnDemand Secretarial Solutions, A Virtual Assistant and temporary placement business. You may contact her on the web at http://www.yourremoteoffice.com or by email at email@example.com.