Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Low-cost promotion ideas.

Post 490 - Ninety percent of the success of any product or service is its promotion and marketing. For small business owners, many promotion ideas can bring publicity without costing very much. Here are some examples:

- Advertise in high-school yearbooks, theater programs and other local directories. This helps build awareness about your business with local residents.

- Stay active and visible in your school and college alumni groups.

- Get involved in community activities. If you join the committee for your town's Fourth of July celebration, you'll meet many new people. When they get to know you better, they'll then feel more comfortable referring your products and services to others.

- Set a goal to call a specific number of customers, prospects and referral sources each week. When I first started my consulting business, I lived in Los Angeles and didn't have a lot of money. Most of my clients were big companies back east or in Canada at that time. So I spent several hours on the phone every morning between 5am and 8am when phone charges were still inexpensive. These calls were relatively brief, but they let people know that I was thinking of them. Most of the conversations were about what they were doing or were interested in. However, I'd always ask in the course of the conversation if they knew about any new business opportunities coming up or could suggest other people for me to call.

- Take at least one customer, prospect or referral source to breakfast, lunch or dinner each week.

- Invite customers and potential customers to cultural and sporting events and other local activities. Don't ask for business during these events but work at getting to know them better and on building a good relationship. Listen for clues about their families, businesses and interests that may give you a reason for follow-up mailings.

- Then forward any articles or items that might interest them, together with a personal note. No press clipping is too small to be sent.

- Write articles for papers, magazines and websites that will be read by potential customers. Make yourself into an expert. Start a regular blog about your area of interest and expertise.

- Send out press releases sharing good news about your business and your industry.

- Remember, the key to any successful marketing program is consistency. In its simplest form, marketing is about making you and your product known and selling is about making it wanted. “Your marketing efforts have to be ongoing, consistent and relentless. Hi-Tech, Low-Tech, No Tech and sometimes totally shameless.” according to Patricia Fripp.

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