Here are a few suggestions to attract prospects, save money and generally launch a successful business venture.
During the direct mail phase of your marketing campaign, an incentive was encour-aged to bring in new clients. The lifeblood of any business is new people coming into it. What better way than to encourage them through the use of a free promotion.
When you give something away, you can expect to find someone there to take it. This will also be true in your marketing solicitation. If you offer a reduced rate for a period of time, or contract for five months and give the sixth month away free, you will entice people to take action.
The irony of this situation is that the more you give away, the more business you will attract. If you sent a direct mail response out and obtained three clients who contract with you for six months at $50/month, you’ve attracted $900 worth of business. But if a giveaway of the sixth month free doubles your response, you’ll contract six people paying for five months at $50/months, but increased your revenue. You gave away six free months, but increased your clientele and your revenue doing it. In addition, you now have clients who are potential renewers when the contracts expire.
You could also give away a free gift to new enrollees instead of the month’s free service. A number of promotions companies exist who can help you select an ap-propriate gift and buy it at bulk rate. Your giveaways can sometimes amount to only $4 or $5 per person, and you end up with six and twelve month contracts as a result.
With incentives, offer something tangible and relevant to your business. Don’t attach any strings. Make it a straight forward offer with no fine print. People appreciate and are more likely to respond to this type of offer.
Another tip for success is to minimize your printing costs. Direct mail costs money. Brochures cost money. Business cards and stationary cost money. Take some steps to keep your printing bills within reason.
Shop for competitive quotes. There are usually a number of printers in a given area, so you should be able to find three or four to bid on your job. If you are having business cards, stationary and brochures done, do them all at once and advise the printer to quote each job both separately and combined. Often, a combined job can reduce your costs.
Be specific about the job. Get all the costs up front. If you want the printer to set the type, fold the piece, whatever, be sure you have all this priced out first.
Stick to standard sizes and colors. Avoid heavy paper stock. You don’t have to use postcard stock, either. Give the printer ample time to complete the job. Rush work costs money and the costs will be passed on to you.
Printing costs can eat up a budget quickly. The more homework you do up front, the less you’ll spend and the more likely the piece will be done to your satisfaction.
As you solicit additional business, your base set of clients can hopefully provide some solid testimony as to the value of your services. Securing these endorsements can be the foundation for a new marketing campaign to add new clients and “grow” your business.
You’ll likely have to ask for this feedback yourself. Most people don’t take the time to write a letter, but most often simply comment to you personally about their pleasure in your services. So, ask them to put their thoughts down on paper. If someone has written, ask their permission to reprint it and use their name. Or you can initiate written comments by sending out a customer satisfaction form which encourages comments from your clients.
Whichever way you choose, these endorsements can help you obtain new business.
Finally, don’t overlook the outlets through which you can publicize your business–at no charge! It amounts to free advertising and you should be watchful for the opportunities this presents to tell people about your services without increasing your marketing budget.
News releases about your business can generate some publicity for you. Many smaller newspapers publish a Business section where new businesses in the area are noted and a few specifics spelled out. The newspaper won’t know to print this unless you sent them a news release.
Send your release with a cover letter to the city or business editor of your local newspaper, the managing editors of business trade publications and the news directors for local radio and television stations.
The cover letter should briefly state the positive aspects of your business and why your services would interest their audience. The news release is more formal and should be typed on one sheet of paper, double-spaced, and headed “NEWS RELEASE” with the day’s date. You should also list a “FOR MORE INFORMATION” header followed by your name, address and phone number. The copy itself should be short and to the point, but with the same idea as an advertisement. The first paragraph should be your “headline grabber”, the idea of which is to get the reader (editor or director) to become interested enough to keep reading. Emphasize the convenience of your service to small business owners who don’t have an office and generally are out working all day. Don’t be long winded. Sell them on your basic idea. If they’re interested in publicizing it, they’ll call you for more information.
Emphasize how your business relates to current news trends, such as the age of computers taking away some of the human touch and you’re trying to restore that so that a business’ customers will be able to talk to a person rather than a machine. Make it newsworthy. You’ll have a better chance of getting the free publicity you seek.