This article will provide you with some fantastic marketing tactics that are both cost effective and very profitable for your company. Think about combining these to make a cohesive marketing strategy. Developing and implementing Marketing Plan does not have to be expensive. Always be thinking outside the box.
Free Consultations: Provide a free half hour or hour long consultation to prospects giving them advice and information. Follow up in two days and ask for the sale. This tactic establishes you as an expert and even if the prospect doesn’t use your services, you will have a fantastic referral source (make sure you ask for referrals!).
- Power your Consultation with visual aids and demonstrations.
- Turn your Free Consults into testimonials.
Write Articles: Being published as an Expert will bring you targeted, continuous business. Be sure to submit your articles online and back link to your Website. Your web traffic will increase exponentially. Then offer Free E-books on your Website to solidify the relationship. When prospects understand your expert status, they will give you business, as well as, refer you to others. The viral marketing element of article marketing is huge- you never know where your articles will end up!
Seminars: Depending on your business having a FREE or Paid Seminar can be a great way to mine prospects. Again, this strategy works well as the Expert strategy and piggybacks well with Free Consultations, Articles and E-books. Free Seminars can be irregular, but a token(a) fee Seminar can be enough to ensure success. A nominal fee ensures the attendee will show, while providing a ton of value for the information provided. Be sure to video all your seminars and sell them on your website.
- Lecture / teach for half an hour to forty five minutes, then open it up for questions. Wrap up the seminar at the hour mark. Have an area with coffee and sweets set up so you can network before and after the seminar.
- The goal is to get as many business cards and contact information as you can from the prospects. Follow with a mailed hand written note or a personal email within 24 hours. Then call the prospect a day later. Have the Seminar on a Tuesday and follow up Thursday or Friday via phone to set appointments for the next two weeks.
- Have two Seminars a calendar month. Make them a little different so you can attract the same prospects again! Give your previous attendees a VIP Pass. If you don’t sell them the first round you’ll have a much better chance after the second seminar.
- Write a Book and your Seminar attendance will increase three fold. The more you can foster the Expert Status, the better your results will be.
Free Demonstrations: I love Free Demonstrations! I cut my teeth in Sales in my youth marketing Electrolux Cleaning Systems (ok, so they were vacuums and dry cleaners). Selling a premium product which had a ton of value built in required a Free Demonstration. If I couldn’t sell the prospect in 45 minutes then I would leave the Cleaning System with them for two days and return at a prearranged time to pick it up. With a good financing package backing me up, I closed 8 out of 10!
- A Free Demonstration can also be short in front of a crowd and take orders subsequently. Depends on the product you are selling.
Note: At Seminars and Mass Demonstrations, make sure you have plenty order takers and appointment setters on hand. You can’t be signing up prospects and talking to them at the same time!
Open House Events: Opening up your business to existing customers and prospects for a day every three months is an awesome way to solidify relationships and drum up more business. Have refreshments and employees staged in different areas explaining how the business works. You, the owner, mix and mingle and mine! Make sure each employee is schooled prior, to get business cards and contact information. Be sure to teach the employee to make notes on the prospects’ biz card or contact info so you have individualised means of future contact. Make sure you have a demonstration room for the serious prospects! Make sure you are fully staffed fro an Open House. All hands on deck event!
- Send Press Releases to local / regional publications and look for creative ways to advertise your Open House. There are loads of Free Online and Offline Event Directories. Use Social Networking!
- Social Online Networks such as Linked In, Facebook and Twitter can be excellent forums to getting out information about your Open House or other Company Events and News. SEO can be both cost effective and lucrative!
Trade Shows: I am not a huge fan of Trade Shows because many shows will have absolutely no merit for the money and time you spend. However, many businesses have been successful with Trade Shows because they figure out through inquiry which ones really have qualified buyers and know little success secrets. Some Trade Show Keys to keep in mind:
- Always attend and research a show prior to your involvement.
- Determine ways shows let you contact prospects before and after the show.
- Partner with a good Strategic Partner and share a large 20 foot booth together. This attracts attention and offers prospects the best solutions.
- Have “roamers” walk the show continuously handing out circulars and flyers, which pictorially show prospects where your booth is. Offer a Freebee or discount for the prospect to come to your booth. Require the prospect to register to receive the Freebee or Discount.
- Have booklets available at your booth for the motivated prospects.
- Be sure to mine each prospect’s information and product / service interests. Don’t rely on them to contact you after the show.
- Visually demonstrate your product or service. Let prospects see the final solution.
- Have plenty of staff on hand to sell, take information and greet prospects.
- Big Signs, Big Graphics, Large Font, Video, Audio – these are all key in helping the prospect visualize / own your solution.
- Take lots of pictures and video so you can post to the web during the show to create a viral buzz.
- Always get a prospects email address so you can send them an Opt In for your Newsletter, Company Alerts, RSS, etc.
- Make sure all of your Staff is instructed to take notes on the prospects’ business card so you can jog your memory on the prospects’ relevance and importance.
- Direct Mail response rates to Tradeshow Participants can be as high as 20%, as compared to the average 2% response rate for a first mailing.
- Trade Shows can be a good way to kick off your penetration into a new market.
- If you are going to the expense of going to a Trade Show, be sure to run some advertising prior (with an incentive to come see you).
Newsletters: I think Newsletters (both offline and online) are an excellent information and sales tool. This goes hand in hand with the Expert Role, providing interested prospects valuable information, while having information on how to contact you or a web page to visit. Newsletters should be sent once per month with an expert article as the main focus. I like to have the article in the center of the Newsletter with a narrow column to either side with supporting information and resources. These side columns are great areas to partner with other businesses to offer more expert information and help. Be sure to feature your FREE half hour or hour consultation service on the Newsletter and any seminars, webinars or such coming up. The more you get into and use your Newsletter, the more exponential the results. And, please, write your own content! You are the Expert!
Write a Book: I’m not saying get in the book business. A book sets you apart as a bonafide Expert and gives you instant credibleness. It is one of the best sales generator tools you can use! My Business Plan Book lends instant credibility to my experience as Business Turnaround Consultants. You can use Print on Demand Publishing to print books and drop ship to customers as they are ordered separately for a price of $5 – $10 per book. Get writing!
Speaking at Club Events: Being a featured speaker at a private club event can drive great business for you. Make sure to have a brochure and make sure to feature an easy to remember website address. Feature a special promotion for just the club attendees. Again, being a Club Speaker sets you up as the Expert and a fantastic way to advertise your articles, newsletters and books.
About the Author
Frank Goley is a business consultant, business turnaround consultant, and business planner for ABC Business Consulting. Frank is an expert in writing, developing and implementing business plans, business turnaround plans, business financing plans, marketing plans, strategic plans and web marketing plans. Frank offers comprehensive business consulting, business coaching, business turnaround consulting, along with web seo, web development and web marketing consulting, to small and medium size companies.. Frank is author of the business plan book, The Comprehensive Business Plan Workbook – A Step by Step Guide to Effective Business Planning, and he has over 50 published articles on business success strategies. He also writes the Business Success Strategies Blog.