How to Attract Customers to Your Business

If you’ve just started a new business one of your major tasks is acquiring new customers. When it comes to marketing a new business one of the problems that you face is getting the word out about your products or services at a price that won’t eat up your capital at too fast a rate. When you consider that 9 out of 10 new businesses that fail site a lack of funds as the reason for their failure you can quickly see that spending too much on your advertising and marketing campaigns can be dangerous. With this in mind we put together a list of several excellent and economical ways that you can market your business and start getting new clients without breaking your budget or using your startup capital to quickly. Enjoy.

  • While Internet advertising and social media are all good and well the fact is that it takes quite a bit of time to get up a good head of steam online as far as marketing is concerned. On the other hand, a small one or two color postcard with your best ad and a great promotion can, in many cases, drive a huge volume of traffic to either your website or your brick-and-mortar location. In many cases the investment cost is quite low also. The most important factor here is to have an incredible deal that, while it might even be at a small loss, introduces new customers to your services and products.
  • Spread your marketing over a number of different tactics and approaches. Simply put, there is no single marketing effort that you can rely on 100% of the time. Keeping that in mind you should, within reason,  use several different communication lines to get information about your business and your services to the public. Make sure that all of your marketing portrays your business in a similar fashion so that, when people see different advertisements on different media from your company, they don’t get confused as to who you are and what you do
  • Start getting feedback and collecting testimonials from customers as soon as you can. One habit that definitely can help any business to grow is to send a survey to every customer that makes a purchase and, if they respond very favorably, ask them for permission to use their testimonial in future advertisements. This also entails having the proper legal documentation so make sure you have this covered as well before using any testimonials for marketing purposes.
  • If there are other businesses that are similar to yours but not necessarily in competition with you, consider advertising together with them on postcards, newspaper ads and even on the radio and TV. Not only will this save you money as far as your marketing costs but also, since your businesses may complement each other, it opens the door to a whole new avenue of prospective customers.
  • The way you or your employees answer the telephone can make or break your business. Answering the phone and talking about a special offer at the same time is a great way to not only greet potential customers but let them know about any specials or offers that you are currently running. Instructing your people on how to answer the phone and how to treat and react to new callers in the most favorable way possible is vitally important. We’ve heard many stories about companies with excellent services and products but, because the person answering the phone was so unprofessional, the business suffered and went belly up. For this reason you and your people should treat every single person that calls your business phone number as the most important person that you’ve spoken to that day.
  • If you’re sending out direct mail pieces or letters to your customers on a regular basis you should include a handwritten note of greetings or to talk about any specials or promotions that you might currently have. A Post-it note on a letter is going to be the first thing that a prospective customer looks at, acting like a mini billboard to grab their attention. In some cases they might not even read the letter but they’ll certainly read that sticky note and it might be all the impetus they need to make a purchase.
  • Immediately after a customer has purchased something from your store or purchased services you should send them an email, a text message or a note offering to either increase their services, give them a discount off their next purchase or anything that you think might entice them to directly make another purchase. Creating a bit of urgency with a rapid expiration date is a great idea as well.
  • Newsletters are still an incredibly powerful and viable option especially if you are a new business owner. Newsletters will help you to focus your market on customers that have already made purchases and also open the door to new customers who may not have heard of your services but had your newsletter forwarded to them by a family member or colleague. Sending printed newsletters is quite costly obviously but still should be considered.  Newsletters via email and the Internet, while they still will take as much effort to create, will obviously cost a lot less to send to current and prospective customers and should definitely be added into your marketing mix. There  are very few marketing methods that are better than newsletters for keeping your business ‘top of mind’ and reminding your core customers about how great you are and the excellent services and products that you offer.
  • If you have a brick-and-mortar location you should definitely consider having an open house or a grand opening celebration. If your budget can handle it inviting vendors, renting a ‘bounce house’ for the kids and offering food and refreshments can go a long way to show the community who you are and give you the opportunity to give them brochures and other information about what you do. If what you are selling is a service that’s quite valuable you might consider giving a seminar, charging a fee for it and limiting the attendance. The fact is, even though you might think that charging a fee will keep people away it actually does the opposite and gives them the impression that what you’re going to be giving is valuable.
  • If there are businesses in your town that are complementary to yours you may consider bartering with them so that they get your service and you get theirs. Once you’ve done that you can actually talk to people about their services and, more importantly, they can talk to people about yours. In this way you can help each other out and possibly make a good friend and future business partner in the process.

Starting a new business today is difficult and stressful, to say the least. The odds are certainly against you but the entrepreneurial spirit in America is still very strong and, if you use the tips and advice that we’ve given you above for your marketing plan, you’ll have a much better chance for success. Best of luck with your new business and make sure to come back and visit us here on our blog regularly as will be offering more advice for you budding entrepreneurs on a regular basis. See you then.

How to Advertise Your Business and Save Money Doing It

It doesn’t matter what industry or market you may find yourself in, it can be tough to save money and still find the financial opportunities available to advertise your business. As such, it’s important to understand how you can effectively and cheaply advertise your business while saving money, ensuring that you get the best of both worlds: a loyal, returning and growing customer base, and a good budget and balance sheets that keep you from dipping too far into the red each month!


Here are just a couple major ways that you can advertise your business on the cheap, and pick up customers without having to take out massive advertising budgets just to do it:


Get social, get social, get social

It bears repeating one more time: GET SOCIAL! Social media is free (except, of course, for the time you spend doing it), and marketing your business on social media can be an amazing way to get out to the customers without spending money on costly moves and advertisements. With social media, you can speak directly to your customers without worrying about middlemen, answering their questions and improving their experiences over time.


Word of mouth marketing still works

Incentivize your current customers by providing reasons for them to get out there and talk about your business to other potential future customers. Whether it’s a special deal or a free product, word of mouth marketing works, and it gets your customers out there talking to their friends about you and your business. No marketing is better than the marketing somebody hears from their friend; they are more likely to trust it, and in turn, more likely to try the business out for themselves.


Customer service is still king, at the end of the day

It doesn’t matter what industry you may find yourself in, customer service is absolutely and completely the king at the end of the day when it comes to advertising your business. If you go above and beyond for your customers, they turn around and tell everyone they know about their great experience; focus on providing the best customer experience that you possibly can to those around you, and watch the new clients and customers roll in to see it for themselves.


All in all, it can be incredibly cheap to advertise your business, depending on the industry in which you work. Think outside the box, build relationships with customers, and listen – truly listen – to your clients and customers, and they will tell you not only what they want, but how they want it, and how you can improve your business on their behalf. Good luck and enjoy!

SEO Tips for the Small Business Owner

It’s a new year, and with that comes another opportunity to improve your finances. While the year may be new, the financial techniques are the same one’s as they always have been. These tried and true tactics are sure fire ways to save money over the coming year, and the sooner you start the better off you will be when 2014 rolls around. So please see below for ways to shore up your finances!
It’s only January, the perfect time to make and stick to a monthly budget. If you start early then you will have a template to use for the rest of the year, and you can start saving money now. People often wait until their in debt, or dire financial straits before they decide to actually make a budget. Then they often wait even longer before they stick to said budget. Stand out from the masses and get serious right now. It’s a matter of figuring out revenue and expense, and then making sure that the first is more than the latter.
Take advantage of coupons, gift cards, and freebies! The holidays have just passed, and I am willing to bet that most of you received at least one gift card. The number of unused gift cards each year is simply staggering. Even if you receive a gift card to a store that you don’t particularly like, go online and sell it to someone else…that is still cash in your pocket! It’s all about the free samples. Companies are always eager to provide promotional products to give away in order to increase their exposure. Don’t pass up these giveaway items, you might be able to score free soap, toothpaste, chewing gum, you name it. Even if saves you a few dollars over the year, that is still more money in your bank account. The same holds true for coupons, whenever you purchase an item without a coupon you are giving away you money. Find items that you already purchase and then simply look for related coupons, they are out there if you look hard enough.
Save, save, save! Granted the interest rates aren’t particularly favorable on savings accounts right now, but that doesn’t give you an excuse to spend all of that disposable income. Savings accounts are a great way to safely store your money. Also, if you aren’t pleased with the low interest earning accounts then seek out a brokerage account and invest in some dividend paying mutual funds. This is akin to saving money, and it will allow you to outpace inflation as well.

Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 4

Welcome back!  We hope that the Tips that we’ve already given you have been helping you build and brand your small business.  We’ve got more great Tips today so let’s get right to it!

If you’re looking to build affinity for your brand and have the townspeople talking about how wonderful you are you should throw them a party!  Now, before you start thinking about dance floors and liquor budgets let’s get real.  This would be an afternoon affair that sees your entire staff at work talking to guests and light refreshments being served.  Put together a presentation for them and make sure that you serve the food and drink after instead of before so you don’t lose them.  Also, have your products ready and able to be purchased with a great price on them for those that purchase right there at the party.

Giving your clients some type of gift that they can actually use on a daily basis around the house, in the car or at the office is a great idea and will keep your logo in front of their eyes and your products in their mind all the time.  Mugs, letter openers, calendars, pens (good quality) and the like are great ideas and don’t cost an arm and a leg either.

Remember and use these 3 Marketing ‘Secrets’, 3 of the best that we know.

  1. Be Committed.  Commit to the business, the plan and the products and don’t give up.
  2. Be Consistent.  Constantly put something in front of your customers and your community without fail.  Promote, promote, promote.
  3. Be Confident. Remember that most marketing plans take at least 60 to 90 days to start producing results and, in many cases, the results won’t be huge for a while longer. Be confident that your marketing will eventually pay off and be patient.

Don’t try to make money but instead offer your customers real value, excellent customer service and products or services that are of the highest quality.  This, more than anything else, will bring you the success that you seek. Doing something that you truly love doesn’t hurt either.

Take your best customers out to lunch and let them tell you the truth about your business. Heck, invite some of your biggest critics too if you can stand the heat and let them all have their say.  The feedback that you get from this can be tremendous and the insights and ideas invaluable.  For the price of one meal (make it a mid-range eatery) you can get more info than you would from a year’s worth of customer satisfaction letters or emails. Do this every 6 months.

Marketing and advertising are just two of the many talents a small business must possess to conquer the competition.  When looking for another advantage consider these leading VoIP Providers.

We truly hope that these Tips have helped open your eyes to some of the ways that you can grow, promote, market and advance your business. We’ll be back in the future with more so keep coming back.  Good luck.


Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 3

Welcome back for Part 3 of our 4 part series on marketing and advertising tips for the small business owner.  We’re going to give you more excellent advice and tips that you can use right away so settle in, take note of everything that you’re not using yet and get started using them ASAP.

Today one of the most important online tools that you can use is a ‘landing page’ that, when people find it, can lead them directly to your business. You’ll want to use high-quality SEO to rank high on the search engines and, once they ‘land’ on your page, something enticing to persuade them to leave their contact info, phone number or email address. And seriously, you should give them something that has real value as the bait. Once you have their email or phone you can start sending them info about your company on a regular basis.

Using email to communicate is fine but, when it comes to special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries, sending an honest-to-goodness birthday or anniversary card signed by you is the way to go.  No, this won’t actually create a sale per-se but it will create a huge amount of affinity in the hearts and minds of your clients and tell them that you really do care.  Heck, send them a coupon or gift card and you’ll have them in the palm of your hands.

If you can find a business in your community that has a complimentary product or service to yours one of the best things you can do is team-up on advertising campaigns.  This will not only cut your advertising costs directly in half but, if you pair with a company that is well-liked in your community, could raise your likeability factor up a level as well. It could also be the start of a great business relationship.

When sending out marketing message s keep in mind this 1 statistic- it takes approximately 7 repeat views for anybody to remember your print ad.  TV takes even more, which means that repetition is the key to success with advertising and marketing. One of the biggest mistakes that small businesses make is to ‘try’ a form of advertising once and, when it doesn’t produce the results they expected, stop it completely before it has a real chance to pay off.

There you have them.  Now go out and use them and, when you’re ready for more, come back and join us for Part 4.

Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 2

Welcome back for Part 2.  If you’re ready, willing and able to kick your small business marketing and advertising up a notch then sit back, grab a cup a’ joe and make some mental notes because this is some great stuff.

There is no excuse for low-grade promotional materials when you’re in business for yourself.  Your cards, brochures, flyers, letterheads and even the packaging material that you use to send products to your customers all need to be first class all the way.

If you’re worried about the high cost of printing but you still want to go color you can use a screen print to make it appear as if there are different colors when in reality all the colors are the same but at different tints. This can be done for anything printed, and it should be printed ion high quality paper.  The fact is, these promotional materials are sometimes the 1st impression that a person get of your company and, if you’re using cheap materials, guess what people are going to think?

Speaking of promotional materials your business card is one of the most important that you have.  If you can make it a mini-brochure and stuff it with all the pertinent info that you can you’ll see that it can and does deliver.  If you want you can even use it as a promo-card and put a discount on it for people who bring it to you at your location. There is a famous car salesman story that talks about a guy who used to take his cards, with a discount offer on the back, to football games and throw them by the handful off of the upper decks during the game.

One of the most vital things you need to do is to thank people for their business or their referral.  Sending a thank you card, flowers, a gift certificate, anything that says how grateful you are that they made a purchase or sent someone that did.  There is nothing better to create an affinity for your business in your community than to tell people how much you appreciate them.

Finally there’s one thing that you can and should do to be the best in your business; copy what the best do and do it too. The fact is that as long as you don’t break any copyright rules you can copy anything that your competitor does and, if you analyze what they’re doing well enough, you may even be able to do it better.

Marketing and Advertising Tips for the Small Business Owner – Part 1

If you’re a small business owner today then you better know how to market your business or you’re not going to be in business for very long.  There are, to be sure, many different things and tasks that you need to perform on a regular if not daily basis.  Do them and, with time, diligence and patience, you’ll see your client base increase as well as your revenues.

One of the most imperative tasks that you need to accomplish when you’re in business for yourself is to know who your customers are.  No, we don’t mean that you should know Bob or Mary and their family member by name, we mean that in general you should know what you’re selling and who your ideal customer is.  Knowing what type of person will be interested in your product or service, why they would want what you are selling and what their motivation would be is key to being able to give them what they want. The simple fact is that you can’t start selling anything until you’ve defined your product and positioned it correctly in the public’s eye.

One of the best direct marketing concepts still today, even with all the internet and social media hoopla, is postcards.  They deliver a sense of urgency to your potential customers, have a much higher read-rate than letters, and can help you keep a lid on your mailing list. Not only that but they can be seen by others who may happen upon then in someone’s home as they’re very visible.

Another excellent way to build affinity for your brand and promote it at the same time is to print and send a survey to all of your existing customers. This goes back to knowing your customers and, with a survey, you can find out who they are in as much depth as you like.  You can ask where do they work and what type of jobs do they have, what types of things they do for recreation and what magazines and TV shows they watch.  This info can give you an excellent idea about what they’re looking for from you and, if you want a great response, you can give them a discount offer for helping you out by completing the survey.

There are a lot of other Tips that we’d like to share with you so come on back for Part 2 and bring a pen and paper.


Small Business Marketing Tips

As a small business owner there are many ways to market your business that won’t break the bank but will provide a great revenue push for your company.  Many of these can be implemented for a very reasonable cost and will generate leads and revenue quickly. Below you’ll find a handful of the best that we’ve seen over the years.  Read them and use them well to build your small business.

One of the worst things that small business owners do is try to advertise like big companies.  The simple fact is that this can’t be done on a small budget.  Better to design what advertising you can afford to produce sales right away. Great offers are still one of the best ways to increase sales dramatically and should be included in everything that you send out into the public’s eye.

If you’re losing sales because your product is high-end and expensive you may want to consider offering a scaled-down, low-cost version for those that are hesitant to spend the money you need to make on the top of the line model.  The truth is, if you have a great product with all the bells and whistles you can still make sales to those that can’t afford it by taking away some of those bells and whistles and giving them a more basic model.

The opposite of this of course is to offer a premium product or service for those that are looking for the best and are willing (and able) to pay for it.  You can boost sales significantly this way and of course your total revenue by offering premium or combining services into a premium package. The last thing that you want to do is lose sales because someone felt that your product wasn’t as good as they needed it to be when in fact it is.

Lastly you can trim the size of your advertising. If what you’re getting now is costing too much trim it down and make it sharper and leaner. In many cases a smaller, easier to read ad will do better than a longer, more convoluted ad.  You can also stretch your advertising budget by running 2 smaller ads instead of 1 large ad.

The truth is that, as a small business owner, you need to constantly be on your toes and looking for new ways to generate interest and affinity for your brand.  It may be cliché but thinking outside the box, especially when it comes to advertising and marketing, is something you need to focus on every day.



Successful Marketing Starts With Your Mindset

As with almost anything in   life successful business marketing starts with the right Mindset. Starting   any marketing plan with the right mindset can mean the difference between   marketing that attracts and convert and marketing that falls flat and wastes your   hard-earned revenue. The right mindset for marketing will also keep you   focused, on course with your goals and sustain your energy level while the   marketing has a chance to power-up your business. With that firmly in mind   have a look at these next few tips that will help you to attain and maintain   a powerful marketing mindset.

One of the most powerful   mindset tips is that you should give your marketing efforts the time they   need to really deliver the results that you want. Many small business   owners make the same mistake over and over, and that is to pull the plug on   their marketing efforts before they have had enough time to come to fruition.

Another big mistake that   is common to many small business owners is that they don’t commit to   frequent marketing. Even if it means sending out 1000 email reminders to   get a client if you keep sending, keep repeating and keep doing whatever it   is you do to market it will eventually start showing results.

Look to the future and start   planning for what you’re going to need when things are really firing on all   cylinders. Too many small business owners are so busy in what’s happening   today that they don’t think about   what will likely happen tomorrowand   so don’t plan for it and, when tomorrow arrives, aren’t ready for it. This is   most important when it comes to the support team that you’re going to need.

Anything in your business that is repeated or   repeatable needs a system so that it can be repeated by others in the organization. This needs   to be done before the business gets too big and too busy or it will cave in   on itself at some point. If the systems are in place ahead of time the change   from slow to busy will be much easier.

Let your personality shine through in your marketing.  Too   many times, because they want to remain ‘professional’ and so their marketing   is kind of boring and blends-in with the rest.  Blending in will NOT get you noticed!!  Don’t be crazy but you can certainly be   fun, silly and certainly friendly in your marketing. The results may surprise   you.





Social Media Marketing for the Small Business: Series 8 of 8

Welcome back for the final part of our 8 Part Social Media series.  In this final blog we’ll be talking about how to monitor the conversations (i.e. feedback and reviews) that will inevitably find their way onto the internet about your business and/or services.  More specifically we will talk about how best to make sure that they stay positive (aside from your company always giving excellent customer care, of course).

There are 5 steps that your company can take to make sure that you are always on top of any content being posted about your biz that wasn’t posted by you.

1) Set up Google Alerts, a free email update that will alert you any time your company is mentioned on the net.  Any time your company or product/service is mentioned online Google sends you an alert and shows you where it is. Powerful stuff indeed.

2) Get to know Google Analytics and use it often.  This will not only allow you to track your social media campaigns it will also show you which websites are sending the most traffic your way. It’s a powerful tool to evaluate the success (or failure) of any marketing effort you make.

3) Use FaceBook Search to see who is talking about your company on the Face and of course what they’re saying about you.  (Hopefully it’s all positive.)

4) Search the same way on Twitter. If you recall we mentioned TweetDeck and Seesmic in an earlier part on Twitter.  Use these services to monitor any word or phrase and keep track of who’s using them and when.

5) Use any services that will push info back to you via email about specific phrases or words that you wish to track.  BackType is one such service that will send you an alert (similar to Google) when your company or the word or phrase you choose is mentioned anywhere online.

Keeping track of what’s being said about your company online may seem like a waste of time to some but the fact is that, if you do it well, you can see where you’re doing things right, where you’re making mistakes, and put out small fires before they get out of control.  Controlling what is being said about your company is impossible but responding in a timely manner and taking care of customers is certainly not and is vitally important in today’s hyper-fast information age.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this 8 Part series about Social Media Marketing and we wish you the best of luck in all of your future Social Media endeavors.  Check back often for more tips and information and take care!