- Know your target market. Who are your “ideal” customers?
Where do they shop? What do they read? What solutions are they looking for that your business provides? The more you know about your customers, the better you’ll be able to target your promotions towards them, which will increase your bottom line two ways – it will save you spending money on advertising that doesn’t work, and it will increase your sales, because you’re offering your customers what they really want.
- Get double duty out of any contact with your customers. If you sell products, put your contact information on everything -products, bags, invoices sales receipts. Make it easy for everyone to find you. Give away something free. If you have a Website (and if you don’t, then get one), give your customers something for giving you their contact information. Free Ebooks, reports, or software are all good choices (just make sure it’s relevant to your customers). Anytime you send your customers anything – a product, a newsletter, an invoice -include a coupon or information about your latest products or services. To save money on postage, if you have a brick and mortar store, put a copy of your latest newsletter or an informational flyer in your customer’s bag after each sale.
- Reward your customers. Set up a reward program. Offer them a reward for anyone they refer who becomes a customer. Or give your customers a free gift when they spend $50 (or whatever amount makes sense in your business). When they’re eligible for the free gift, offer them an upgrade to something bigger or better for a few dollars more. Start a customer loyalty program. Provide “customer only” sales, or promotions. Let your customers earn points, or “magic money” that they can use to redeem your products or services.
- Get ready for your close-up. When you’re brainstorming about creating a promotion or advertising campaign, don’t forget about your local cable TV channel. You may be pleasantly surprised by how low their rates actually are. Create your own television commercial or infomercial. Although you may not be ready for prime time, you can still target your ad to reach your customers.
- Get involved in your community. Find a nonprofit organization that is doing work you believe in, and either publicly support their program, or be one of their sponsors for an upcoming event or fundraiser. Use the advertising spot to let people know about the fundraiser (and, incidentally, your business). You could put together an inexpensive ad campaign that will help those in need, increase your visibility and let your potential customers know that you’re supportive and aware of the needs of the community. “Make a new plan, Stan” (Business Planning Basics):
- Beef up your business plan. If you don’t have a business plan, make writing one a priority. Your business plan is more than just a way to interest investors. It’s a road map that will help you get from where you are now to where you want to be. That old saying, “If you fail to plan then you’re planning to fail” really is true when it comes to business. “No need to be coy, Roy” (Ask your customers):