Q: How do I market my business to prospective customers on a daily basis with a shoestring budget?
A: You're right on target in your desire to market daily. Research shows consumers need to hear a message at least three times for them to have name recognition and recall, and nine times before they become a customer. One-time or sporadic tactics are ineffective in increasing awareness, acceptance, preference and demand for your product. You can create more marketing momentum with daily action. One way to do this is to use a $4-a-day marketing program.
The basic strategy is to contact 10 clients, prospects or contacts each day, five days a week. You can contact them by phone, fax, e-mail, letter or postcard. You can send out press releases, sales or follow-up letters, brochures, special offers, information sheets or thank-you notes. Your cost is about 55 cents to print and mail five letters for a total of $2.75. The telephone calls or faxes cost about a quarter each for a total of $1.25. You do the math. If you're communicating by e-mail, your costs will be even less. Your goal is to create a combination of daily activities that help you communicate with existing as well as potential customers.
Here are some effective contacts and programs you can set up with just $4 a day:
- Send your existing customers' referral and buying incentives. Devote some energy to reselling to current customers again and again. Send all customers a post-purchase thank-you note that includes coupons for referring new people to you. You can also stay in contact via monthly postcard mailings that include a tip sheet about your business, a special sales invitation, a service call reminder or a mini newsletter.
- Introduce yourself to the media. Free publicity has the potential to boost your business. Contact your local newspaper's editor and offer to lend expert quotes for any articles or columns regarding your expertise, or put together an informational press release concerning new trends in your industry. Poll your customers to find out about new trends and include that information in your release as well.
- Invite people to your store. Be clever and piggyback onto events that can steer customers into your business. There are several celebrations each month you can promote with special offers. Look for other opportunities in the Chase Calendar of Events or on an online greeting service like Egreetings.com.
Remember: You must be consistent and do something every day for this program to work. It's easy to manage, inexpensive and potentially lucrative. So get going! -Kimberly Stansell