Marketing proposals for the small office/home office environment that do not cost more than they bring in.
Going into business for yourself is a scary exercise. You have so much depending on your ability to close that sale, or deliver those goods on time, that often you get too caught up in the moment to deal with the future of the business. Eventually however this can paralyze your business as inevitably the goods go out or the sale is closed and where do you go from here? Any new business, or indeed any established business has to have a marketing plan. This is as essential as having an office phone. If people do not know about you how can they possibly utilize your services? Below are a few tips on cost effective ways to get your business noticed and start establishing a name for yourself.
Distributing Pamphlets: Even if your pamphlets are not professionally printed, make sure they look professional and get them distributed. Hire a few responsible college students and get them to distribute pamphlets at traffic lights. Leave them on counters wherever you can and for a small fee you can get them placed in people's post office boxes. Take a little time and effort and you can get them dropped into mailboxes at homes as well, rope family in to help you with this as it can be extremely tiring.
The same thing goes for business cards. Ensure your look is professional and distribute them freely. Never be caught without one. Recently I had taken my son to a jumping castle after gym, and got chatting with the owner of the castle. As it turned out he needed equipment that I specialized in, but I didn't have a business card on me.
I learned and now carry spares in my wallet as well as my car. It is imperative that your fax, phone and cellular numbers as well as your email address and web site are listed on your cards and make sure they are kept up to date.
Run specials. A buy one get one free special is always an incentive to shift away from an old supplier and try a new one, as is a large discount. Once you have them hooked they will come back again if the back-up service is as good as promised. Most newspapers will run free offer adverts for a reduced rate as it encourages people to buy more papers.
Have a web presence, and make sure it is vibrant, quick and easy to navigate. No one wants to wait for three days while your site downloads the most marvelous graphics. They will just go and look somewhere else. Similarly they don't want to have to hunt for contact details. Make sure the contact link is easy to see and on as many pages as possible.
Be gimmicky. Get clocks, mouse pads, photo frames, mugs, pens, games or any other conceivable item made with your logo and contact details prominently displayed. Most of these items can be made really cheaply if you shop around.
The bottom line is that your name has to be well known, and to do that will take a lot of leg work and some financial investment but in the long run this will pay off just make sure always that your delivery lives up to your promises. Remember word of mouth can lose you ten times as many customers as it will gain you.