Following on from the last two posts here is the third part of my 4 part series on Low Cost, High Impact Marketing Strategies that I hope will help you shake things up a bit, without shaking out the piggy bank.
#7: Join Your Local Business Group or Chamber of Commerce
Have you ever considered joining your local Business 2 Business club, Chamber of Commerce or equivalent? It was something that I had mulled over for a long time. There may be a couple of groups in your local area and there are two really good reasons for joining: (1) networking and meeting potential customers for your own business; and (2) find business partners who could support the running of your business (printers, computer technicians, bookkeepers, virtual assistant, etc).
The clinchers for joining a group should be an organisation that: (A) hold professionally run meetings on a frequency that suits you and you know you can commit to, (B) have a particular theme or guest speaker for their meetings (more bang for your buck—I like that!) and (C) have great energy and are genuinely passionate about helping each other grow their businesses.
ACTION: Get yourself on the mailing list for a couple of Chamber of Commerce or Business 2 Business clubs and watch their emails for a while to pick up the way they operate:
- Do they often cancel, reschedule or postpone events? This could be a sign that they are poorly run or don’t have good patronage.
- Do they charge a reasonable fee? Some business networking groups charge high annual memberships and enforce that you attend on a weekly basis to maintain your membership, so please make sure that you research the fees and attendance policies.
- After watching them for a little while, attend a few meetings and see how you feel during and after the event. You should enjoy it, find the members welcoming and open and come away feeling recharged and full of energy.
I absolutely love the way the internet delivers the information I want — right to my inbox! As well as having my own e-newsletter (ezine) I subscribe to quite a few others. They are such a brilliant way to keep on top of the issues that interest you. But aside from all that, they are a great way to capture visitors and leads who are visiting your website. Encouraging visitors to subscribe to an ezine from your website allows you to keep in contact with people who have shown an interest in your products or services. A website without an ‘invitation to subscribe’ is an opportunity lost to stay in contact with potential clients and customers. If you use a ‘list management’ organisation to publish your ezines, it gives you terrific reporting capabilities. You can:
- how many people opened the email
- see how many clicked through from your ezine to your site; and
- do ‘split tests’ of an ezine (sending variations of the same ezine to different groups) to see varying successes of your open & click-through rates.
ACTION: Subscriptions to online list management platforms aren’t very expensive, but you can always start out with a free version – Mailchimp offer a free plan with subscribers capped at 2000 – perfect if you are starting out. Mailchimp is one I find very user friendly but there are many online list management platforms out there to help make ezine publishing a breeze, but if you are looking to take out a paid subscription, I would first recommend doing some online research to compare products or ask a Virtual Assistant for help. First hand advice from an experienced user can be priceless.
#9: Your Reputation
Mmm, reputation—wasn’t that what someone at high school had? Seriously though, good or bad reputations stick don’t they? When you think about it, the principle doesn’t change through our lives, we all know someone who can talk the leg off a chair, skims on their part of the bill and that person who makes you wince when they telephone. Sure we all do things that are annoying to others or a little out of character at times and regret it, but it is the overall average of our actions that represent us, not the occasional ‘curve balls’ that sometimes occur.
Try something to ensure the image of a friendly and easy person to contact are conveyed: actually smile when you answer the phone — you can hear it! I had someone phone me recently; we are both members of a Group, but had never spoke directly or been introduced. After a couple of minutes of conversation I recognised her from her voice. I could recall listening to her in a meeting and listening to her energy and positivity over the phone, I put two and two together! It’s important to stop, take a minute and reflect on your approach to people.
ACTION: Take a quick test to find out the image or reputation you project to your clients.
- With a pen and paper, take yourself somewhere you can sit quietly for 5 minutes.
- Sit comfortably, relax, close your eyes and recall moments of yourself conducting business with clients in different scenarios. Genuinely look at yourself from the opposite side, see it through their eyes and imagine how you made them feel.
- When you have finished how do you feel? Did you wince a couple of times and feel regretful about situations? Did you smile and feel confident and proud of your actions?
- On the sheet of paper, make two columns. In the 1st column write down the actions you thought were good (made you smile, content or proud). In the 2nd column write down the actions that you can improve on (things that made you wince, frown or feel regretful).
- Look at the 1st column: actions that your clients may see favourably – things that can enhance your reputation and try to foster these actions.
- Look at the 2nd column: actions that your clients may find annoying and distasteful. This is a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes and strive to improve things. It is never too late to fix a wrong and put things right— a situation was never made worse by an offer to make amends!
I hope you find these Low Cost, High Impact Marketing Strategies helpful and be sure to look out for the next and final installment of this 4 part series on Low Cost, High Impact Marketing Strategies.