Wednesday, July 6, 2011
By Michael E. Hart
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Michael_E._Hart
1. ONLINE Free Google Places Listing (even if you don't have a website). Claim your FREE listing and optimize it to the fullest with photographs, videos and coupons to help your customers get to know you and want to do business with you!
2. ONLINE Company Website. A website gives you the opportunity to establish a bigger "footprint" on the internet. It's as much about making an impression on the "search engines" as it is about impressing your prospects. The greater your presence and exposure online, the more attention you gain from major online search engines such as Google, Bing & Yahoo. To put it simply, having a website makes you more "relevant" in the eyes of those who have the greatest potential to send you new customers.
3. ONLINE Lead-Capture System (aka auto-responder). This is an important marketing tool that will help you KEEP and create more LOYAL customers. When someone decides to visit your website, wouldn't it be a good idea to get their name and email address? YES! Because once you have their contact information you can market your products / services to them again and again... and again. And that's what a lead-capture system can do for you. But don't abuse the privilege of being able to contact customers with the mere press of a button! They don't mind hearing from you as long as you have information that will benefit them.
4. OFFLINE Signs. This one is pretty simple, right? Use signs at your cash register and in your business window to let customers know that you're online and they can join your "preferred customer" list by signing up at your website! Let them know they'll get "special unadvertised deals" (or something to that effect) by being on your list!
5. OFFLINE Post-Cards. Business owners have a habit of overlooking the power of a simple postcard. Customers DON'T! And a powerful and bold message WILL capture their attention. What is a BOLD message? Well, consider first that a postcard, unlike a letter, does not have to be opened. As soon as they have it in their hands they SEE YOUR MESSAGE! What kind of message do you think they want to see? Your name and phone number? NO! Here's a hint: Your message should be one that makes them want to read the SMALL print to find your name and number!
6. OFFLINE Keep A List. You may not realize it but your customer list is your most valuable asset. Even if you're not online, you need to keep a list of your customers with their contact information. Equipment, buildings and supplies can be replaced easier, faster and cheaper than your customers can. Covet thy list my friend!
7. OFFLINE Joint Ventures. A joint venture is basically an "endorsed" introduction to the customers of another business. One business owner recommends your business (by email, letter, postcard, etc.) to their customer list. In return, you can offer a percentage of the profits that you earn from their customers or a flat rate for each customer you gain as a result. Possibilities are endless. This is the fastest way to build a new business that is just getting started from a dead stop!