There are plenty of ways to let customers know about your products. Why not use things that are already in place for communication with clients?
1. Invoices: Fill your invoice statements with special offers or information about new products and services. Either add small brochures or flyers to the invoice letter or print your marketing message on the invoice itself. Remember - you are already paying for postage. So, why not fully utilizing this part of the business?!
2. Cash register receipts: If you generate receipts for your customers, they should include more than just a transaction record. If your cash register allows it - print a small marketing message at the bottom of each receipt. Or have it print out a second receipt that you hand the customer, too. Target as an example always prints out two receipts for the client. The first one is a regular receipt. The second one is for the case the customer has bought a present and does not want to hand the real receipt to the person receiving the present - but still allowing to return an item. It actually reminds the customer about buying presents at Target. You could use the same option to make customers aware of current specials that you are offering.
3. Occasion cards: Send birthday cards, Thanksgiving cards, congratulations cards—they're great ways to let customers know you care. This builds up a much higher level of customer loyalty.
4. Partner up. By partnering with other businesses in your marketing efforts, you can dramatically expand your results. Example: A web hosting business can team up with a local ISP (Internet Service Provider) or with a local web designer. The web designer uses your services for web hosting, while you refer any client to him who needs a website build.
5. Run a contest. People love contests. Just witness the huge success of game shows on television. People even love to see other people win! Why don't you run your own contest? If you choose to develop a promotional contest, make sure it is not a plain boring contest. Make it fun, make it silly, and don't forget to really hype it up. If your contest is wacky and crazy enough, you will be able to even get some good media coverage (mainly local radio stations / maybe local newspapers). That is free advertising for your business.
You will probably wondering how you can make money if you give away your products free of charge?! Well, it's a lot easier and less expensive than paying for a real advertising campaign. In fact, giveaways have their place in just about any type of business.
For consumer retail businesses, you may want to offer your product for free trial periods, or offer free estimates if you are in a service-oriented business. Let's assume your selling computer peripherals. Give away that nice, cool looking printer for free - and make the money on selling paper and extra ink cartridges. Once a customer is in your store, he might be buying something.
Limit the giveaways to the first 10 customers per hour or for a time period during the day. Many people will come, not everyone gets something for free, but maybe some will buy something from you anyway.
Giveaways work very well on the Internet, too. If you have a nice online store - spread the word through websites like Fatwallet.com or techbargains.com (and many others).
7. Packaging is king
"Don't judge a book by its cover," they old saying states -but as a book publisher I can tell you that the cover is exactly how most people judge books. If you walk around in a retail store, it's the odd-looking packages stand out and get the attention of the shopper. Use the same principle for your products - no matter if it is online or offline retailing.
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About the author
Christoph Puetz is a successful small business owner (Net Services USA LLC) and international author.
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Author: Christoph Puetz
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