1. Inspire Customers To Call You
Do something really different. Send a monthly postcard instead of a hard copy newsletter. Self-printed cost is $0.46 ea. including the stamp. Make it fun and colorful with a strong “Call to Action” title, like: “100 reasons to call us. List 10-to-20 reasons, including your skills, talents, and tasks. Give customers a coupon for a discount, or a free doughnut, or something fun to inspire them to call.
2. Be Generous
To keep customers loyal to you, instead of a frequent buyer program, send your customers small “surprise” gifts. Customers come to expect rewards when they are members of a program. Surprises always work to instill loyalty and retention.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that promotional items are only for conferences and tradeshows. When given out with (or in place of) a business card at a lunch, a meeting or in passing, small promotional items become a gift. People expect free stuff at conferences, they don’t expect gifts. Keep a small, branded (and useful) item with you. You can be sure they’ll remember you. They don’t have to be expensive. Tip calculator cards, tea bags, pens and pads, small flashlights or things very target specific to your industry, like small packets of flower seeds for a gardener or landscaper with their contact information on it.
3. Feed Them And They Will Come
Anything involving food gets attention. At least it gets my attention. Partner up with local neighborhood businesses and a restaurant (or other service providers in a complimentary but non-competing industry if that’s your gig) to throw a special event, complete with noshing.
Combining your database with other businesses will expose you to an entirely different segment of people for a shoestring of the price. Use food to generate PR for your event too — one company I know of sent S’more’s kits to local TV newsrooms to help promote a camper and RV show. They got great results. Make it fun and different.
4. Help Other Employees
Offer employee incentives to various big businesses, or to smaller businesses in your hometown. For example, offer Southwest Airline employees 20% off their bill. Call their HQs and ask how you can offer discounts to their employees. It’s usually called ‘Employee Perks Program’ or something similar.
All you need to do is tell them what the discount is and they will post it on their website or post it in some other capacity. You can also print off coupons for their Human Resource department to distribute, or send them a digital coupon they can email to employees to print off. Don’t forget to put an offer ends date (usually 30-60 days) and a “customer must show employee ID to redeem coupon” requirement on the coupon!
5. Online-Map Listings
Online map listings are essential for businesses with brick-and-mortar locations. They are the first thing people see on search engines. They offer a concise snapshot of business info so customers can easily contact you or visit your store. And best of all, they don’t cost any money!” Make sure your business is on Google+ business, as well as all the local review sites and other map listings you can find.
6. Small Groups
It only takes one person to start a movement. So don’t hesitate to start an informal group that can provide something of value to the market in which you specialize. For example, a monthly breakfast discussion on current news and events in the smart phone app industry, or manufacturing or outdoor gear retail industry.
Leaders and business owners will come together in this informal, low-pressure situation, because keeping an eye on the state of the industry is their job. Since you’re the one providing the benefit of this group, they will already be predisposed to a positive relationship with you, and it’s a short leap to noting your business savvy in their field.
7. Great Relevant Content
We all know content rules, but what kind of content should you use? Simple. Relevant and related content the reader can use. Lots of people have the relevant content part down, but also create content areas, not just content.
These areas should be able to
(1) attract users and
(2) position you and your business as an expert in those areas.
For instance, if you’re selling hunting knives, create a content area on how to sharpen knives, or how to skin certain kinds of animals, or how to filet a fish. The content area should utilize your product if possible, but mostly it should have related content that attracts knife owners to your site.