So how do you advertise a new business? Naturally everyone is going to tell you internet, internet, internet, but there are other ways of growing a business. These are the traditional ways of business advertising that can bring in immediate results without spending a fortune on digital promotions that often don’t work at all.
The first way is Word of Mouth. Tell everyone in your family and everyone else you know that you are in business doing X. Now and then, one of these people will run across somebody who needs something done and will give them your number. They may even want it done themselves.
The most important corollary of Word of Mouth is “Do Not Burn Your Friends and Family”. Do a bad job, charge too much, show up late, and they will never recommend you again. Do a great job at a ridiculous price that undercuts all your competitors, and you will be well on your way.
Next off, you may want to consider a cheap “Saturation Raid” in an area where you would like to do business. Print up a bunch of flyers. Always include a coupon for some savings off your list price. Plaster every door and windshield in an area. Do not skip anybody, or else you will chicken out and skip almost everybody. If you get even one bite, you can use that as a reference to get everyone else nearby to at least consider you. If they see you do a good job and like your price, the word will spread like a prairie fire.
Keep some small 4×6 promotional items with you at all times. Every store you go into that has a bulletin board; you want to leave your mark on it. The most effective ones are snipped on the bottom so people can tear off a little strip that has your phone number and take it with them. Be sure that what you do is also listed on the little strip. Two weeks later, people find your number on the floor and can’t remember why they wanted it. Babysitting 555-5555.
Quid Pro Quo, or This for That, is a good way to build up a business-to-business network from scratch. Recommend someone who is in a related field but not a direct competitor. In return, you expect them to recommend you. This works best when you can turn a potential contact number over to them right up front and then suggest that they need to reciprocate. If they say no, find someone else to network with.
Cold Calling is where the men are separated from the boys. If you see someone who might have need of your products or services, approach them respectfully and inquire. Be polite and conversational, but also let them know that you would like to have their business and would be willing to cut them a deal. At this point, many people will want to know what kind of deal just out of curiosity.
Make it a good one. You need cash flow and references most of all and can get by with just making a little bit on the job for now. Without a reputation, the only lever you have is a price low enough to make people willing to take a chance on you. Maybe this seems a little far off the advertising track, but it isn’t. What you are selling with every campaign and contact is a superior product and an unbeatable price. Those are your two most effective advertising tools of all.
As you expand, you will want to consider advertising in the local newspaper if one still exists and various weekly shoppers. The people most likely to read these things are OLD and can no longer do stuff for themselves anymore. Yet they still need it done, have few if any internet skills, and thus represent a very under-served market from an advertising standpoint. Be prepared to stay and talk for a while. You can land a job just so they’ll have someone nice to talk to.
While all this is going on, you also need to say on top of your promotional products as well. Never, never, never be without business cards. No business card equals amateur or loser in the eyes of prospective customers. Turn your vehicle into a rolling billboard with one of those vinyl skins. Order some nice, I said NICE, coffee cups and baseball caps. Give these away when the moment seems right, such as a Thank You gift for someone who gave you a big job. People love free stuff but only if it’s nice free stuff. Promotional gifts from https://www.artik.com/ can display all your contact information, the same as a business card however you’re presenting a potential client with something of use to them.
Every time you do land a big job or sale, plow some of the profits back into an expansion of your advertising efforts. No campaign or strategy reaches every prospective customer or even customer demographic. Take a chance on some experimental ideas once in a while just to see if they hook any new fish.
Always answer the phone and meet with your potential customers immediately. 90% of the business goes to the first guy who gets there, assuming he seems like he knows what he’s doing and has a good price. Do it today even while your competitors are setting up appointments for tomorrow or Thursday. Close the deal today.