Ten simple ways to increase your business without spending a fortuneJim DonovanIncrease mortgage originations The following are 10 simple ways you can market your business with little or no expense: 1. Get rich in a niche If you already have contacts and inroads in a particular industry or with a particular group of people, focus your efforts in that niche. By specializing in a specific industry, you can make the most of your marketing and maximize your effort. 2. Make every action serve more than one purpose. If you are giving a speech or seminar, use your outline to develop an article that you can use as a special report or newspaper story. If you are writing a sales letter, extract the key points to use in a speech to your local networking group. Design your advertising in a way that will enable you to use the same basic ad in different formats and publications. This will allow you to make the most of everything you do. 3. Mine the gold already in your business We tend to spend a lot of time chasing after new business while there are untapped opportunities with our existing customers. Learn to mine the gold you already have in your business. What other products or services could you offer your existing customers? How could you increase the frequency with which people buy from you or the amount of their purchases? You already have gold within your business just waiting to be mined. 4. Avoid mass media Unless you have very deep pockets, you cannot afford to use mass media to advertise. Daily newspapers, radio, TV and such can be very expensive ways to reach customers. Depending on who your customers are, you can usually find less expensive ways to reach them. Targeted publications, such as business journals, parenting publications and shopper and trade magazines, are generally less expensive and deliver to a more targeted audience. Telemarketing and writing sales letters to a highly focused mailing list of your target market are also effective solutions. The key is to define your customers and zero in on them with a focused message. 5. Use reports and specialized information Writing reports and articles is one of the best advertising methods and costs next to nothing. If you have knowledge that others find useful, you can write a special report and offer it to prospective customers. You can use the same information as the basis of a speech to groups who represent your customer base. You can send a letter to your prospective customer, offering a free report that will be of interest to him and solve a problem he has. The same approach can be used with an ad that gives an 800 number and says something like: "For 10 ways to ..., call (800) XXX-XXXX for a free report." 6. Use newsletters Another inexpensive way to build your business is by using newsletters. A newsletter has a 400 percent better chance of being read than an ad. This is because newsletters address the needs of your customer. A good newsletter will be about my needs and deliver information that will help me, the reader. Newsletters can be inexpensively produced on your computer and need not be fancy. The key is that they are sent at regular intervals (quarterly at the very least) and help your customer solve a problem of theirs. You can even offer advertising to other non-competing businesses as a way of sharing the costs. 7. Ask "What else can I do for you?" It always amazes me how people tend to overlook this simple question. If you ask it, you may be pleasantly surprised at the responses. There are needs your customers have right now that you could help them fill while building your business in the process. 8. Use classified ads Classifieds are a powerful, inexpensive method of reaching new customers. A well written classified can do wonders for your business. They are also a great way to test an idea before you commit to a larger ad budget. Many highly successful businesses have been built, using the lowly classified. 9. Form a mastermind group A powerful strategy first defined by Napoleon Hill in his classic book "Think and Grow Rich," the mastermind group is simply a group of like-minded individuals who meet on a regular basis to help each other succeed. Find a small group of people whose ideals and aspirations are similar to yours and arrange to meet regularly. The power of the group consciousness can multiply your brain power many times and bring you new insights and ideas. For more about this, read "Think and Grow Rich." 10. Serve your customers Continually look for ways to improve your service to your customer and add more value to your products and services. You will never be without a steady supply of business. The more you can add value to doing business with your company and provide more service to your customers, the better success you will enjoy. Institute a practice of making small incremental improvements daily in every area of your life. Jim Donovan is an author, business consultant and speaker, with more than 25 years of experience in business marketing and human performance. He may be reached at (215) 794-3826, via e-mail at [email protected] or visit www.jimdonovan.com.
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