Free or Almost Free Marketing Strategies, Tactics and Tools

The most frustrating thing about lists is knowing where to start. All of these ideas that I have either used or gleaned from my readings (thank you to all of my fellow marketers out there) are important and useful, but may distract you from what is really necessary to build your business.

Almost without exception you need to exhaust your marketing strategies that serve your clients and customers first as they are the source of repeat business and referrals. I was going to use the analogy that an “army is only as good as its line of supply” but when I went to research this quote online I learned that there are many more things that an army is only as good as; leaders, computers, medics, etc., but I still like the analogy. Without past customers and clients a business is going to falter.
My advice is to scan the list for things you can do better with your clients before you start trying to attract new clients. Remember that marketing is not a roll of the dice. It requires planning.

Dice

General Marketing Ideas

  1. Handle problems quickly and exceed your client’s expectations
  2. Listen 80% and talk 20% of the time
  3. Know your competition
  4. Perform a SWOT analysis – (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  5. Dress appropriately
  6. Outsource non-revenue generating activities

Creating your pitch

  1. Create a 30 second introduction for networking opportunities
  2. Write out your Mission Statement
  3. Write out your Unique Selling Proposition
  4. Rehearse your “elevator pitch”
  5. Revamp your voicemail to sell you and /or your service and your web site
  6. Change “I” and “we” language to “you” and “yours” language
  7. Be consistent in your marketing
  8. Use focus groups to test even if they are your friends
  9. Remember Publicity is cheaper than Advertising

Developing Your Marketing and Sales Message

  1. Write a frequently asked questions page and distribute it
  2. Create a brochure and print it on your home printer
  3. Create a flyer with rip off tabs to post at bulletin boards
  4. Hand out business cards
  5. Use catchy headlines
  6. Frequency is more important than quantity an sometimes quality (let me think about this some more)
  7. Speak and write in benefits not features
  8. Keeping a file of ads and marketing that impress you
  9. Understand the difference between advertising, marketing and sales
  10. Develop a marketing plan
  11. Pick a niche and focus there

Publicity

  1. Be a guest speaker at seminars and present on your area of expertise.
  2. Create an online press kit with high and low resolution press photos and a bio
  3. Write press releases
  4. Write pitch letters to magazine editors responding to their editorial calendar
  5. Submit an article to an ezines
  6. Build an effective media list with names of editors from publications in your industry
  7. Offer free consultations
  8. Get testimonials from your current clients – it boosts your credibility

Pricing

  1. Try couponing
  2. Buy one get one free
  3. Have a sale
  4. Product bundles
  5. Value pricing instead of hourly pricing
  6. Offer free samples
  7. Sell gift certificates
  8. Explore barter options
  9. Establish payment plans

Networking

  1. Write down your sphere of influence – all of them
  2. Join networking groups like the Chambers of Commerce, Industry Associations, BNI
  3. Start a database of clients
  4. Join a local business networking group
  5. Introduce the people in your network to each other
  6. Visit bulletin boards at web sites where fellow business owners and customers visit
  7. Participate in a discussion group or discussion list for your industry

Cross Promotion

  1. Newsletter cross promotion
  2. Product swap with a complementary product
  3. Create a special coupon discount just for members of each other’s lists
  4. Develop referral partners
  5. Find products/services that complement yours and team up

Joint Ventures

  1. Find a new joint venture partner and mentor each other
  2. Endorse each other’s products
  3. Refer business to one another
  4. Swap business cards

Advertising

  1. Create an online newsletters or ezine
  2. Sponsor a local contest
  3. Place a classified ad in your local paper
  4. Get a magnetic sign to put on your car
  5. Get your web address on a license plate
  6. Add a toll-free phone number

Paperwork
Distribution Channels

  1. Create your own affiliate program
  2. Identify and contact site’s with similar audiences to carry your product
  3. Allow people to buy in bulk at discount pricing and mark up your product to sell on their web site, in their store, at their workshops
  4. Check out brick and mortar stores that could carry your physical product

Speaking Engagements

  1. Get speaking gigs at the library, local business networking meetings, colleges, businesses, meeting planners, churches, and Rotary clubs, Lions Clubs
  2. Develop sizzling speaking topic titles
  3. Create a speaker brochure
  4. Add a list of your upcoming speaking engagements
  5. Create items for “back of the room” sales (tips booklets, special reports, audio tapes, video tapes, cds, books)

Email marketing

  1. Use email stationery
  2. Search online for potential customers and email them directly about your product
  3. Purchase lists and send a sales letter out
  4. Agree to swap solo mailings with a business friend in a joint venture

Other Promotional Ideas

  1. Design a point-of-purchase display for your product
  2. Place a sidewalk sign outside your store or office
  3. Develop a guarantee or warranty
  4. Put signs or paint logos on your company vehicle(s)
  5. Send thank you letters to new people you meet
  6. Create and place door hangers door to door in your neighborhood
  7. Give away samples
  8. Offer your product as a prize for a local or virtual contest
  9. Host your own Seminars
  10. Sponsor an event
  11. Exhibit at trade shows
  12. Create and send out post cards
  13. Change your business card to 2-sided

Hammer and Nail
Referrals

  1. Ask your current customers who they know that might be a potential customer
  2. Reward your current clients for their referrals
  3. Ask new customers to list names of 5 friends who might be interested in your business and give them a free gift or discount on their order when they do so
  4. Reward customers with a gift certificate or discount for every customer they refer to you

Alternative Media Options

  1. Bring donuts in branded boxes
  2. Use promotional items imprinted with your company name and logo
  3. Use coupon mailers, such as Val-Pak or Ad Art
  4. Advertise in school newspapers and yearbooks
  5. Supermarket entrance advertising (community bulletin boards)
  6. Try entertainment coupon books
  7. Advertise in synagogue and church bulletins

Email Keys

Web Site & Technology

  1. Make your website more interactive
  2. Respond quickly to voice-mails and emails
  3. Start a blog
  4. Write a guarantee to add to your order page
  5. Add testimonials from customers sprinkled throughout your web site
  6. Hold a contest
  7. Update your web site content
  8. Add how-to articles gathered from article directories
  9. Increase web site stickiness with a new freebie for visitors such as a free report or checklist
  10. Update your web graphics to create a more professional image
  11. Update your web site copy emphasizing benefits
  12. Use Youtube.com to build buzz
  13. Get rid of your fax machine and use a fax to email service

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