11 Free and Low Cost Marketing Strategies to Turn Around a Cash-Strapped Business By Adam Urbanski
This past weekend I received a disturbing message from a dear friend. His business wasn't generating all the income he needed. He's exhausted all savings, started depleting credit card reserves and badly needed money to pay this month's mortgage...
Ouch! I wish I knew sooner...
Whether it's pride or just human nature that keeps professionals from asking for help sooner, it's just plain silly to keep "toughing it out" when there are so many strategies for generating new business fast. You see, there is really no shortage of new business; there is only a shortage of knowledge how to get this business. So if you are one of those professional folks who could use a few hundred bucks to help out with this month's mortgage, here are a few strategies to get your business buzzing with new customers or clients:
1. Get on the phone!
Pick up the phone and call everyone you know. Contact all clients, prospects, friends and family. Make sure they all know what you do, who you are looking for as a client, and how to "give you away."
2. Get out and meet people!
Sitting in the office, shuffling paperwork and piddling around with emails will not take you far enough fast enough. You need to be talking to people who can buy your product or service. Set a goal of how many people you want to see in person every day and find ways to meet that goal!
3. Stop competing and start leveraging!
Instead of being mad at your competitors for stealing all your business, approach them and offer to help out. At times we all get projects that are too big, too small, or too "whatever" for us to take on. Contact your competitors and ask if they would be willing to outsource their "too whatever" jobs to you - so that you can both make some dough. (Yeah, I know, it sounds like eating some humble bread -- but hey, I think it beats living under a bridge.)
4. Ask for referrals!
You should be doing this anyway. Have a conversation with all clients (past and current) and help them think of people they can introduce you to right away. Oh, and don't forget -- just because a prospect says "no," it doesn't mean he or she doesn't know someone who would gladly say "yes."
5. Crank up your follow-up!
Do you have a stack of cards from people who turned you down once before? Maybe it's time to resurrect them. Reach out to your "old" prospects - even if you previously gave up on them. Give them a call, send them a postcard or an article, and give them a special reason to say "yes" now!
6. Forgive your ex-clients!
Frequently ex-clients realize they made a mistake by getting involved with another vendor -- but they are too embarrassed to admit it. Give them a way to gracefully come back to you and many will do it.
7. Catch a COI!
Form an alliance with Centers of Influence who can introduce to a large number of prospects at once and give you instant credibility. Well thought out and carefully executed strategic alliances with COI can infuse your business with all the new sales you can handle.
8. Educate, educate, educate!
Regardless of what business you are in, you can always find things your clients and prospects would appreciate learning from you. How-to tips, informative case studies, industry reports -- those are all great tools that can easily attract prospects hungry for your "stuff."
9. Start thinking strategically!
If you are having trouble attracting enough new business, the marketing tactics above should help you get things hopping, but to achieve a long-term sustainable success you'll need to address your marketing on a strategic level. Identify or re-evaluate your ideal target market, clearly describe the benefits your product or service provides, create a compelling marketing message, re-evaluate your business model and re-define your methods of delivering your product or service, etc., etc.
10. Stop getting and start giving!
When you are in the "how I can GET a client" mode, you are focused on you -- and that doesn't make you very attractive. Shift your thinking to "how I can GIVE clients more VALUE" and you'll become an irresistible client magnet!
11. GET HELP!
When you are in the midst of a demanding situation, you cannot always have the clarity needed to creating solutions. Collaborate with a successful associate, start your own board of advisors or a mastermind group, or hire a marketing mentor to pull you out of the quicksand. Remember, when time and money count -- you can't afford the expensive "trial and error" learning curve!
Oh, and one final thought -- now that you are done reading - get busy implementing!
The author, Adam Urbanski, teaches service professionals and business owners how to develop better marketing strategies to increase sales and profits. His website offers more how-to articles and free tips to create a winning marketing action plan at The Marketing Mentors