“There’s no free lunch.” Baloney!
Whether you’re just starting out or have a well-established business, the truth is that some of the most powerful ways to grow your business can be had for free! And these work whether you’re netting $50,000 a year business or a $10,000,000 a year business.
Here are two no-cost, high return ideas you can take to the bank:
Use Free Publicity To Increase Sales
Advertising in any medium costs a pretty penny and can quickly bleed you dry, but you can get great publicity for free. You can start by writing articles to establish yourself as an expert in your business. Then get them published where the greatest number of potential clients will read them.
Years ago, before there were good directories of articles online, I collected over 600 online editors’ email addresses and sent my articles to them on a regular basis. While this was a good idea, the next one I’m going to tell you about is even more powerful.
Collaborate to Widen Your Reach
I met Michael Angier at a marketing conference in 2000 and we discovered our target markets overlapped. We both had built lists of five to six hundred editors interested in our small business marketing and sales articles. The synergy was obvious. Michael emailed me his list. I added it to mine, culled the duplicates and sent it back to him. The result?
At the cost of a couple hours of effort, I increased the reach of my list to 900 editors, dramatically increasing the readership of my articles. At almost no cost I was getting tons of publicity.
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Use Marketing Partnerships
Over the years my business has grown steadily, but there were points when sales jumped to new levels. In many cases the leap in sales was due to a new partnership or collaboration. These have taken time to develop and negotiate but have more than paid off in increased sales and profits.
This past fall I signed on a handful of new super affiliates who promote my products to their mega-lists. As a result, I more than doubled sales in three months with no additional advertising costs.
Of course my marketing partners earn a percentage of my sales through their lists, but each promotional partner helps my business grow.
Find Partners For Profit
How do you find small business marketing partners? Start with your clients and their needs and interests. Businesses that target the same people you serve and provide related products and services are potential marketing partners.
Unless you’re a company like Walmart that provides an enormous scope of products and services, there are going to be many companies selling a product or service to the same target market that complements what you’re marketing.
Let me give you a few examples.
You’re an athletic trainer. You could partner with someone who provides sports massage or nutrition counseling. Even weekend warriors will benefit from this combination of services. You promote each other and all of you could double your clientele at no cost.
Or if you own a web site that sells shoes, you could offer a $25 discount coupon with each sale over $75 that your customers can use on a partner site that sells socks, and vice a versa. You both generate more sales and make more money without actually spending a penny.
Or if you’re a voice coach working with aspiring executives you could partner with a leadership or sales coach. If you each provide your partner with the marketing collateral they need to promote you, your cost is minimal and you both double your marketing reach.
Each time you partner with a business that has a broad customer base, you’ll dramatically increase your sales and profits. And you’ll do so at almost no-cost.
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3 Steps to Finding Marketing Partners
1. Identify the key characteristics of your target market. Who are they? Where are they? What do they want and need? The best marketing partners aren’t your competitors, but businesses that provide a related product or service your target market’s needs.
2. List related products and services your customers want. One goal of a marketing partnership is to make more money for both partners at minimal cost. Approach this from your customers’ point of view. Think about what they want and how your marketing partnership can meet more of their needs.
3. Make a list of potential marketing partners and then email them, call them, and explain why they should partner with you. Demonstrate the benefits for them and their customers. Send them samples. Be persistent.
There are dozens of other ways to position and expand your business, strategies that work whether you’re just starting out or you’re growing a well-established business.
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Small Business Marketing Secrets That Make You Money