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Creative (and Free!) Ways to Grow Your Business By Alan Melton
As you may know, getting word-of-mouth business is one of the most powerful ways to grow your business. Below are some creative ways to “prime the pump” and get others to promote and grow your business and refer you…..and all of these things are free!
Do Press Releases. Your local media is always looking for current news events. Every time you hire someone, promote someone, receive an award, have a grand reopening, move to a new location, or anything else of note write a press release. Find out who your local business editors are and send them an email with your news. Many of your releases will be printed by the local newspapers. Also from time to time a writer may contact you to write an article about your services… maybe even a front page article with your photo!
Barter Your Services. Bartering is trading services and products with another individual or company. A throwback from the past, bartering has become quite popular again.
Think about the kinds of services that you are presently paying to use. Some examples may include accountants, advertising companies, attorneys, automobile mechanics, chiropractors, doctors, graphic designers, HVAC contractors, roofers, plumbers, sales trainers, etc. These small business people may need your service and you may need their services. Trade retail to retail. This is a great way to get business experience and their services in return.
Join Bartering Clubs. Join a bartering club and you get free marketing of your service. Some clubs will even provide an unlimited amount of promotions of your services in their e-newsletters. When you provide your services the retail amount of your services go into a bank, less the broker fee which is typically around 6%. Then you can spend your barter dollars with other barter club members….restaurants, hotels, service providers, advertisers, social media experts, you name it.
Free Services to Referral Sources. One great way to get endorsements and referrals is to provide free services to high profile people and to service providers such as accountants, attorneys or bankers or any other service provider that works you’re your prospects. Your agreement at the beginning of the relationship is that you will receive endorsements and referrals from your client in exchange for your services.
Offer Gift Certificates for Free or Discounted Services. Chambers of Commerce, Civic Clubs and Charities are always looking for donations for special events. You can select the time of day, week or year to coincide with your slow times. Freely give out gift certificates for a free or discounted service. Your name will be promoted by the organization and you will get exposure to business owners when you provide the free service. If you do a good job with the service you may get a client, a referral or both!
Make Referrals. Be generous in making referrals to others and you will receive in like manner. Be attentive when talking with others about a service they need and service providers that you may connect them with.
Get Testimonials. Make sure you always get testimonials for your services every time whether a barter client, free coaching client or a paid client. The reason most clients don’t give a testimonial is because you haven’t made it easy enough for the client. Simply bring your pen and paper to your meeting or your phone call and ask the client how they benefited from your coaching. Jot down their response, then type it up for them and send them an email requesting their approval. If they are very busy this may also require a follow up phone call. Once you have their approval you can place on your website, your marketing materials or even on your office wall. One extra thing you can do is send them a Linkedin request for a recommendation. Ask your client to copy and paste the testimonial into the Linkedin field that is provided to them.
Partner With Complementary Businesses. If you do your job as a service provider, you will become a trusted advisor with your clients. This will place you in a great position to recommend your clients to all kinds of service providers; web designers, graphic designers, banks, accountants, the list goes on and on. These B2B companies likewise are in a position to refer you as well. You can be intentional with these complementary businesses and become strategic partners. Plan to help each other.
Co-Brand. Another step you can take with strategic partners is to jointly market and promote your businesses. You can create marketing materials, advertising campaigns, business socials, etc with your strategic partners.
Using these free ideas to grow your business can make a big impact on your profits. Check out the strategies below to ramp things up even faster!