Last week, Mark Ford revealed eight ways to make your small business boom — without blowing your marketing budget.
Mark’s advice was inspired by his Nicaraguan masseuse, Flavia, who is struggling to attract new clients. This week, Mark is back with another eight ideas.
Eight More Ways to Make Your Small Business Boom
By Mark Ford
1. Business cards
Flavia should carry business cards with her wherever she goes. They should be cute and friendly, but convey her message. She should keep them with her at all times, and give them out at every opportunity. The back of the card should offer a good reason to call her for an introductory session.
2. T-shirts and other paraphernalia
Flavia should have T-shirts made up, and distribute them to good customers and high-profile locals. Because she is photogenic, I’d advise her to put her face on the shirt, along with her name and something clever that will attract attention. This kind of publicity is not direct, and therefore she shouldn’t spend much money on it. But if her shirts are worn on the beaches and near swimming pools, it can only help promote her name.
3. Personal appearances
Flavia should give free demonstrations at the resorts and clubs her customers frequent. By offering to lecture on specific topics of interest, she will provide these places with something valuable, which they can pass along to their customers for free. Every appearance should end with a polished, low-key pitch that sells her products and services.
Flavia should write articles for local newspapers, magazines and websites (including her own). She should write about what she knows and establish herself as an expert in the particular style of massage therapy that she practices. She should be forceful in advocating the benefits of her style. She studied and mastered it because she believed it was the best…and it should be very easy for her to tell the public why she feels that way.
5. Deals with first-line promoters
In Flavia’s industry, the first-line promoters are the booking agents who get people to come to Nicaragua in the first place. Flavia should find out who they are and make deals with them. She should ask them to offer her services upfront as they are booking trips, and she should be prepared to pay a 50% commission to them on each treatment.
For the tour promoter, Flavia’s business is extra money that they don’t have to work hard to get. For the customer, it’s a thoughtful convenience. Flavia should make similar deals with all the local hotel operators and property managers. They have extra profits to gain and nothing to lose by passing along her information — or, better yet, providing a link on their email correspondence to their customers.
There are more than a dozen ways Flavia could promote her business through a personal website. Because of the nature of her business, her website doesn’t need to be very elaborate. It could include as little as a nice photo of herself, some information about her ‘style’ of treatment, her credentials and a list of services. She should not include prices on the website. And there is no need for elaborate graphics.
If Flavia pays more than $400 to have someone create her website, she will have paid too much.
7. Search engine optimisation
Flavia needs to understand what search engine optimisation (SEO) is, and how it works, so she can make sure that if someone searches online for massage or spa services in Nicaragua, her name will come up.
8. An email list of customers
Flavia should get the email address of every customer she works on, and send a little letter to her email list once or twice a month. Her e-letter should be fun and informal. It should announce the new products and services she is developing, and provide news and information about massage and other therapies, to establish goodwill and showcase her expertise.
The customer email list is, by far, the most valuable tool a small businessperson has. It can make the difference between a business that just gets by and one that is hugely successful.
The majority of these marketing strategies can apply to any small business. Think about how you can make them work in yours.
Thanks for those insights, Mark. I have no doubt Flavia and other small business owners will find them useful as they seek to grow their clientele.
For Markets and Money
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