Sow the seeds of success through good karma, brownie points and being a good sport
2 Years Ago in Business Strategy
Being good doesn't have to cost you a bomb.
A few minutes of your time, a special offer for local businesses, checking up on your customers... all cheaper than traditional advertising and probably more effective.
Restricting some extra special offers to your local area can be an effective way to grow your client base whilst helping out other small companies in your locality
It also gives you a solid hook for press releases, promotions and advertisements in your area.
Andrea, my partner, is a photographer who does a lot of commercial and wedding work.
She frequently provides commercial quality photographs - at no charge - to the venue after a wedding shoot, so they can use them in their promotional and marketing materials. They may or may not provide her with a credit.
But guess who they recommend when one of their wedding couples mention that they're looking for a photographer?
Does your relationship with the customer have to end the minute they buy your product?
You can make a very positive impression on recent buyers by sending an email or giving them a call to ask: "I just wondered how you are getting on with X, and if you had any questions?"
I can't believe more companies don't take this approach!
Existing customers can be a valuable group of people to you. Might they use you again? Or know other people who need your services?
We needed a plumber urgently. We were new to the area so we put a call out on our local Facebook group asking for recommendations. We got about 30.
The guy we used was friendly, efficient and priced very reasonably. We've recommended him to others at least 4 times since.
My point is this:
Lots and lots and lots of business gets done on the basis of recommendations. It's human nature. We're social animals. Etc.
The more people who know what you do, and know that you're GOOD at what you do, the more you will get recommended when opportunities come up.
Freemium means offering you product or service for free, and then charging for extras or upgrades.
It obviously won't work for all businesses. But if you can tie it in to your sales model, it's a lovely way to grow your company and raise awareness of your product.
Those with less resources get to try you out risk-free. Those with more resources won't hesitate to upgrade if they need the additional features or service you're offering.
Freemium is perfect for those products where the creation cost is a one off and the variable cost per user is very, very low. That is why this model is so popular for web-based services and software - e.g. MailChimp, Zendesk Live Chat, etc.
Offering free advice on social media can be a cost effective way to establish yourself as an expert in your field and build your professional reputation.
3 caveats if you want this to go well:
Trust us. Offer your professional advice freely, and if it is good enough, the sales will come to you.
Getting started can be the hardest part. So how should you do it?
We'd recommend researching topics that your potential clients might be interested in.
Initially, you may want to simply browse and become acquainted with the content that is already there. Maybe you can drop a few comments, even if it's only praising somebody else for providing good advice.
Once you have begun to establish yourself, you will gain the confidence to answer questions directly and get more involved with discussions and people there.
Eventually you could even start a Facebook or LinkedIn group to expand your reach.
Offering free advice sessions once a month can put you in touch with locals who may need your service in the future.
If your product or service is niche, and there are not enough locals to target, you could hold a webinar instead. Or advertise a time slot when you will be available to take phone calls.
My name is Martin and I've been your host for this article.
I am by no means a strong writer, but I hope you found it of value.
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