By Richard Larson
Your customers are faced with so much “noise” throughout the day. Commercials, infomercials, web ads, pop up ads, radio jingles and so much more. No wonder that marketers are always looking for creative ways to develop a pitch that will be heard above all the din!
If you’re looking for a winning marketing strategy, then put aside the usual and go with the unusual. Leverage your strategies to win new customers as well as to upsell your current customers to higher profit line products. Please read on for seven examples of attention-getting marketing strategies.
1. Remember birthdays – Your local ice cream shop gives customers a free scoop on their birthday, so why not take this idea and apply it to your business? You may not have a tangible product to offer, but you might have a service that people want.
For instance, if you own an HVAC company you can offer people free filters when they fill out a card with their contact and birthday information. Weeks before their birthday, you send out a card inviting them to stop by to pick up their filters. Those that do show up will be glad for the gift and may listen long enough for you to pitch your $89 annual inspection.
2. Provide a free lunch – You may not be able to afford to take every prospective client to lunch, but you can bring lunch to them and for just a few dollars per person.
First, identify potential clients and find out where they work. Second, purchase colorful or whimsical lunch bags and attach your business card to each one. Third, place a water bottle, chips, a fruit snack and a dessert inside the back. Finally, include a note where you explain that you know how busy they are, but would like to discuss your service over lunch as already provided. This strategy can be useful for financial consultant or personal coach who brings her service to customers.
3. Reward your top customers – In today’s competitive business environment, you not only want new customers, but you need to retain your current ones. Your top customers support your business, what are you doing to reward their patronage?
Plan to take your most loyal customers out to dinner once per year. Or, if your customer has a favorite team and you have box tickets, take this customer to the game. When you take your customer out to dinner, you validate his importance to you. Moreover, the IRS will allow you to deduct up to 50 percent of your unreimbursed entertainment expenses, therefore don’t skimp here. If your customer is in another state, you can send tickets to a local play or opera, or a gift card for a nearby restaurant.
4. Promote your top customers – One strategy of customer retention and business growth is to tell your other customers about the services your top customers offer. Before you employ this strategy, you’ll need the permission of each customer you intend to promote.
You can mention your customer’s service in your newsletter. For example, you might say, “Visit Pete’s Dry Cleaning for the very best service.” You not only bring your shirts to Pete, but you manage his books. Share his address, phone number and website with your customers. You’ll keep Pete happy and if he opens another location, you’ll be called on to take care of those books too. Your other customers will want a “shout out” too!
5. Bring your own parts – If you own a repair business, why not do something different and encourage your customers to bring their own parts? That way, they can shop for what they need and their only cost will be labor.
This option can be ideal for an automotive repair facility. Your customers will stop by their local auto discount store and buy the motor oil and oil filter needed for an oil change. You’ll change their oil, recycle the same and replace the oil filter. You charge half the cost of a full service oil change and both you and your customer come out ahead.
6. Sell them with nostalgia – If you cater to older clientele, find out what product of their youth was popular and give these away. For instance, hoola hoops became popular in the late 1950s, therefore if you are seeking to attract seniors to your active lifestyle community, give away hoops with your business name embossed on it. You could offer to give free lessons to people who stop by to look at your residence too.
Another option is to temporarily roll back prices on a popular item to yesterday’s prices. For example, if you run a restaurant, you can have “10 cent pop nights” to reflect soda prices from the 1960s. Work with your distributor to get a better deal on your refreshments; you’ll still make money when your customers buy fries, burgers, sandwiches and desserts.
7. Sell it on tee shirts – Back in the 1970s, Coca-Cola developed an entire line of clothing with its label plastered all over it. People actually bought shirts, pants and handbags from Coke, a trendy way for the soda company to market itself with their customers paying for it.
Your customers may not be willing to buy your shirts, but you can invest in a few hundred tee shirts and give these away to people you know that will wear them. Such shirts can be worn for years and if they’re colorful or otherwise unusual, they’ll get noticed by whoever sees them around town.
Clearly, there are infinite number of strategies you can employ to attract and retain your customers. Always under promise, over deliver and do so on time. Use humor to market your products and evaluate your customer service, taking each complaint seriously and learning from them.
Richard Larson is Brand Manager at the UK’s leading online supplier of promotional umbrellas and printed clothing, Go Promotional.