7 Low-Cost, High-Impact Small Business Marketing Tools

Originally written for a column in a trade mag.

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7 Low-Cost, High-Impact Small Business Marketing Tools

“I want to grow my business, but I don’t want to spend a lot of money. What should I do?”

It’s probably no surprise that this is one of the most popular questions I’m asked. In this article, you’ll learn about 7 low-cost, high-impact marketing tools you can quickly put to work in your business.

1. Up-sells and cross-sells. For every common solution you sell — from the simplest equipment sale to the most complex integration — you need pre-planned up-sells and cross-sells. An up-sell is offering a higher cost version of what you are selling. “Would you like the basic package which does X, or the advanced package which does Y?” A cross-sell is offering a related product or service. So, when a client purchases a new computer system, you might ask whether they need a new office suite to go along with it. Or a scanner and printer. Or backup services. Most resellers leave enormous sums of money on the table that can easily be scooped up by strategically planning simple up-sell and cross-sell opportunities.

2. Write an article. Choose a local newspaper or trade magazine and submit an article of interest to their readers. Include a byline that tells them how to get in touch with you, and how to get a special offer at your business. Looking for topics? The best idea generator for computer resellers is “Smart Computing in Plain English.\0? This is a brilliantly done magazine packed with article ideas you can adapt to your own business.

3. Send out a press release. If you haven’t already, gather contact information for the local newspapers and magazines in your area. Find a hook to tie a promotion to — for example, a reseller client of mine recently had a one-day sale tied to the anniversary of his town’s founding — and create a press release about it. This is an underused strategy. Free publicity in local cities and towns can be simple to get and extremely profitable.

4. Call your clients. Yes, call them. On the phone. In today’s rushed and hectic world, a little human attention goes a long way. If you want to turn spare minutes productive, keep a list of clients who bought from you in the last 30-90 days nearby. When you have free moments, call and ask how the solution you sold them is working. Aside from generating enormous good will (“they actually care about me!”) … some will have new needs or questions that will lead to new sales.

5. Receipts, invoices and business cards. Most businesses give out cryptic, code-ridden invoices and meaningless, fluff-filled business cards. Why not include a special offer or reminder of your referral program on every piece of communication a client or potential client might see? If you mail your invoices, include a handful of business cards in the envelope.

6. Create an E-mail newsletter. Collect the E-mail addresses of your clients (and, yes, be sure to get their permission to send them a newsletter). Every 7-14 days, select one of the most common questions you get asked and answer it in a friendly E-mail. After the Q&A, highlight any special offers you have, and provide a link back to you web site and your offline contact information.

7. Ask everyone for referrals. People who buy from you? Ask for referrals. People who don’t buy from you? Ask for referrals. Here’s a simple, no-cost way to increase your referrals: Before you deliver a solution, tell your client that you prefer getting new business by referral. Less money spent on advertising means better deals for clients like him/her, and you’d like to work with more people like him/her. Ask them, “after we’ve delivered this and you are thrilled with how things work, would you refer us to your friends/colleagues?” After you’ve delivered, make sure they are thrilled, and only then ask for a list of friends or colleagues who would want the same service and expertise.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous February 8, 2010 at 11:45 pm

good post but your font is very annoying

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2 andrew r January 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm

get a website and provide useful info.
Also do a pay per click program
Its real cheap

Reply

3 Anonymous December 5, 2008 at 11:09 pm

This is great information.  We have already implemented some of these and are looking forward to the results these other suggestions may produce.

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4 Anonymous December 6, 2008 at 4:09 am

This is great information.  We have already implemented some of these and are looking forward to the results these other suggestions may produce.

Reply

5 Anonymous December 5, 2008 at 1:49 pm

he best idea generator for computer resellers is “Smart Computing in Plain English.\0? This is a brilliantly done magazine packed with article ideas you can adapt to your own business.

Reply

6 Anonymous December 5, 2008 at 6:49 pm

he best idea generator for computer resellers is “Smart Computing in Plain English.? This is a brilliantly done magazine packed with article ideas you can adapt to your own business.

Reply

7 Anonymous November 17, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Less money spent on advertising means better deals for clients like him/her, and you’d like to work with more people like them.

Reply

8 Anonymous November 17, 2008 at 6:43 pm

Less money spent on advertising means better deals for clients like him/her, and you’d like to work with more people like them.

Reply

9 Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 7:30 am

I’ve heard about doing up-sells and cross sells all over the forum’s and have found that is where most of the money is made

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10 Anonymous November 16, 2008 at 12:30 pm

I’ve heard about doing up-sells and cross sells all over the forum’s and have found that is where most of the money is made

Reply

11 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 4:47 am

Referal business can be very profitable if done right!! This article is great for starters!! Will be back often to read more updates!
<a >uk web design</a>

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12 Anonymous October 30, 2008 at 9:47 am

Referal business can be very profitable if done right!! This article is great for starters!! Will be back often to read more updates!
<a >uk web design</a>

Reply

13 Anonymous October 14, 2008 at 12:57 pm

I agree with all 7 of these methods being low cost and highly effective.
That’s really good read for me.

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14 Anonymous July 11, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Exceptionally good article. For someone starting out on marketing, this article makes a whole lot of sense..!

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15 Anonymous July 12, 2008 at 4:56 am

Exceptionally good article. For someone starting out on marketing, this article makes a whole lot of sense..!

Reply

16 Anonymous January 5, 2006 at 7:02 am

I find this very informative. After read this briefly i increase my knowledge a lot keep it up.
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17 Anonymous March 21, 2005 at 1:04 am

These 7 low cost, highly effective marketing tools are some good advice. I’ve heard about doing up-sells and cross sells all over the forum’s and have found that is where most of the money is made. I agree with all 7 of these methods being low cost and highly effective.

Reply

18 Anonymous March 21, 2005 at 6:04 am

These 7 low cost, highly effective marketing tools are some good advice. I’ve heard about doing up-sells and cross sells all over the forum’s and have found that is where most of the money is made. I agree with all 7 of these methods being low cost and highly effective.

Reply

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