So you've started on the road to entrepreneurship and set up your own business - you got your ABN, your business cards and your branded pens. Just one thing - where are your customers? Obviously, if you want customers or clients, you're going to have to let people know that you are open for business. Here are 4 affordable and effective ways to do just that.
1. Offer Services At Cost - And Do a Great Job
Obviously you didn't get into business to break even - that's not the point of this tip. The point is to get a little bit of word of mouth going - do an over the top great job at cost (you do it at cost to get more people in the door initially) and then people will start talking about you and referring work to you. Think of that initial lost margin as advertising expense. Word of mouth is the highest quality advertising there is, as the leads weren't "sold" on you but were recommended to you by their friends. And of course it doesn't hurt that it's free.
2. Set Up Beneficial Partnerships & Alliances
This assumes that you know people in your industry and related industries, so if you don't, get out there and mingle. That said, it can be enormously beneficial to have an arrangment with another company that compliments rather than competes with you - so you'd be looking at either companies that do the same thing you do, but in another area, or companies that are related, such a panel beater and a mechanic. You can either set up a reciprocal relationship, with both of you passing leads on to each other, or you can pay a spotters fee. Either way, the leads are easy to convert (as you come off looking like a recommendation) and the relationship can grow into something more down the track.
3. A Website + Pay Per Click Marketing
Getting a website built can cost as little as $300 or as much as $100 000 - it depends on what you need it to do, and who builds it. A services based business probably doesn't need to spend more than $2500. The second part of this equation - Pay Per Click Marketing - targets people searching on search engines like Google or Yahoo, with your ad displaying on the right hand side of a search engine results page, and sometimes on top in the yellow strip. Every time your ad gets clicked on, you pay the search engine some money - that can be anywhere from 1c to $100, but most of the time you'll pay about $1 a click. The great thing about Pay Per Click Marketing is that you can create your campaign in a couple hours and be up and running pretty much immediately - and if you find it working great and you're booked out, you can pause it. Tracking results is also very easy, and you can attribute enquiries down to the ad clicked on or the keyword entered into the search engine. The ROI is often fantastic and you don't a minimun advertising budget.
4 Yellow Pages Online
You'll hear it said over and over again: "Yellow Pages is dying, people only use it to fix wonky tables or build miniature castles, and it costs thousands per year for an ad the size of your thumbnail!". Maybe, but the Yellow Pages Online directory is a little different - it's not quite as expensive and it leads to real enquiries. Besides, if you've bought a website and you've installed an analytics package like Google Analytics, you'll be able to see how many enquiries it leads to - if it doesn't justify the cost, then don't do it.
So that's that, 4 ways to get your business some leads in the door. If you're thinking about getting into business, or you already are and need some finance, talk to your perth based business finance broker today.
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