Every home business has the same problem of how to increase sales without a hugely expensive marketing campaign. By utilising the following simple ideas you will be able to do just that.
1) Use your invoices as an advertising tool.
Whether you get your invoices printed professionally or use the invoicing function on your bookkeeping software, ensure that you place some type of advertising on the form. This method provides positive reinforcement of what your business offers. An attractive invoice gives two huge benefits:- your customers are more likely to remember you next time they require that product/service and they will pay the invoice more quickly.
2) Have a business card.
Many small business owners think that they don't need a business card because that is something for the “big boys". Having your own card will present an impression of being professional in your approach. Even if you rarely deal with your customers face-to-face it is a good way to promote said professionalism to other businesses. An example would be a meeting with a new supplier. When asked for your business name and address, simply hand over your card. (Bonus tip:- only look smug on the inside. )
3) Use name tags.
Buy some name tags for you and your employees to wear. They are cheap to buy and can include the persons name, their position in the business and, of course, the business name. Consider having clothing with the business name on it. If you or your staff are in regular contact with customers, it makes sense to push your name forward at every opportunity.
4) Get a free ‘phone number.
Most major telephone companies offer a free ‘phone service. If your main source of new customers is by telephone, it can provide a significant increase in sales. Customer perception of your business is also improved.
5) Write a business newsletter.
This is a good way to let your customers know of any special offers or promotions you may be running. Don't focus too highly on making it a sales letter, though. You should include advice not directly linked to sales. For example, if you sell garden products or services, include an article on how and when to properly prune roses. Your customers will appreciate your expertise.
6) Have an attractive window display.
If your sales outlet is a shop it is important to be able to attract customers through the front door. Even if you can't afford the services of a professional window dresser, take a bit of time when you are next at a shopping centre and look at what the major chains are doing. They spend a fortune on getting it right so you are bound to pick up a few tips.
7) Offer free samples.
Everyone likes a freebie. Give your customers something for nothing. Don't just offer something cheap as if you got it for free, but provide something of true value. Put a bit extra into the order box you send out or pop a couple of extra apples into the bag AFTER it has been weighed and paid for. People remember these little touches.
8) Use business vehicles as a mobile advertising poster.
Whether you have a van, car or a smalll fleet, make sure you have your business name and logo clearly displayed on your vehicles. You may not want to have a huge banner on the side of your car but you could consider the likes of a bumper sticker or a small sign in the back window.
9) Advertise on your faxes and emails.
Similar to your invoices in this regard. Most small businesses will have a letterhead on their stationery but will forget that a lot of customer contact nowadays is done by fax and email. Ensure that every communication you have with your customers has details of your business included on it.
10) Include a brochure in your letters to customers.
This is similar to a newsletter but what it allows you to do is much more “hard sell". A newsletter gives a general feel of what you are providing whereas a brochure should be used to directly sell your business. Include details of prices, new lines or services and how to get in touch.
All of the above have one main purpose, to increase your crediblity with all you come into contact with in your business life, customers and suppliers alike. Try using some or all in your business and you will find that they make a measurable difference.
Allan Cowley is a Life Coach working with clients throughout the world. He provides online coaching in self improvement, goal setting, time management and small business development. You can contact Allan on his website at:- http://www.uk-success-coach.com/