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    6 Replies Latest reply on Sep 30, 2012 1:56 PM by Moderator Berta

    Mark Lane

    maryandsteve Wayfarer

      I'm a new business owner with no real experience and I can't afford advertising as we all know can negatively impact our profit margin, and besides word of mouth trying to figure out how to increase my client base in my community to increase my sales. It can be an overwhelming challenge to accomplish this in today's economy and with so much competition, if any business owners have any feedback I would most certainly be very grateful.

        • Re: Mark Lane
          Moderator Cath Guide

          Welcome, Mark - both to the community and to the world of small business ownership.  It would be helpful to those who would be willing to address your question to know if your business offers a product or a service.

           

          Don't play down the importance of word of mouth in advertising.  A happy client/customer can go far in spreading the word in your community and besides, it is free advertising.

           

          If you would be willing to share a little about your business and what you have to offer (without urls), we will try to share our best comments and suggestions.

           

          Cath

            • Re: Mark Lane
              maryandsteve Wayfarer

              Hi, I am the proud owner and sole employee of Marks quality carpet cleaning LLC. I steam clean carpeting  anywhere their is carpeting and a need to clean it. I take pride in my work and have great prices, and only work in fairfax county to keep my gas costs down. I always ask clients to tell their neighbor's about my services and business's as well for word of mouth free advertising, but have had very limited response. How can I saterate the county with how great my service is/how my workmanship and prices beat all without spendind money I don't have on advertising?

                • Re: Mark Lane
                  OfficeGoddess Navigator

                  I have successfully used postcard mailing to local businesses to grow my business.  Postcards don't have to be really expensive to produce - you can either make your own using Microsoft Word or purchase some good quality ones at Vistaprint.  You can create your own mailing list using the ResourceUSA database, accessible through your library (online if you have a card at most libraries) by narrowing down your requirements and saving the data to an Excel file.  Postcard postage fees are pretty small, comparatively and, if your market is targeted properly, should give you reasonable results.  Then, you can invest some of your initial profits into more extensive marketing.

                   

                  You may also try going door-to-door and either leaving door hangers (again, you can make your own in MS Word and have them printed at the local office supply store) or hire some high school kids for a small wage to hang them for you for residential customers, or try visiting commercial locations for a face-to-face introduction, leaving a flyer and maybe some kind of giveaway (like a large chocolate bar w/your company name banded on it to 'sweeten their day') keeping in mind that you will mostly interact with the receptionist.

                   

                  At any rate, I would offer a LIMITED TIME special as part of your marketing campaign.  For instance, you could charge $XX for the first room, and get a second room free (1st time customers only) or offer a 15% discount on a customer's first cleaning - something that makes financial sense to you and would entice you if YOU were a potential customer (look at it from their point of view) that expires after 30 days.

                   

                  Either option, you will need to spend SOME money on marketing, but it doesn't have to be significant at first.  My first marketing campaign cost me about $120 and I gained a client from my first mailing - since I am a bookkeeper, that one client paid for all of my marketing expense and allowed me to do more marketing.

                   

                  Lily Chambers

                  The Virtual Office Goddess, LLC

                  Author: How To Do Your Own Small Business Bookkeeping


              • Re: Mark Lane
                Moderator Cath Guide

                Try bartering.  Offer to clean a carpet in a business in exchange for them allowing to have your brochures on the counter by their check-out register.  A little free work from you might be a big advertising option.

                 

                Good luck in your endeavors.

                 

                Cath

                • Re: Mark Lane
                  Moderator Berta Guide

                  How are things going? You've gotten lots of great advice. Please keep us updated on your progress.

                   

                  ~Berta