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OTHER ITA SITES:
Advertising Isn't The Only Way To Grow A Company
Watching otherwise successful companies miss huge opportunities for growth is probably my greatest frustration.
Just yesterday a business owner I spoke with said, "that won't work for us". He was adamant that no form of marketing would work for his industry other than cold calling. He's wrong. And his growth is hindered by such a closed view. Many of his competitors totally dominate him. He's forced to work long hours as a slave to his company and unable to take off more than two or three consecutive days a year. His family rarely sees much of him.
This isn't completely his fault though. Traditional advertising had been such a huge waste of money for him that anytime something new comes up he immediately discredits it without checking.
He’s not alone.
Business owners are so tired of over-hyped marketing promises from online and offline advertisers that as soon as anyone mentions anything remotely related to increasing sales they flee like an ostrich that runs and buries its head in the dirt.
It only takes once or twice of being burned by empty promises before people began to think that marketing doesn't work. They stop believing in possibilities.
I admit it. I've been burned too. In the early 90's I took every penny I had (and then some) and put it into a cluster of radio commercials to promote a business I owned back then. The ad agent told wonderful stories of how so-and-so used radio ads and became an overnight success. I was excited for that to happen to me too.
He lied. I lost everything. That was a very painful learning experience.
No wonder people are reluctant to believe in marketing. Sometimes it takes hitting bottom before we learn how to reach the top. No child came out of its mom's womb walking. Falling is part of the learning process. At least that's what I tell myself.
Really though it doesn't have to be that way.
Smart marketing is totally measurable and predictable. And it doesn't involve spending more money on ads. It took me a long time to learn that.
The two most overlooked areas of fast business growth include marketing to past and current clients and customers.
The first area involves increasing the frequency of client purchases.
The more frequently clients buy, the more money a company generates. Offering exclusive incentives, coupons, discounts, or special offers arranged with other companies or vendors are just a few ways to get clients to buy more frequently. This doesn't mean screaming "sale" every few days either.
One company near me sends out a mailer once a month that shows some of their new, special interest arrivals. There are no coupons. Everything is available at full price. How do they get away with this? They are not positioning their offers as low ball, loss leader offers. They are promoting limited availability, seasonal availability, uniqueness and exclusivity. For that, people are willing to pay full price. After all, in the eyes of their buyers these are not commodity items. These are something special you can’t find anywhere else.
Exclusive offers are easy to pull off. Do you have excess inventory you’d love to get rid of? Why not make an exclusive offer to a select group of clients or maybe to all of your clients and no one else? They will love you for thinking of them.
How ever you choose to pull this off the bottom line is to encourage existing clients to buy more frequently. Special offers is just one way to do that.
The second most overlooked area of fast business growth involves increasing customer retention.
Clients drift away for a number of reasons. Often complacency of the business owner and staff is the cause. Other times clients drift away for reasons that have nothing to do with us. “Salvaging” clients from leaving has the same impact on a company's bottom line as increasing sales by that percentage.
For example, if a business normally has an annual 30% loss of clients but works to bring that to zero, that is the same as giving the business a 30% increase in sales. But the best part is, the business grows without taking on a single dollar of additional advertising expense. This is as close to getting free money as a business is likely ever to find.
And it’s far easier and cheaper to improve the bottom line by preventing attrition, than prospecting or advertising to generate sales through new clients.
These are just a few ways to increase sales without spending more on advertising. There are dozens more. Test different ideas. The goal is to avoid missing the opportunities for growth others in your industry may be overlooking right now.
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