Wednesday, September 17, 2008

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Marketing Dollars!

Times are tough right now. But as they say - time for the tough to get going! Some people feel the easiest place to cut expenses is their marketing budget. The reality is that if customers don’t know about you, you won’t have customers. Your business needs to be top of mind if you want bodies in your chairs! During these economic times, it is more important than ever to be in front of customers. Here are some quick hitting ways to take your limited marketing budget the extra mile.

Target your existing clients instead of prospects. Reaching out for new clients is pricey and it can be some time before you see the return on your investment. Current customers are your proven performers. They know you, they come to you, they trust you. Try inexpensive emails or low-cost postcards to boast about new services, new product lines, or special discounts. Offer a free gift with any service. Need creative design help? Ask a local high school or college for an marketing intern student. No charge to you. Experience for them. Win-Win!

Start a VIP Club. Everyone likes to feel special. Create a loyalty program for your clients. The more they spend the more they save. Offer VIP only promotions. Clients will feel valued andwill keep coming back for more.

Negotiate with your suppliers. If you don’t ask, you won’t get it. Ask your distributor about co-op advertising options. Use their creative designs for your ads. Saves you the marketing costs to have it created. Ask about already produced product line salon signage. Negotitate this to be included in your retail product orders. Inquire about manufacturer promotions that you can pass along to your clients. If you place print or radio ads, lock in a deal for a whole year. By securing a longer term contract you will receive a lower cost per ad.

Referral Power. Offer current clients a discount or special offer if they pass a new client your way. Low cost and the testimonial of the current customer packs a powerful punch!

The most powerful promotional word – FREE. Add a free service with a purchase of another service. Offer a free gift of all those sample trial sizes taking over inventory space. Super low cost and your client will feel like a star. Plus you might get them interested in paying for a new service or product.

Piggyback Partners. Work with local businesses to offer co-op specials. If there is a fashion boutique next to your salon? Why not host a fashion brunch together. Offer to do the hair and make-up for the models. Split the costs of the show. Rope in the restaurant on the corner to kick in the food. Get creative here and you will be amazed at the buzz you create!

For a Cause. Have your business champion a charity or event. Pick something you feel passionate about -- breast cancer awareness, or Make-A-Wish-Foundation, or even a community event. Align yourself with the cause and create a promotion for your business. This could be a charity walk, auction, dinner, or a parade. Donate a portion of your profits or ask clients to participate. Not only will you be supporting a great cause, but you will enhance your business image.

Marketing smarter not harder to get the most bang for your buck! Please share your own tips and tricks to make the most of your promotional budget. Comment below or visit our myspace page at Happy Selling!

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