The first Low-Cost, No-Cost marketing article was a huge hit! Thanks to all of you who responded to me with your feedback. I was impressed with your comments and realized this is a topic that I can continue to write about because it's always relevant and necessary.
Marketing is essential for business growth and profitability. In business we can not afford to forget about or put off the important task of marketing our business. But then why is it the last thing we think of or why do we convince ourselves we don't have the time or money for it. I consistently talk to business owners who tell me they hate marketing, they don't have time for it and they guarantee me they are busy enough. I understand their frustration and yet marketing is critical - it's insurance for future business success. And it can be fun.
Not only does marketing impact your business today - I believe it helps guarantee your business will be around in the future. I have watched many businesses go under because the work just stopped coming in. They may have ridden a wave for a while but when the wave was over - there was no work coming in. One day they were busy and then when things slowed down or stopped, it was too late to start marketing.
Marketing must be a continual, habitual business practice. In order to develop a strong presence in the marketplace, you need to be consistently out in front of your target market. It may seem like a waste of money or time, but it does pay off. I am amazed at the work I still receive from marketing efforts I did years ago.
Below are some more No-Cost, Low-Cost Marketing Strategies you can begin implementing immediately.
Use the Web. There are thousands of ways to use the web. One of my favorites is to ask my vendors, sub-contractors and suppliers to link their website to mine. Often all we need to do is ask. By linking our site to others we create more "goggle" juice and a bigger web presence. We are able to be in front of more customers 24 hours a day with little or no effort.
Write articles. Writing articles is a great free way to market your business. Take the time to write a few articles about your business and then find ways to use them. You can send them to local newspapers, industry magazines, websites or newsletter, or simply send them to your clients to continually position yourself as an expert in your field.
Editor's Note: If you're looking to get an article published and included in e-newsletters that reach tens of thousands of subscribers - all for free, look no further than ForConstructionPros.com. If you have written, are going to write or would like one of our editor's to consider writing an article about your business or a project you have worked on/are currently working on, contact ForConstructionPros.com Editor, Sam Simon at email@example.com
Blog. A blog is a free electronic magazine. And it's a great way to educate your clients and keep them up to date about your company. You can visit www.blogger.com and sign up for a free account. You can also check out my blog at www.developingexcellence.blogspot.com to see an example of a blog. It would also be helpful for you to go to bloger.com and search for your industry. Take a look at what others in your industry are blogging about. And the articles you write on your blog can be used in other marketing efforts.
Volunteer. This may seem like an odd way to market yourself but it is actually very effective. Getting active as a volunteer in any organization, introduces you to new people.
Ask for help. Satisfied clients are usually willing to help. Ask your top twenty clients for ideas about how to market your service. And ask them if there is any way they can help. We had many clients add us to their websites, introduce us to their peer groups and invite us to their networking events.
Show up. Half the battle with marketing is just showing up. When we show up and do what we have committed to doing - we are marketing ourselves in a positive way. The construction industry has gotten a bad reputation due to contractors and subcontractors not showing up when they say they will. Use your best marketing tool - your presence.
Host an open house. We held an open house at our office every year. It was a great reason to get in touch with past clients. An open house, even if not well attended, sends a message to those you invited. It lets them know you appreciate them and value their business.
Help others. Be willing to help others in the industry. By serving as a mentor, giving time to others and getting involved in helping our industry grow, we solidify our image as a leader and as an expert in the field. Being viewed as an expert increases sales and visibility.
Get training. Training and certifications from any organization increases your level of expertise and is another great marketing tool. We were certified through our national organization. Getting any certification will increase your expertise.
Have an elevator speech. If someone asks you what you do, what do you say? It's was always easy to just say - I own a construction company. Yet that was not really what we did. We were in the business of helping clients create spaces they loved to live in. What business are you in?
Use testimonials. Testimonials are the best marketing tools we have. In order to use testimonials in our advertising, newsletter or on our websites, we need to have an organized system for collecting them from satisfied clients.
Michelle Neujahr is a business consultant, national speaker and author. Michelle currently works with businesses who want to develop excellent business practices. Prior to beginning Neujahr Development Company, she owed a large construction firm, specializing in both residential and commercial construction. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or via her website at www.michelleneujahr.com.