28 Low Cost Ways To Get Customers, Part 2

May 8, 2009

 By Matt Michel

11.   Give Commercial Customer An Employee Discount
The employees of your commercial customers are prospects for your residential service.  People believe that you will treat them better if you are doing work for their employer.  People also know that you can be trusted since the company they work for trusts you.  It’s an inherent testimonial.
Put together a flyer your customer can pass out and/or a business card sized employee discount card.  This is good percentage marketing.  All else being equal, your relationship with the prospect’s employer, combined with a slight discount will result in your selection when the prospect needs your services. 
Include a line on the card suggesting the employee tape it to the yellow pages.  That will not only keep the prospect out of the yellow pages, it will be handy and available when needed.


12.   Give Customers Auto Sun Screens
Cardboard automotive sunscreens can be purchased for less than $3 each (Click HERE for information).  When consumers use them, they not only serve as a retention tool by keeping your name front and center, but they serve to market your company to everyone who walks by the consumer’s car.  This generates exposures when the consumer parks at the mall.  It generates referrals when the consumer uses the sunscreen in the company parking lot.
People seek referrals to determine reliable home service companies.  When they see your company logo and list of services on a co-worker’s car, it’s natural to ask the co-worker about your company the next time service is needed. 

13.   Give Everyone Business Cards
Business cards are the most inexpensive marketing tool available to you.  Do not be stingy with them.  Pass them out to everyone in your company. 
I used to give business cards to an engineering intern who worked for me (we gave him the title, “Student Engineer”).  There wasn’t much of a business justification for giving him the cards, but it was a minor expense that made an employee happy.  I knew he was using them to impress girls he met in bars, but I didn’t mind.  Everyone he gave the cards to might one day be a customer or employee.  The odds might be long, but for pennies a card, the risk is worth it.
14.   Give Large Area Employers An Employee Discount
Even if an employer is not a customer, you can still offer an employee discount.  Contact the human resources manager for large employers and offer an employee discount they can present as a benefit.
In these days of rising health care expenses, large companies often cut back on benefits, raise co-pays and deductibles, and so on to keep costs under control.  The human resources manager gets to give employees the bad news.  HR people welcome the chance to give out good news.
15.   Provide Employee Coupons For Large Employer Paychecks
If you want to ensure your coupon or discount card gets noticed, see if the employer will insert it into paychecks.  It’s not unusual for large employers to insert special offers, discounts, and savings into employee paychecks.  Six Flags is one of the best companies in using this free promotional vehicle.  You can use it too.
16.   Give Small Scholarships To Top High School Seniors
If your service area is dominated by one or two high schools, create a scholarship for high school seniors, provided the school announces the winners at graduation.  You create additional press by donating plaques to the school and sending press releases to the paper.
The scholarships do not need to be huge.  You give them out based on academics, athletics, essays submitted to your company, or any other criteria you select.  If your industry faces a labor shortage like many, if not most of the service trades, you can even make the scholarship contingent upon entering a local trade school.
17.   Join Civic Clubs
If business is built on relationships (and it is), then service and civic clubs are the place where relationships can easily be built.  The advantage of building relationships with service and civic club members is they are typically centers of influence in their community.  They are the people others call to find out who is a reputable plumber, locksmith, carpet cleaner, etc.  If you are the guy they know in the field, you get the recommendation.
Join Rotary, Lion’s, Optimist, or Kiwanis Clubs.  See if your service manager, sales manager, etc. can join a different club. 
18.   Leave Business Cards On Retail Counters
Lots of neighborhood businesses welcome business cards from patrons and allow you to place them on their counters.  I’ve seen business cards in donut shops, cleaners, and other stores. 
Don’t simply place a business card.  Make the card promotional.  Give people a reason to call you over another company.  Make a claim.  Include a special offer.
19.   Leave Coupon Magnets On Break Room Refrigerators Of Commercial Customers
To maximize the odds the customer will remember you, turn employee discount cards into refrigerator magnets.  Place the magnets on the refrigerator break room.  Leave them on general use file cabinets.
20.   Pad Coupons & Double Stick Tape To Bulletin Boards
It’s not expensive to create coupon pads.  On community bulletin boards see if you can attach the coupon pads.  Use double stick tape to attach the pad.
Be sure to ask permission before attaching the pads.  Some of the places you can find community bulletin boards include coffee shops, barbers and hair salons, libraries, post offices, packing and shipping stores, and so on.

Source: Comanche Marketing. Reprinted by permission.
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Copyright © 2008 Matt Michel

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