In my last blog I wrote about 10 marketing activities that you can use to promote your business, that won’t cost you any money. You can read it here if you missed it. In this post I’m going to share with you the top 10 marketing tricks that we’ve used to grow our business and find new clients in the last year. I hope you’ll be able to see how you can use these great tricks to promote your business. And I hope that there are some activities that you’ve not thought of or tried before!
In no particular order, here are the top 10 marketing tricks we’ve used this year.
1. Taking Mike out for dinner – Mike recommended me to one of his clients and when they became one of my clients, I took him out for dinner to say thank you. Mike Meldrum (great business adviser) likes Lebanese food, so I took him to the local Lebanese restaurant. We had a lovely relaxed, delicious meal, catching up and chatting about everything other than work. Last week Mike phoned me again, to tell me about another one of his clients who needs help. That company is also now a client. Thanks Mike and I’m looking forward to another great Lebanese meal with you next month!
2. Going networking with the FSB – I joined the Federation of Small Businesses over 16 years ago, soon after I set up Appletree. They run networking events that are often free for members. I attended a local meeting because I wanted to hear Ian Rose speak about the challenges he has overcome as a Paralympic judo medallist and how businesses can do the same. At the end of his talk Ian explained that he was looking for people to coach, so I volunteered (and offered him some marketing support in return.) When I lose my focus, Ian helps to get me back on track and after one recent call with him, I made a number of phone calls and took on three new clients in seven days!
3. Delivering free webinars – the ICF (International Coaching Federation) asked me if I would deliver two webinars for their members. They charged a nominal fee but I didn’t get paid. What I did get was to share my knowledge and expertise with a really keen bunch of coaches. After the first webinar, Lucinda Shaw (an amazing coach) called me, saying that just listening to the first one convinced her that she needed someone to help her with her marketing – she didn’t need to listen to the second one or try to do her own marketing. Lucinda is now one of my clients.
4. Going skiing in Canada – after skiing in Banff I stopped off in Toronto on my way home to see my old friend Gill. When she ran her own business we used to meet up every month and spend a day ‘Masterminding’. We would work on each other’s business, solving any issues that we needed help with and discussing new ideas and plans. It was the best support I ever had for my business. In Toronto (where Gill now lives) we started again, working out goals for each of us. Gill now has a proper job, but goals and direction are still important to her. Every week we email each other with our progress and we have a monthly Skype call. We hold each other accountable and there’s no hiding behind excuses. Gill has helped me get through some tough times this year and has been there to help celebrate all the successes. When I get distracted she’s there to bring me back in line, helping me to do what makes my business work – looking after our clients.
5. Running a Bootcamp – Simon Hazeldine is a sales expert and when he asked if I’d like to be part of a Sales and Marketing Bootcamp for speakers, I jumped at the chance. We spent a day sharing knowledge and advice – marketing in the morning and sales during the afternoon. The delegates paid for the event, but Simon and I didn’t earn anything – all the profits went to a charity. At the morning coffee break, Roland (a Disability Development Consultant) bounced up to me and told me that I simply had to do his marketing! At lunch Pete (top leadership speaker) asked me for some help too. Roland and Pete are now both clients.
6. Ordering our Christmas cards in June – while I’m not a huge fan of Christmas, I do like sending Christmas cards to my clients, contacts and suppliers. We write personal notes in each card, thanking our clients for their support throughout the year. We also send cards to hot prospects. It’s a simple way to keep in touch with the important people around the business. We keep an up to date database of our contacts, so that we know how many cards to order. We buy them in the summer when the prices are low and then put the cards into a cupboard until we’re ready to put the time into writing and hand addressing every single envelope!
7. Entering a Customer Service award – we were nominated for an award in Customer Service and put lots of effort in the entry essay. We were chosen from over 100 entries to be one of the three finalists. Getting that far was exciting as it meant we’d received recognition for the hard work that we put into looking after our clients. We didn’t win the award but that’s made us even more determined to provide our clients with the best possible service. At the glitzy black tie award ceremony, Jackie (a superb confidence coach) asked me to call her the following week, as she wanted me to take over doing her marketing. We love working with Jackie.
8. Getting more involved – I’ve been a member of the Professional Speaking Association for a number of years, going to the monthly regional meetings in Reading and some of their national conferences. All the members are professional speakers and they also run businesses, as coaches, consultants and trainers. I’ve been asked to speak at some of the main events – and even got to be an MC at this year’s annual conference, which was great fun. I’ve met lots of potential clients, sold a number of copies of my book and have considerably grown the Scribbles mailing list and the number of LinkedIn connections that I have.
9. Still writing Scribbles – this newsletter has been going out for about 16 years. It started as a printed two page newsletter and then digital caught up. I publish it on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, without fail. In March I wrote about three magic marketing activities that you can use and Andrew from Wise Owl Accountants got in touch. I hadn’t spoken to him for about 6 years, but I’ve known him since 2003 when we both lived in the same village. After a few months of working out what he really wants to do with his business, Andrew is now a client.
10. Going to New Year’s Eve parties – most years a group of us get together for a bit of a New Year’s do. The group is made up of people I’ve known for over 20 years. Last year Lara (from Giraffe Events) asked if I could help her to get her business going again. Next year she’ll be running a big charity event, probably in Africa. Guess who gets to go along as her marketing assistant?! This year, the New Year’s Eve party will be at Lara’s house. You never know where you might meet your next client, so keep an open mind.
These have been the most successful marketing tactics for us in the last year. Some of the activities have brought us actual clients and some are about building up our pipeline of potential clients. And some of them are even quite fun to do!
Can you use any of these marketing activities to grow your business?