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Marketing ideas (continued)
- Enlarge copies of any ads you buy and turn them into flyers for distribution in your area.
- Sponsor an event related to your business where all proceeds go to charity.
- Follow the news. Donate products or services when the community suffers a tragedy, budget crunch, or other challenge.
- Sponsor a local sports team or school.
- Look your customers in the eye.
- Have a firm handshake.
- Treat employees well -- customers notice high staff turnover.
- Bargain creatively for services you need from outside vendors.
- Always pass out two business cards when you meet someone -- one for that person and one for them to share with a friend.
- Contact membership coordinators at groups or associations that would benefit from your product or service. Offer members a discount.
- Create and maintain a good database of customers and prospects.
- Meet once a month with other non-competing small-business owners to brainstorm.
- Send your sociable staff members to networking events, especially if you're shy.
- When you join a professional organization, get involved on a committee to meet more people.
- Put a memorable sticker on your name tag at business events.
- Call five of your best customers and offer them a one-day special.
- Make your customers' phone experience pleasant. Use quick, helpful responses and appropriate on-hold music, and make sure there's a smile in your voice.
- Make it easy for customers to do business with you by publicizing your E-mail and Web addresses and phone and fax numbers.
- Promote your business at exhibit booths at flea markets, road races, and community events -- and don't forget the free samples!
- Ask a local storyteller, magician, or children's entertainer to perform for one hour every week, during a slow time, to generate traffic.
- Get involved in your city/town by participating in city/town cultural events.
- Collect information from your Web site visitors so you can stay in touch.