Tuesday, October 23, 2007

low-cost marketing techniques - targeted mailings

This post is part of a series, based on a talk I gave on the subject of inexpensive marketing techniques to the Toronto Chapter of Professional Organizers in Canada.

How do I market myself as a professional organizer? How do I market my professional organizing business?

Targeted mailings and e-mailings

Large, unsolicited mailings (such as direct mail advertising) can be very expensive, and don't always lead to a significant return on your investment (ROI) if you are a small business owner. Instead, try sending out targeted mailings to prospective clients, repeat clients or others who may be able to refer your services. You'll keep your printing and postage expenses down, and if you focus on people whom you suspect already have an interest in your product or services, you'll maximize your ROI.

You can buy targeted mailing lists from a number of companies, but again, these can be expensive. Why not try compiling your own mailing list? You might start with a mailing to friends and family; they may not require your services, but could send referrals your way.

When I began my eco-friendly cleaning business nine years ago, the only advertising I ever paid for was a targeted mailing to my friends and acquaintances. I composed a letter that briefly outlined my services, and asked that if they knew of anyone who was looking for a home cleaner, they pass along my name.

From this one mailing - to approximately 50 people - came every single referral and lead I ever got for my business. In total, the mailing cost less than $50.

How about creating a mailing list of professionals who might be interested in referring your services? If you are a home stager, for example, you could mail a flyer or other advertisement to real estate professionals who may have clients needing your expertise. Be sure to emphasize your credentials, and include a few quotes from former clients, praising your work. You could even offer promotional discounts or suggest possible referral alliances to sweeten the deal.

E-mail campaigns are another very inexpensive way to advertise your business. Create your own e-mail list and compose an engaging and informative message describing your business and how it can help people. To keep your e-mails from veering into spam territory, be selective about where and how often you send them out. Include value-added material such as tips or links to useful sites to inspire readers not to hit the delete button right away.

Be sure to keep records of contact information - including e-mail addresses, if you can get them! - from all your previous clients. Send out seasonal newsletters or promotional specials that will keep you in their minds long after you've finished their project.

If you've had success with e-mail or snail mail campaigns, feel free to share your comments below!

ACTION ITEM: Go through your address book, social networking contact list, or e-mail contacts and create a customized mailing list for a targeted mailing. Alternatively, research and create a mailing list of professionals who may be able to refer you to their clients.

Suggested online search: "create your own mailing list"

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