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Building Success in Twenty Minutes a Day.

Posted by Trey Miller on Wed, Jan 02, 2013 @ 12:02 PM

Now twenty minutes a day does not sound like much and I am sure you hear advertising claims every day asking you to spend just 20 minutes a day to achieve some goal like; weight loss, firmer abs, more money, etc. Well in a way I too will be promising you more money, because it has been proven that if a small business spends over 15 minutes each day on marketing they will increase their revenue significantly, more than if they even focused this same amount of time in one lump, such as 90 minutes a week. The key is consistency and receptiveness.

First by spending time each day you will create a habit to take this small amount of time out of your day. Second if you are marketing more frequently the chances will increase dramatical that a likely consumer will try your business due to this fact.

Now if you think you can't very well do much in just 20 minutes, here are some ideas of what you can accomplish in this short amount of time.

Order new or additional business cards. Business cards are one of the least expensive, with the largest chance of ROI, of almost ANY marketing item. For the new year think about making a slight change to a card to help track the effectiveness of your card campaigns. For instance, have a card with a slightly different order of information, orientation, size or color imprint of your phone or web site address just for cards you give to current customers for referrals. Make a card with a different tag line you only give to Building Management or Realtors or plan to hand out at a show or event. Cards can be ordered very cheaply from places like Vistaprint.com so that you could have 4-5 different ones available to hand out at any time. Just be sure to keep the feel of the cards and your logo the same so that no customer is ever confused as to who you are and whom they are contacting.

Open a separate Facebook page for your business, away from your personal one. It takes very little time and is a newer option that will make you look more professional and make it easier to gain, interact and relate to your customers.

Even if you do not text, like I don't, open a Twitter account for your business. It takes just a few minutes to link it to your Facebook business account so that when you post on one it also appears on the other. You can also link posts to LinkedIn.

Have a LinkedIn account if you do a lot of B2B business. Since this is more of a business vs. only a personal social media, you will gain better business contacts and SEO with it with these types of customers.

Post often to your Facebook business page or Twitter. With help from programs like TweetDeck, you can spend the 20 minutes scheduling a week or more of posts at just one sitting and then do other things for your 20 minutes on the other days.

Make a blog post some where at least once a week. If you do not have a blog area on your own web site you should really think about making one, but if not you can still blog. Use the blog feature found at many of the industry on line forums, on LinkedIn and other web sites. As long as you are consistent with your tags and links back to your own site or Facebook business page this type of organic SEO will help and build over time.

Become a member, look for and answer consumer questions at web sites like Yahoo answers at http://answers.yahoo.com/ or www.ask.com/. You can look in the categories you want to be associated with to find questions you want to answer. Once you start answering and get likes to your answers you will build an on site reputation and can even have questions e-mailed to you to be answered. Being helpful with out looking for gain can bring you customers from your area.

Search for and buy a new or reliable give-a-way marketing item. There are some great sites out there that you can subscribe to for sales, product alerts and ideas for items. We use 4imprint.com a lot.

Send out a newsletter. It doesn't have to be long. Just make sure you are giving your customers some free tips, home help or advise, no sales pitch needs to be included. Mention up coming events you will be attending, like a home show, link to interesting sites your customers may enjoy, mention a certification class you took or industry event you attended. Once your open rates are up then the occasial sales offer will more likely be opened and acted on.

Send out a targeted e-mail for a specific reason or campaign. With a well segmented customer e-mail list, sending short targeted e-mails with messages or offers will take little time but can generate huge benefits. Once a month send all your customer's birthday message, customer anniversaries, off season offers etc.

If you do not already have a well segmented list, spend your 20 minutes at least once a week making some using the resources you have available, Quickbooks, Salesforce or other CMR software.

I hope you start spending your 20 minutes a day working on marketing for a profitable New Year.

Tags: Business, marketing, business cards, business plan, Newsletter, advertise, referral, e-mail

Leave more than just your good name behind after a service job.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Aug 11, 2010 @ 09:30 AM

I hear about or see almost everyday where satisfied customers can not find the contractor that provided a great job or service for them.

Take this posted last year in a forum at http://www.thegrimescene.com/ as an example:

“Mildewed in Morton Grove, IL

About 5 years ago I signed on to this forum as my mom needed her cedar deck and fence washed and sealed. I found some great people who thankfully advised me to stay away from sealmax and others and hooked me up with a great contractor. The guy did a wonderful job but moved to Florida--he gave me another name and we rolled on. Now, Mom needs her deck and fence done again in a big bad way and I can find no one. I am just looking for an honest worker who will do a superior job. I know workmanship should not come too cheap and I put attention to detail above all. Anyone out there that could steer me in the right direction? Chris”

Here is a customer that would love to find the same person he last used and was recommended but can not locate the information since it has been so long ago.

So how can you improve the chance that you will be contacted for follow up business, one, three even five or more years down the line?

1. Leave a card or collateral print pieces behind when you leave. This can be a nice flyer with a tear off business info card area to be placed in a Rolodex or passed on to a friend. Least effective unless person is a neat freak or a pack rat.

2. Leave a useful promotional item like a magnet, note holder clip, jar opener, or any thing that has the potential of staying around for a long time to keep your name in mind and in front of your customer. I have a jar opener that is over 20 years old from a local hardware store.

3. Leave a business card, sticker, magnet or laminated info card near or attached to the work that was done. And be sure to tell the customer that you have done this. Great way to be used again.

4. Follow up contact with the customer by e-mail or mail. Number one way to get repeat and referral business, have a referral program in place and use it.

I know that the third suggestion sounds strange but here is where I have seen it work.

Take a deck builder that staples laminated business cards to the underside of the decks he builds in a number of places, including top stair risers and the anchor board against the house etc. and tells the owner he did this. He knows later, if any repair or extra work needs to be done, that owner or even the following home owner has a good chance using it or finding out who built the deck, gazebo, fence etc. Plus leaving your name lets the home owner know you stand behind your work.

I know our electrician puts his magnet on the inside of our electric fuse panel door. Or the AC furnace man that leaves his sticker on the back of the AC unit or side of the furnace for an easy return call for service.

The fourth item is the reason that yearly or quarterly informational post cards and seasonal e-mails to former customers help retain these customers as future income or as part of a great referral business. You need to keep your name and business fresh in past customers minds with out irritating them by contacting too frequently.

Don't underestimate the impact of the great work you have already done in bringing you new and repeat business.

Tags: business cards, customer service, referral

Business cards, your best investment.

Posted by Linda Chambers on Wed, Jun 04, 2008 @ 09:00 AM

One item that is your best spent money for the dollar is your business cards. They are the least expensive way to get your name out and get jobs. Make it a goal to hand out at least 10-20 cards a day to people you meet, or leave them where ever you go. True many will just get tossed out in the nearest garbage can but you never know when someone will need your service and dig out that card "That guy gave them". Or when they will hand your card over to someone else that mentions they need to find someone to wash their house. You can expect less than 10% of any type of advertising including business cards to generate a call. Then it is up to you to land the business.

It is a known fact that people need 3-5 contacts from someone before they may buy. Also it takes someone to hear or read something at least 3 times before it sinks in. And the number one way to get business is by referrals. So how do you get those referrals? Leave your customers at least 10 cards with their name on the back and ask them if they liked your service to hand them out to their friends. Also make an offer to them, ex: you will give a discount off the next job for them or even send them a gift card worth $25. And that if their friend calls and uses their name that you will also give the new customer the same offer. Make it what ever you want but keep it the same so you will remember what your offer is all the time. You will find that if you change offers, one person will talk to another and may not be happy to hear the offer was not the same for them, a sure fire way to loose business. That is why referrals work, people talk! And remember one satisfied customer will normally tell two friends while an unsatisfied customer will tell at least 10 people they may not even know. So increase your number of good referrals and work extra hard never to have bad ones.

Since exposure is the key to generate new business. Post your cards everywhere you can. On subdivision notice boards, dry cleaners, the corner pub, just about anywhere in areas you like or want to work. Do not put them in locations where the type of customer you want probably does not go, like a Laundromat. If a client does not have $300 to buy a washer to wash his clothes why would he hire you to wash his house? But drive out of your way and post on the club house bulletin board in a upscale subdivision where you want to work, where you know the disposable income level is high and esthetics are important to the potential customer.

Good Luck and keep passing out those cards.

Tags: Business, marketing, business cards

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