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This Easy, Targeted and Inexpensive Strategy
Can Bring New Customers to Your Business Within Days.

Stanton-in-Peak, Derbyshire

What’s the Key to Success?

Start With a Compelling Offer.


In my continuing series on finding new customers for your local business or consulting firm, it occurred to me that one of the easiest, most targeted and least expensive ways to find new customers (at the exact time they are making a potential purchase decision) is to put an offer in front of them in person where they shop, work, play or otherwise spend time.

I’m talking about placing your company’s literature, business card, brochure or flyer in locations where your prospects will see it, pick it up and act upon it.

This strategy involves much more than just putting out stacks of business cards, however. The key is to put your literature in targeted places — then make an offer prospects can’t refuse.

If you own a local business, think about other local businesses where your perfect prospects shop or otherwise spend time. The key is to choose locations where they will also be in the right frame of mind to be thinking about — or needing — your product or service. In the book, Instant Income, I tell the story of hiring a golf pro for lessons because I was in the pro shop of a local golf course buying a bucket of practice balls for the driving range…

Where are your prospects spending time where they might also be thinking about buying a product or service like yours?

For example:

• A few months after I saw the golf pro’s business cards, I was staying in a small hotel in Florence and, after two weeks in Italy, needed to do laundry. A local laundromat had wisely put coupons for one free wash on a small table in the lobby. I wasn’t so surprised that the coupons were there, but I was more than impressed that the owner of the laundromat had placed coupons written in both Italian and English–complete with prices, a map, hours of operation, an explanation of the coin-operated machines (so I’d bring enough change) and other details I’d need. Apparently, he knew many English-speaking travelers frequented that hotel. Very smart.

• A massage therapist I know placed attractive and informative brochures for her day spa in the waiting room of the Mercedes-Benz dealer down the street. Ladies who had to wait while their cars were serviced could bring in the brochure for a 40-minute, specially-priced massage or facial treatment just a block or two up the street. The flyers cost just a few cents a piece to photocopy, they appealed to the upscale ladies who were stuck waiting for their cars, and the massage therapist typically had at least one therapy room free where walk-in clients could wait in a luxurious spa robe–with a fashion magazine and an herbal tea–until she could do their massage. It was much more appealing than waiting in the car dealership’s backroom, and needless to say, the therapist did a huge business this way–with virtually every penny of those massages and facials being pure profit.

• A foreign-exchange company I consulted for distributed pads of tear-off coupons to local bank managers, just in case customers mistakenly came to the bank to exchange dollars for foreign currency. The coupon offered to exchange currency for no service fee, the exchange company was locally situated, and it saved the bank managers a lot of grief in explaining to customers why the bank didn’t exchange currency or how to get currency by mail (the only other alternative). Other logical places for distributing these coupons were travel agents, luggage stores and the travel section of bookstores.

Make a List of Where Your Perfect Prospect Shops or Spends Time

Alternatively, there are other local companies who might also be mailing statements, invoices or maintenance updates to your ideal customers and clients. Are there specialty retailers or regular service providers that your prospects are buying from? For example, if you sell specialty children’s clothing, for example, could you contact exclusive day-care centers and private schools to distribute your catalog in a take-home bag–or in their monthly invoices? That would be an ideal distribution point. Additionally, don’t overlook unusual ways to reach the people who could use your goods or services through others who influence your prospects. For example:

• A interior design staging company could promote via brochures distributed through real-estate agents a living room and entry hall makeover package for people selling their homes. For $2,000, he could rent designer furniture that would give a home “$30,000 worth of designer appeal”–even offering to finance the $2,000 package interest-free for 90 days or until escrow closes–whichever is shorter.

• An artist selling unique garden sculptures could have landscaping companies drop off his catalog when they are doing weekly maintenance on customers’ yards–with each catalog featuring a sticker so individual landscapers make a commission when their customers order.

• Don’t overlook local banks who mail out customer statements every month…service companies who leave behind paperwork and warranty statements in an envelope…Real estate agents who assemble “How to Buy Your New Home” packets for prospective buyers…Welcome Wagon who distributes new home buyer packages…Local print shops which deliver printed forms and letterhead to small businesses…Dentists that mail a newsletter every month…and other distribution channels.

To Be Successful With This Strategy, Make a Specific Offer in Your Literature

Since these displays are meant to be maintained year-round, they really aren’t appropriate for limited time offers, special close-outs, and other time-sensitive offers. What does work well are offers for deals, packages or products that can be honored at any time without relying on potentially unavailable merchandise, and that are appealing enough for prospects to take your coupon, brochure or other response device.

What makes for a good offer?

  • A bundle of products or services that entices a prospect to become a first-time buyer. Considering that your future marketing initiatives will likely sell even more products and services to this new customer later, what kind of “deal” is worth it to YOU to make sure that prospect becomes a customer?
  • A unique item or service the prospect can’t easily find anywhere else…
  • An introductory session or service call…
  • Free review of existing services to identify cost savings…
  • Plus discount offers such as: Initial services for a substantially reduced fee, with the remaining service at full price… Bring-a-friend for half-price… and more.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Matthew Wilkinson

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