3 Things You May Not Be Doing to Grow Your Business
Posted by Dana Zurbuchen on July 28, 2008 in Affiliate Marketing, Business Management, Internet Marketing, Marketing [ 1 Comment ]
When entrepreneurs think about growing their business, often the first thing they think of is advertising – 30- and 60- second commercials, half- or full-page ads, bulletins or posters, banners or buttons – the list goes on and on (Full disclosure: I worked in advertising for 13 years before launching my coaching career).
I often wonder why entrepreneurs make that leap directly to advertising. They don’t seem to like it much (“I have to work on my advertising”) and most aren’t sure that it’s working. They sense it to be a necessary evil of owning a business, and the fear of what may happen if they don’t advertise is motivation enough to keep the ball rolling.
In the communications world, “advertising” falls under a much larger category of “marketing.” There are a variety of marketing strategies out there. I am not here to say advertising doesn’t work or that you should scrap all advertising plans. However, you can compliment your advertising with effective and inexpensive marketing that will grow your customer or client base, create loyalty and grow your business.
- Networking. With a background in advertising, I can’t tell you how many “networking” events I have attended! Media parties, Chamber of Commerce socials – they all were after hours, included “adult beverages” and were a huge waste of time. Let’s be honest, most people who attend general networking events don’t gain new clients or cultivate strategic partnerships. They do, however, gain a slight headache the next morning from tap beer or cheap wine. To be a strategic networker, I suggest you join a group that is serious about networking (e.g. BNI. Full disclosure – I am a member). Fellow members are serious about working together to grow the businesses of everybody in the group. It also requires you, as a member, to become crystal clear on what business you’re in – the service you provide, your ideal client. When you are forced to abandon the “Jack of all trades” strategy in your business, your ideal clients will find you, and your business will grow.
- Incentives. Providing incentives to those who send referrals your way can be a great way to grow your business. I find this especially effective with my salesperson friends, and with current clients. They love a challenge, and they are connected to many people with whom I would likely never cross paths. What can you provide them with that will motivate them to tell others about you? A product or service from a non-competing business? How about a free product or service from your arsenal (or a new product or service that you’re just launching)? I’m offering free travel vouchers for places like Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean. So far, so good.
- Affiliate Programs.I have learned of affiliate programs in the past few years. The idea? You give commission to somebody who sells your product. Similar to incentives, affiliates are incentivized with cold, hard cash. And, it’s done online. The affiliate is provided with URL that directs the user to the sales page on your website for your product/service. The link tracks where the lead came from, and the affiliate receives a commission for “selling” the product or service on your behalf. Websites like 1ShoppingCart.com help you to set up your own affiliate program, manage payments, and so on. If you have a product or service you can sell online and turn into an affiliate program, it’s a great way to grow your contacts (and earn passive income to boot).
What other ways are you growing your business?