I’m gonna run through a little checklist of consistent, successful small business marketing strategies that apply to virtually any businesses.
In fact, they are seven strategies that can help you stimulate new business, increase business from existent customers and build repeat business. You may not be able to use all of them in your business but you can certainly use some of them.
The first is a system of frequent buyer rewards. Today all major airlines and many hotel chains are using this technique to capture repeat business from their clientele. It’s common for car washes to use this simple idea – but many more businesses could uses this same idea. They issue each customer a little plastic punch card. After the customer pays for a certain number of washes, recorded on the card, they can then redeem the card for a free wash.
The idea of the frequent buyer type incentive is to encourage the customer to return to your business rather than spreading his business around. In order to make this type of incentive even more effective you can tie it to an expiration date so that the points have to be accumulated and redeemed within a certain time period.
Number two, discounting is probably the most commonly used marketing strategy in business. Just about every business in America uses discounts at various times in various ways. One word of caution about discounting: if it’s overused it loses its effectiveness.
The retail furniture industry, for example, is finding that ‘special this weekend only’ sale type advertising is losing its effectiveness the more they use it.
Also artificial discounting is very dangerous in the long run. The American automobile industry did itself great, apparently permanent damage with artificial discounting so that today everybody knows that the sticker price on a car is meaningless and every price is negotiable.
It’s important to have a logical reason tied to a discount opportunity. Otherwise you are essentially admitting that your regular prices are excessive. Inventory overstock, an anniversary, a holiday celebration, an introductory offer for new customers, a special offer on a new product or service, these are all examples of logical, acceptable reasons for discounts.
The third strategy is the use of premiums, which I believe is a much better way to incentive your customers and prospects to buy. I’ll covering this in detail in my next post.