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Old 05-18-2012, 01:07 PM
nanodroid nanodroid is offline
 
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Default Obtaining new customers

I have recently been trying to obtain new customers for my mobile IT Company. I have been doing the program that the U.S postal service provides called the Every Door Direct Mail. It is pretty cool you can pin point a certain area and send out mail pieces. I have maybe 2k in advertising dollars but I have not been having any success with gaining any clients so far. I also receive the newsletters from Technibble and one of the articles had an idea about volunteering you services to a local library in regards to teaching the basics of computers, well I did that and got nowhere fast with that. They have paid instructors that conduct the classes. So right now I'm a bit frustrated and I'm reaching out to my fellow tech family for a little guidance on the matter. Please give me any insight that you may have.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:17 PM
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Hi there, the best thing you can do at the moment, is to read all the articles, and especially the advertising part of the forum.

Never only use 1 method of advertisement. You should ideally have a multiple campaign going.

Some methods include facebook page (for your company)
Linked In
Web site
Posters
Door Hangers
Flyers
Yellow pages
Radio.. the list is endless.

Also how long have you been in business?, as it does take a while to get going really.
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Old 05-18-2012, 01:40 PM
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I always figured people threw away mailer adverts, I do. But I did a mail campaign once, and I didn't use USPS they didn't have that service then (or promote it) but regardless they are way more expensive to use now anyway. I used another service with a very good demographic configurator (don't remember which company though), and VistaPrint for the post cards themselves. I sent out some pretty nicely designed color cards on heavy post card stock with gloss, and only to businesses within a certain area. I got almost a 5% return in new business, which I'm told was stellar! Most tell me that 1-2% is all they see from direct mailers. Of course I also got about 20% of my mailings returned to me (a lot of businesses in my area come and go quickly). After the good results, I tried again. Got 0% return in new business. Luck of the draw, I guess.

If I had it to do all over again, I still would have done it because of the new business it generated, though most were one-time customers, one was a very important and regular business client that I retain today, many years later. But that was luck, and I'm not saying you should keep up the mailers, it may not work for you.

Another thing I did was work with a local yellow page book to place a sizable ad in color in a premium spot. I trade the yearly ad for 10 hours of service and in 4 years now I've only had to service them maybe 8 or 9 hours hehe (they run Macs anyway...)

I haven't done much else personally, but the yellow page ad worked out well and getting it for free was a great deal indeed!

I had to bite the bullet and pay for a small yellow page listing with the national carrier however, not much you can do to trade with them. I quit doing this though, because I live in a small tourist trap with lots of small businesses, and just the general consensus around here is that most people in my area use the local book - it's also what vacation related businesses put in their rentals. Your situation may be different, though.

I have a friend who learned his lesson with mass media, however. I know if you were to do TV ads, do NOT run them during your favorite shows, run them during the news shows. And if you do radio you're better off on the NPR - classic rock circuit. Either way, you'll need to run the ads so frequently for so long to ring it in a customer's head, you'll be out of advertising dollars before you reach one person with your budget. Same with those trucks that place your ad on them and just drive around. With all of these forms of advertisement you probably need a store-front in a great location, a great logo or jingle to hammer into the consumer's thick skulls, and a yellow page ad to boot because they won't remember your phone number.

Another idea, I just designed ads for my current company to be placed in restaurant tables. Some company outfits diner tables with 6x6" ads in the table, and called us up when a restaurant was replacing their tables. I figure this is better than most forms of advertising because people have an opportunity to actually see your ad for more than 30 seconds and copy down a phone number if interested. We'll see how that works out.

I've never had any luck with placing business cards with coupon/specials on the back in local businesses by the cashier, that sort of thing, but some people do well with it and it may be something to try out. It can only cost you the business cards as every business I've asked will put out the cards for free - or worst case scenario you can trade them a little of your service to keep the cards there and within good visibility.

Also, don't underestimate the power of FACEBOOK. Not just Facebook ads, but utilizing the page and friend system; become known on local FB business and community pages. And get your Google places page decked out and maybe utilize an Adwords campaign with the $100 free coupon they are always sending out. People on here post them up for grabs from time to time.

Either way, good luck!
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Last edited by FoolishTech; 05-18-2012 at 01:44 PM.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:22 PM
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Default Great Respones

You guys are awesome thanks to Cadishead and Foolishtech I have gained alot of knowledge today and will decide on what I will do very soon. Oh by the way foolishtech you are a genius for creating D7 it is great...thanks alot.
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Old 05-18-2012, 02:44 PM
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Your very welcome! ~filler~
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:38 PM
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Different things will bring in different responses. Like Foolishtech, I have done quite a bit of direct mail. Except for one campaign that brought in my two biggest clients, I have gotte zilch. Like he said, it seems to be luck of the draw. And remember that with any campaign, people probably won't call you until they need you, and that may be months. That is why it is important to track where your customers are coming from.

We seem to do awesome with word of mouth, so one thing I have done is join networking groups. Great advice, and I've picked up a few clients.

Plan to spend money experimenting. There are so many variables that it is hard to get it right. I have used Robin Robins in the past with some success. Her stuff isn't cheap, but it has saved me thousands in wasted dollars.
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Old 05-18-2012, 03:40 PM
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your very welcome.

Also had another thought alongside parkways.. BNI group.

Extremely good, if you can get into a local one, which doesnt already have a IT tech. You could also look into your local chamber of commerce, or rotary group.
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:07 PM
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As Parkwaytech pointed out... no matter how much advertising you do, they probably won't call unless they need you. So there could be future clients that you gain that may be hard to tie to which advertising you did to gain them. Track your marketing efforts so you realize where your best investments are. Someone may see your ad a dozen times but until they need your services they're not likely to call. In most cases they are going to call whomever they see when the need arises so you can only hope they NEED you when your advertising hits their mailbox (or desk, etc).

To ad to the other guys' great ideas... talk to the businesses you service to find out what they are doing and how well it works for them. Some marketing works better in some geographical areas than others. Some marketing works better with certain industries than others.

I have also tied some marketing efforts in with the marketing of some of my clients. For example, I service a local photographer and every time she sends out mailers or does a photo shoot she includes my business card and flier (at no cost). I explain the value in being able to give something to THEIR clients that cost them nothing and they usually jump on it (even though you're really using them to advertise for you).

Check out local schools or private schools to see if they have any fund raiser in which you could capitalize on. We have a local private school that sells "Discount" cards for area businesses. I can offer $xx or xx% off and they will print the cards (with my ad) and sell them at no cost to me (except to honor the discount).

Develop an informational seminar and invite locals (business or individuals, depending on your target) to attend where you can give out some great information that may help the attendees. Your objective is not to sell but to inform. Usually you'll get some clients from just "donating" information (always works for me). Along the same lines, if you service doctors, attorneys, accountants and such, find out how you can speak at their next professional meeting to discuss...whatever (the importance of data backup, for ex.). People in these trades run in packs...lol.

My point is, there are tons of ways you can advertise yourself which are low cost or no cost. Some ideas are the machine gun approach (throw a ton of lead down range and hope you hit something). Other ideas are the sniper approach (focused, intent, purposeful, with deadly accurate results).
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Old 05-18-2012, 05:24 PM
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Are you targeting home clients, or business clients?

I can't help much with home clients, but I'll tell ya two things that have been the biggest help for us....regarding business clients (which is all I go after)
*Join your local chamber of commerce...regularly attend business after hours functions
*Join a local BNI group...it's a networking/referral group. Yes it has commitments...but it's been huuuuuuugggge for us. I've recently switch groups..been in current one since XMas...and I've already gotten a couple of good business clients out of it, my membership for the year was paid back within 3 months..and I'm way ahead of that game now.
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Old 05-18-2012, 06:07 PM
nanodroid nanodroid is offline
 
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Default Thanks you guys are awesome...

Thanks for all your great insight on obtaining customers, speacial thanks to YeOldeStonecat and Tech in SC.....you guys rock
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