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Frugal Marketing
By Charlie Cook

You want to market your business but you don't want to spend
a lot of money. You may be just starting out and have
precious little capital or you may have a successful
business but want to spend as little as possible for the
greatest results. Or, you may just be cheap. How can you
create a marketing strategy that results in a steady stream
of new clients on a shoestring budget?

The key is having the KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS, SYSTEMS and TOOLS
to create and implement your marketing plan.

KNOWLEDGE
While service professionals and small business owners are
experts in their business, they often don't have the marketing
knowledge they need to grow their businesses. If you aren't
attracting dozens of new prospects each week and converting
at least one of them to client status, you need to learn what
to do to market your business.

Depending on your budget, you can:
1. Visit your local library and read a dozen books on marketing.
2. Spend one or two hundred dollars on a couple of marketing
manuals from the marketing masters on the web.
3. Hire a marketing coach or consultant to help you learn what
to do and how to do it.
4. Pay a marketing expert to do your marketing for you.

SKILLS
Once you have a marketing plan you'll need to develop some
marketing skills, no matter what your role is in your
organization. The three most important skills are:

1. Asking the Right Questions
Open-ended questions are the best way to direct prospects to
engage prospects, direct their thinking and learn what they
want. Do you know:
- What your prospects care about?
- The problems your prospects want to solve?
- What information your prospects want?

Use questions to get the answers. Put together 5-10 questions
to ask your prospects.

2. Listening
Listen carefully to understand, provide a synthesis of their
responses and use a problem-solving approach to provide the
link between symptoms and causes.

3. Writing Compelling Copy
The copy in your marketing materials and the copy you use for
your “elevator speech” will make the difference between attracting
or boring prospects. Demonstrate to prospects, that you understand
their concerns and their business context, and that you are the
expert they need. Start by regularly giving them an idea they can
use.

SYSTEMS
Establish systems to support your marketing plan. Setting up the
systems to market your business costs little and make an
unmanageable task a clerical function you or your assistant can do.
You'll need to set a schedule for marketing activities, define
responsibilities and use your computer to automate tasks. The most
important systems to develop and implement are a way to collect
leads and stay in touch with prospects and clients. You'll need a
centralized database and a schedule for staying in touch with
prospects and clients in order to do this.

Automate functions where possible so you can focus your time on
delivering products and services. There is simple and easy to use
software that can help you manage contacts, add prospects to your
database and send out broadcast emails to the people who are
interested in getting your ideas. Once you've put these marketing
systems in place, you can focus on handling the growing number of
inquires you will receive.

TOOLS
The tools you need to market your business will vary depending on
your target market and the products and services you offer. The
basics include:

1. Marketing materials, the finished copy you use on everything
from your business card, to your brochures, or online.

2. Questions, the questions you use when people call about your
services, or when you meet with clients, or to find out what
information they want so you can write the perfect proposal.

3. Communication tools, such as a phone, email and website.

Take a look at your marketing and determine if you have the
Knowledge, Skills, Systems and Tools to attract a steady stream
of new clients. Identify the gaps and fill them. You may need to
invest a few dollars to make many, but with frugal marketing
strategies you can limit marketing expenditures and maximize
profits.

2003 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
==================================================
The author, Marketing Coach, Charlie Cook, helps independent
professionals and small business owners who are struggling
to attract more clients. He can be contacted at
ccook@charliecook.net or visit www.charliecook.net to get
a copy of the free marketing guide, '7 Steps to Get More
Clients and Grow Your Business'.


 
This article was submitted by - Charlie Cook Please Rate/Review this Article - Recommend it to friends

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