Eager for more business? Need more sales? Just use any or all of these three simple methods to begin attracting more business now.
1. Run a flash sale.
If you’re hurting for customers right this very minute, and in sore need of cash, try one of these fast-cash methods:
- Retailers could put a huge colorful sign in the window saying “Flash Sale – 3 Hours Only! Starts at 10 AM Tomorrow”. Change the day and the length to suit, but a Flash Sale can’t last more than a day if you want any credibility. Buy a bunch of balloons the day before and the day of.
- Professional Service Businesses – put a “Flash Sale” on your website – “Get a FREE 10-Minute Consultation with ” Whether you’re a lawyer, a therapist, a psychic or a publicist, a FREE 10-Minute Consultation should be followed up by an offer: get the rest of the first hour for (25% off? 50% off?) As they say, “Swallow Your Pride and Step Inside”. Once they sample your wisdom, they’ll just have to buy.
- Home Services Business – Make up a flyer that says home owners can get your services at 10-20-50% off IF they call your “special” number and order services within 24 hours of getting the flyer. Have it printed on blue paper – and be clear about what your service is. Include a few testimonials from happy customers. Next time you’re in a neighborhood, put a dozen flyers on the neighbors’ doors (where permitted) – that’s just 3 houses in each direction of the one you’ve been working in. Of course, you might choose to be lenient about when those 24 hours actually began.
A ”flash sale” gets you immediate attention and creates a memorable event in the customers’ subconscious minds.
2. Give something for free.
Seems counter-intuitive, right? You need money flowing in, not time and/or merchandise flowing out. But people love getting stuff for free, so why not make them happy? Look around – have you got anything you could give away? Here are some ideas:
- Free samples of your product
- An ebook or a booklet or a workbook
- A small scholarship to a local kid
- A food basket to a family in need
- One free class in your studio
- An extra add-on service that you usually charge for
When giving away something free, it should have a reasonably high perceived value to the customer, cost you little or nothing to give, and be branded with your company name, phone number and website.
- A boutique pet store could bake or have someone bake up a batch of doggie cookies; you could tie them with pink or blue ribbons and put a big sign in your window that this week/month/today only, every dog that comes in gets a free hand-crafted doggie biscuit.
- A digital retailer who specializes in t-shirts could announce that “Everyone who orders today gets a free tie-dyed headband” and turn some of your cotton t-shirts into headbands.
- A family law attorney could produce an 8-minute downloadable audio called, “The Ten Most Important Things You Should Know Before Choosing a Divorce Attorney”. Or it could just be a simple .pdf.
When you give something away, you activate the “Law of Reciprocity”. This ancient law is embedded in the human psyche. If you give me something, I’m subtly obliged to reciprocate at the next appropriate opportunity.
3. Spark the attention of your customers and create some noise.
The more fanfare, media attention, customer attention you can get, the more new customers you will attract. One of the best things you can do, alone or in combination with any of the above strategies, is to do something that gets immediate media attention. The trick to getting media is, in part, looking like you’re not really trying to get media. Journalists hate to feel used – I used to be one.
Try doing some big, splashy, not necessarily expensive thng in your community. Give the media fair warning, because, well, after all, it does make a good story when you:
- Decide to donate all the flowers unsold in your florist’s shop at the end of every week to the local old folks’ home.
- Corral a group of teenagers and lure them into picking up trash on Main Street in return for a free…whatever you can give them.
- When your small private painting company decides to volunteer to repaint the public playground or the fence around the park.
- You run a contest in the local schools and the winner in each school wins a bike, or a free dinner for their family, or…in return for writing an essay about why they love your town, etc.
Of course, you’ll want to invite the mayor and any other big wig you can get your hands on to come down, shake your hand and maybe even pick up some litter herself. And if you don’t know for certain the journalists will be there, it’s pretty cheap to hire a photographer and a video cameraperson and then share that photo with the local and regional papers. Put the footage on your site, on your YouTube channel, you’re getting the idea.
Sometimes, small business owners get so mired in the work and the stress of business ownership, they forget that there are billions of innovative creative ways to attract more customers – many of which cost very little money.