You have your website. You’ve posted your first set of blogs. You’ve done your UX, SEO, CRM, and whatever other acronyms you need, and you don’t have the funds (yet) to allow for major ad purchases. What now?
You are a local brick and mortar operating on a shoestring budget who wants more people to know about what you do, especially since you area already spending a healthy amount on website management, advertising, and sales training. What now?
You are a service provider who needs more than 30 seconds to explain the full value of what you do – and you know that while your service is crucial to your ideal client, they don’t know what they don’t know so they’re not searching directly for your business…and educating them online is starting to feel like yelling into the abyss! What now?
These are just examples, but we hear these stories and more like them on a weekly basis. While our focus is digital marketing, we’ve seen more and more physically-bound clients, friends, and companies make the mistake of dumping everything into digital and forgetting that people buy from people.
Ads, content, website, UX, all of those are essential. But there will come a point in every business that they look to scale up – get more clients, charge more money, offer new services – and often those new targets come easier, cheaper, and more effectively by analog solutions. You know, the tough stuff: the face to face, the elevator pitch, the speakinginfrontoggroupswhydidIthinkIcoulddothis?
Below are four “get out of the house and talk to people” ideas that literally ANYONE can use, and to prove it, I’m going to use real-life examples of clients in industries that are actually difficult to market.
Industrial Machinist – Try to figure out what an industrial machinist even DOES. (I’m still not entirely sure I get the whole concept.) But when I met one at a networking event, I was fascinated…not exactly by what he did, but by his desire to network. The machinist, let’s call him Brian, wasn’t the business owner but he was good with people and knowing that, he approached his boss to see how he would be compensated if he brought in new work.
He was a blue-collar type guy, and went into his first networking experience having no idea what to expect. He dressed “casually but neatly” and set himself a one-drink-per-hour limit.
He left with 18 business cards from people who had no idea that their industrial processes could be improved. He followed up with four of them. He got two contracts, and his boss’ undying adulation (which might never wear off.) And all from one night, no expectations, just a willingness to put himself out there and see what happens.
Mechanic Shop Ladies Night – This is a fave client of ours – they think outside the box and we LOVE them for it! A husband and wife team own an auto repair shop in BC, and one of the things they pride themselves on is being woman-friendly. From the spa-level soap in the beautifully designed bathroom, to the extra comfy chairs, to the female-centric wording in their content – this couple is in it to win it.
They’re also experts in heavy and light truck repair…but since they were already known for their technical ability, they wanted to expand the brand and let people know about the softer side.
Enter: Ladies Night.
The plan was simple: a little bit of wine, some cucumber water, snacks, and a full run-down on maintenance on their own vehicles. How to change tires, where to find the spare tire in the first place; what to put in an emergency kit; how to change your own oil, what fluids keep your car running and how often hey should actually be serviced. None of the items on the agenda were intended to sell those services. The point is empowerment, and the reaction would be impressive.
There is someone, somewhere who needs your services or your product but doesn’t know it yet, or is too scared to admit they don’t know how to do something. Take away the fear, inject some fun, and you will have clients-turned-cheerleaders for less than the cost of a small ad campaign.
HOST A (FREE) SPEAKING EVENT
A dermatologist who had just moved to a new city decided to go big – foregoing the traditional “Open House” or “Grand Opening”, she invited her entire client base, their friends, family, and spent about $20 promoting her free speaking event on Facebook.
She tailored her talk specifically to those women whose treatments had the best margins: those who were dealing with acne AND wrinkles. Her talk covered nutrition, lifestyle, products, and of course, her own treatments.
In that one night, she was able to book 15 new clients, sold for a crazy amount of product – and had another 30 people join her email list. Do you think that was her last event? Hardly! Since then, she’s polished her talk and has brought it to multiple stages (often getting paid just to speak PLUS leaving with new converts!)
Renewable Energy Experts have a hard road when it comes to marketing. Everyone agrees that we should be environmentally conscious, but so few people are excited to put their money where their beliefs are. One client had an entirely grassroots approach to his analog sales: the coffee date.
Now, you may be remembering horrible coffee-date-turned-hard-sales debacles in your past. You may also have had business-coffee-date-turned-date-date experiences. He was not going to fall for either of those unforced errors, and had a simple technique: honesty.
He always lead with questions, and was always trying to find out what people really thought. He knew that most of the people who liked, shared, and gushed over his posts weren’t actually interested in spending money with him. So that was the pitch: answer a few questions and get a free coffee.
He was surprised by how many people took him up on it. Whether it was a break in their day, a chance to be heard, or the feeling of giving support without a price tag – people loved it! And as they were telling him their problems, he was able to devise real solutions, solutions that he then turned into product packages, payment plans, and entirely new content for all of his marketing. Win-win-win!
One of the most interesting hidden wins in all of these stories was the boost to their digital marketing plans – from email signups to followers, comments, and website hits – the growth was as unexpected as it was exciting.
So if your reach is struggling, if you’re looking to break into a new market – think outside the Facebook box, get out in front of people, and do it all the old fashioned way…you’ll be surprised what comes next!