Every business need a steady stream of new clients. Marketing can often be a struggle so here 5 tried and tested low-cost marketing strategies that will help you get more clients.

1 - Choose A Niche

A mistake that many business owners make is to try to sell to everyone rather than a very focused and select market. I've been involved in marketing and sales for the past 30 years and I've seen countless businesses fail because of this one catastrophic mistake – they believe 'everyone' is interested in their service so they buy a huge ad in a consumer magazine or send out expensive glossy brochures to all the businesses in their area and get no responses. My advice is: get specific and target a small yet lucrative and interested market. Aim to be the big fish in a small pond.

Once you've chosen your target market, find out everything you can about the people in it – what do they want and expect from a service provider? What do they listen to and read? What are their challenges and their aspirations? What triggers them to buy? What does and doesn't work?
Don't make the mistake of believing that potential buyers only want solutions to problems – they may not consider they have a challenge and in fact, want to improve a situation.

2 - Position yourself as the expert

Aim to become the leading expert in your niche. Why? People trust experts and actively seek them out for help and advice. Experts are contacted by the media for their comments and views and prospective customers call them to make appointments. To become the expert in your market, raise your profile by getting published or interviewed. Discover what publications people in your target market read and respond to. Find out what gets published and then write an article or hire a freelance writer to do it for you. Don't immediately take the advertising route – instead think of ways you can generate free publicity for your company.

3 - Use Soft Not Hard Sell Tactics

If you want to bring in more clients, forget about 'hard sell' and instead focus on building a relationship. You'll save yourself a lot of money. It's a mistake to hit prospective clients with a sales message – people hate being sold to and they switch off when something seems like an advert. If you try to sell to prospective customers the moment you make contact, you're going to repel them.

You need to demonstrate that you are more interested in helping them than selling to them. Send them information they'll be interested in. Aim to provide value before as well as after the sale.

Send people articles or links to websites that you know they'll find useful. This shows them that you're interested in helping them rather than just clinching another deal.

4 - Establish Credibility

Prospective clients need to know that you are trustworthy and that the service will deliver what it promises and solve their problem. People are more likely to 'take the plunge' when they know, like and trust the service provider. Offer them opportunities to sample your service before they make a financial commitment. Offer them a free mini-consultation, a free taster session, a free place on your workshop or seminar, a free special report or a free subscription to your newsletter.

Use testimonials from satisfied clients to help persuade prospective clients that using your service is a worthwhile investment. Testimonials provide social proof and are therefore very persuasive.

5 - Build Your Network

Networking is more than attending specific events – you can network by phone and online as well as in person. While some of the people you meet may be prospective clients, others could be valuable sources of referrals. Develop ongoing relationships with complementary professionals and build your referral team. These are other professionals who sell non-competing services or products to the same niche customers you are targeting.

Article by Ford Henderson of Ford Henderson Marketing.

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