Recently I have mentored a number of startup entrepreneurs from a very wide range of backgrounds and types of businesses. It seemed to me that there were a lot of ideas and methods to cost effectively generate new business that many had never considered.
This series of posts are brain dumps from those sessions based on my experiences at generating business both for myself and for others, don’t be surprised that it’s not all digital, there is an offline world as well and not everyone is aiming to build the next facebook.
1. Mail Drops
This is very old school but it is still one of the few almost guaranteed ways to get new business when you are starting out. These work especially well for services businesses aimed at consumers or services and products companies aimed at business.
If you are trying to sell to consumers you can find a local guy to drop flyers directly to home mail boxes. Normally costs about $50 per 1000 depending on how dense the suburb is (you can knock over 1000 in a suburb full of apartments in an hour, if you are doing suburbs with big blocks could be 2-3 hours).
If you are selling to businesses, Australia Post allows you to deliver specifically to a “business” PO Box or Street Address for every post code in the country, this really gets you hyper local down to the suburb and last I checked was about 14c per drop, which for B2B is pretty good, in my first business this was the best method until SEO and PPC came along.
Here is a tip, print 2-3 different flyers with different messages or call to actions, put a number or offer code on the bottom, when new leads call in, everyone in the business should ask how they found you (this goes for any activity that is not easily trackable via web analytics) and put the lead source in into your CRM.
To find good headlines and copy you can run a competition with your staff (or friends/family or even existing customers) about what to put on the headline and copy. If you want to turbo charge this, run a Google Adwords campaign with 10 different Ad headlines for a week and measure the clicks, leads and real opportunities you get. You will find the most attractive headline far quicker than you could do offline then use this headline for your mail flyer.
Once you have enough leads you will see a pattern where one version works better than the others. Over the years I distributed about 150,000 of these to Sydney CBD and surrounds (there are 6500+ businesses addresses and PO Boxes in the CDB, you could never leave there and have a great business).
If you can, get in front of the leads, try to really understand their problems and what it was about your flyer that made them call.
Avoid cheapest pricing claims in your headline (unless its a special offer) , instead focus on the problem you will solve for them.
Bad: Acme Provides the best quality widgets at the lowest price. – No one believes either claim
Better: Due to Acmes automated installation process we can install your widgets 50% faster than our competitors.
Better: Acme specialises in installing high strength widgets into difficult spaces.
Better: Acme sells and installs the new high technology Super Widget. The Super Widget is 25% faster and costs 50% less to run.
Flyers are cheap you can get 10000 for a few hundred dollars and this is a way to start getting initial business while you work out a more process driven lead generation strategy.
You can get all the information here http://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/unaddressed-mail.html
Also if you know that your customers go to particular shows, events, shopping centres or other places on a weekend, put the flyers on their windscreen or walk around and introduce yourself and hand out a flyer and a card.
A final piece of advice, collect every single piece of marketing mail that comes through your home and office, put it all in a folder and refer back to it for generating effective copy and ideas.