7 Activities That Don’t Scale but Will Win You Customers


Photo Credit:www.launchsolid.com

Starting a business is hard work and early on you will need to hustle to find your first customers. There is no need to stress right away about what marketing channels will scale because you won’t know which options work best. And even when you do find out what will scale, it’s often the activities that don’t scale that will continue to provide the best ROI.

1. Attend an Industry Conference

For example, if your business is building websites for construction companies, you need to find out the most popular conferences. A quick Google search shows these conferences would be a good bet to attend: Construction Super Conference or the International Conference on Transportation. For your first few conferences, going as an attendee is recommended so you can scope them out and determine if it makes sense for you to come back as a vendor (and possibly rent a booth). Spend time walking the aisles, and I love hanging out by the lunch area, if you sit down at the right table and strike up a good conversation you can make a critical connection.

2. Organize a Q&A with Industry Experts

Create a list of 6-10 questions and reach out to industry experts to see if they want to participate. Package up the responses in a PDF, include bios and photos and make sure to give everyone a copy. Blog about the responses and encourage participants to get the word out. Since you are appealing to the vanity of the experts, it’s very easy to drum up interest, don’t be afraid to ask!

3. Sponsor Relevant Meetup Events

Meetup events all over the world are going on and they are often just a handful of people. If you target relevant Meetup groups and offer to sponsor their next event, you will find a lot of takers. Sometimes money to buy pizza is all you need to do and the organizer will add a special offer on their Meetup page and if you’re lucky and/or persuasive they will announce it at the event.

4. Solicit Individual and Personalized Feedback on Your Product or Service

Early on it’s a struggle to get even 5 or 10 people on board as customers. When you do get the first few customers reach out to each one of them with a personal email and thank them for trying you out. Ask for pointed feedback and if you can get them to spare 10 to 15 minutes on the phone that is fantastic as they will provide helpful insight about your product.

5. Attend Local Meetings/Events

Leverage your hometown or nearest big city to attend marketing groups and meetings. Chamber of Commerce meetings or local business groups are a great place to start. It’s not that you will necessarily find your ideal customer in your backyard, but once you start talking about your new company, your networking may uncover other opportunities. In addition, the people you meet may know other people that will help propel your business forward.

6. Target Tangentially Related Companies for Joint Marketing Efforts

If you own a stock photo site, it would make sense to contact web development companies as they often need stock photos when they are creating new websites. You could create a co-branded landing page that provides a discount to the web development companies if they want to have access to a special offer on your site. You could send their special offer to your email list (and vice versa) if you want to do additional joint marketing.

7. Create Handwritten Letters as a Relationship Builder

The old school approach can win you big points. If you take time to customize handwritten letter like this example here, you have a great shot at making a beneficial introduction. Do your homework and understand what the person likes and dislikes before writing the letter and make sure to send it to their place of business.

11.16 headshotChad Fisher is a co-founder of Content Runner, a marketplace for connecting users and freelance writers for the creation of unique written content. Friends of Duct Tape Marketing can create a free account and receive a $30 credit to try out the writers on Content Runner, click here to learn more!

"What's Rachael Cooking?" Integrating Brand Story and Customer Journey

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, Andy Catsimanes – Enjoy!

Racheal Ray

Tacos, it all comes back to tacos. via photopin (license)

Every workday I sit down with my business partner – who also happens to be my amazing wife, Shawn – for our mid-morning breakfast break.

We have a set routine, including our menu, which consists of steel-cut oats mixed with peanut butter, yogurt, berries, ground flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and homemade granola (or “crunchies”).

About 35 minutes after the hour, as we sit down to the table, one of us will turn on the television and say, “What’s Rachael cooking today?”

And then we eat our breakfast as Rachael Ray demonstrates her latest shortcut to culinary good times.

The takeaway for your business?

Rachael has made her brand story part of her viewer’s life story and parlayed that relationship into a small empire to the benefit of both her and her viewer.

How do you integrate your brand story into your customer’s journey?

Customer Journey

June 18, 2013 Basque in the Glory / Northern Camino de Santiago Tour #frescotours via photopin (license)

The first step is the most obvious. It’s also where many businesses stumble:

Have a story to tell and a point of view from which to tell it.

Of course, “point of view” refers to much more than your take on things; that’s just an opinion.

Your point of view should encapsulate the total value you bring to your ideal customer, otherwise known as your brand hero.

What is it about your own business’ journey that your brand hero finds compelling?

If you aren’t sure, ask! Or better yet, have a skilled interviewer ask for you.

Jonah Sachs, author of Winning the Story Wars, describes this process as “finding the moral of your story.”

Your moral, writes Sachs, is a truth about how the world works.

Rachael Ray’s moral could be stated as “Cooking is more than nutrition. Cooking feeds the body and soul and brings us all closer together.”

And Rachael promises to show us how to make that work, even with the most time-starved of schedules.

Once you have the moral of your story, weave it into your content at every opportunity.

Equally as important, you must also understand your buyer’s story.

(Notice throughout this article, I refer to your “buyer” or customer in the singular case. That’s a habit I learned as a direct response copywriter, and one that the Duct Tape Marketing System places great emphasis on.)

As marketers, we have access to mountains of data. And the most effective way to organize that data is to personify it.

As Brené Brown likes to remind us, “Stories are just data with a soul.”

That’s why a buyer persona needs to be more than just a profile. It’s your window into the soul of your customer.

How to breathe life into your buyer persona:

In Duct Tape Marketing, John Jantsch recommends that you not only name your buyer, he suggests you might want to make a “Fathead” style cutout and seat it at the conference table during your next marketing meeting.

Ask your persona questions. Enter into the conversation going on in your customer’s head.

Rachael Ray’s marketing team can track how many hits a particular recipe gets online after it has aired on her show.

And like the smart marketers I’m sure they are, they’ll take that information and all the other data they have to not only enter the conversation in their customers head — they’ll use it to enter the story going on in their customer’s life.

Here’s the format we use to begin sketching out a buyer persona. If you haven’t already done so, use this as a first step before you create another piece of content.


Andy CatsimanesAndy Catsimanes is the founder of DayByDay Marketing, dedicated to helping SMBs, churches, and non-profits identify and implement workable marketing systems for predictable growth. Andy’s a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, direct response copywriter, and experienced WordPress professional. In his spare time, he volunteers as an ally for Circles® USA. For more articles like this, subscribe to the DayByDay Marketing Blog, or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.


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