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!

Harnessing Pinterest For Leads And Business Growth


photo credit:photopin

I have been happily pinning since 2010 when this visual tool exploded onto the scene and became our best way to procrastinate. Now no longer the blogger’s secret, this powerful tool is a driving force of visual social media and a search engine in its own right.

So, why the fuss about Pinterest and can business owners really use it for leads? Well, in short – it’s a big deal for many reasons, and yes, they can.


So, let’s take a look at:

  • What Pinterest is.
  • Why it is important.
  • How it can boost your business.
  • How to create imagery for Pinterest.

What Pinterest Is

Pinterest currently has over 70 million users, and as of 2015 approximately 90% of users are women.

Pinterest is a visual content platform – you “pin” from websites, upload images, re-pin from others, and  collate and curate “boards”.

Nice and easy, right?

So, why does it matter?

Why It Is Important

Pinterest is a power player in leveraging visual content, and visual content is a BIG deal.

In the content- saturated world we now tweet, like, and live in, visual content speaks louder than ever, gets you noticed, and has more traction than text alone.

Since the majority of communication is nonverbal, pretty looking pins do more than just add to images to a collection – they allow your brand to communicate strongly in a visual space.

Also, if women are your target audience, this is the place to be, given the stats.

How It Can Boost Your Business

Pinterest is a massive search engine in its own right and is a great platform for being discovered by new eyeballs and clients.

(watch this short video on it here)

By way of an example, let’s take just way 5 ways to use Pinterest for business to get you started:

  • Create boards for self-promotion: pin images from your blog with the URL in the notes area to drive traffic to your site.

Pinterest can be a really effective direct referral source for visitors and the re-pinning act creates more potential readers. Make it all the easier to pin from your site by adding a pre-pinned link to click on in your blog post.

  • Document an event or marketing device with images and pin them on a board, allowing the concept to be shared visually.

Check out how Brand Republic documented the Starbucks free latte and extra shot promo on Pinterest. Creating stories as boards is a great way to harness visuals, and also offers another platform to share on.

  • You can re-purpose the images in a blog post, and include the board links to follow to get more traffic bang for your buck.
  • Group ideas and concepts on boards to inspire others and encourage social interaction.

For example, a beauty brand could host a Spring colors, brights, palette inspirations etc, or a business could include client stories and testimonials as images, favorite quotes, behind the scenes and more.

  • Plain old advertising: Pin an image with a special offer, promo or details for an event.

Make it look beautiful and it will get seen and re-pinned.

How To Create Imagery for Pinterest

The great news is that you don’t need to be a graphic designer to make pins look amazing, there are plenty of free and low-cost platforms to help you create images full of impact.

Here is a practical step by step to creating and pinning an image:

  1. Choose a recent blog post (or, indeed, an old one that has evergreen content).
  2. Next, create an image using Canva or your favorite photo editor.
  3. The image should include the title of your blog post and your website URL.

This is so that when this gets re-pinned we can still see who created it.

  1. Add this image back into your blog post and update it.
  2. Open up Pinterest and pin this post to a board.
  3. Add a short description to the pin, and also paste your URL again in the description box.

A great tip too is to create visuals of quotes from your blog and pinning them.

Well done! You have re-purposed one post and leveraged the power of Pinterest and visual content to get your site seen and searched for.

10.2Jo Gifford mentors solopreneurs to work in smarter, more creative ways and to get their message out to the world. Her Brilliance Ignition Process encourages solopreneur to incorporate creative thinking and content creation into their business DNA, and her easy to follow style and message has grown a loyal tribe of clients and followers. Jo is mum to twin girls Eva and Mia and lives near Cambridge with her partner, Miles. (find me on Pinterest here)