Thursday, August 7, 2008

Shoestring

Freight brokers, are you marketing on a shoestring…or on the plastic thing on the end of a shoestring? My marketing consultant specializes in helping those of us with tiny marketing budgets but big ideas. The main thing about marketing or advertising is figuring out the best way to get your name in front of your shippers when they need a broker. Easier said than done, eh? The problem is you don’t really know when they are gonna have a crisis and need one more truck than they have or a fleet to move a shipment they weren’t expecting, etc. So you need to try to have your name in front of them at all times. That would be no problem if you had the same marketing budget as Coca Cola. So think of ways you can contact your potential customers inexpensively…without becoming a pain in the butt. Vary up your approach.

My daily blog has been a great boost to my business. I’ve used online contact companies like constant contact. You can set up a regular emailing to go out to your potentials with a tip for the week, a interesting quote, compelling statistic, testimonial from a satisfied customer, suduka puzzle, etc. The idea is to have your name seen and associated with something memorable or entertaining. Your contact information should be on the bottom of each correspondence.

Tuck a business card in with any snail mail. I had a vendor whose service I rarely needed. But my sales rep was always tucking a couple of business cards in with any mailing her company sent out. She was top of mind when I did need that rare service. You never know when someone who uses you infrequently will grow and need you for greater things.

Go to chamber of commerce meetings, breakfast clubs, industry tradeshows, training courses and other networking opportunities. Pass your business card out like water. Follow up with anyone you meet referencing what you talked about, etc.

As opportunity presents do something memorable. I like to use humor. It sometimes falls flat but that’s o.k. I figure my imperfections can be endearing…I hope so anyway. It is good to know what kind of image you want to establish for your company. I want my company to be seen as full of integrity but not stuffy. So I do what I say, own up to my mistakes and try to make customers be totally comfortable working with me.

There are volumes written on marketing ideas. Try to read business books to get fresh ideas. Test ‘em out. Incorporate avenues that give results over time. The key, as I stated before, is to have your name in front of your potential customer when they need you. Find out what they read, advertise there if you can afford it. Find out what kind of coffee they drink and send them a pound or a gift card. Find out whom they currently work with and meet with them to see if they will call on you for an extra hand.

Set aside an hour each week to brainstorm with a mentor on what you’ve tried, what has worked, what hasn’t worked and what might still work. Weigh all costs associated with each marketing effort. Seek professional counsel. Work at it everyday, you will reap benefits.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach
www.brooketraining.com

No comments: