How can I reach more customers?

Hi my name is Gary and the phone quit ringing in September. I advertise in a local newspaper, but feel I need to do more in a larger area yet with a limited budget. I'm not sure where I should be focusing my advertising dollars. Any ideas would be helpful, thank you!
Post type: question
11/6/11 at 8:29 am
Gary Hann
technician
Member Since: 2/21/11
Posts: 1
West Plains Motorcycle & Atv
Cheney, WA
169 replies so far Add Your Reply
Hi Gary,
I noted that you don't have a Web Site.
Since your potential Customer are "On the Go" and they need you when in trouble "On the Road", you need to be present with a Mobile Web Apps to offer your Services.
Once you have a Mobile presence, I suggest you to participate at the weekly or monthly Motorcyclist meeting in your area.
Approach them offering your information and competence.
If you like the ideas, I can organically help you without breaking your safe.
11/6/11 at 12:05 pm
Emanuele Pepe
owner
Member Since: 7/2/11
Posts: 13
EPepeDesign.com
Clearwater, FL
Gary,
While I always recommend a strong web presence, you may want to market to an often overlooked source of new business, your existing customer base.

You could call or send postcards with a "winterize your quad" or Don't get stranded Preseason snowmobile tune up" specials. Use your imagination and ask for referrals.

Looks like you're in a college town, so college students and fliers are cheap advertising. Contact any local snow,ATV or MC organization and offer discounts to members. And don't forget your local Craigslist for free advertising.

That's just a few off the top of my head,

good luck,
John
11/6/11 at 1:24 pm
John VanOoyen
CEO
Member Since: 11/3/11
Posts: 13
Essential Web Media LLC
Sacramento, CA
Gary, you and I are in the same boat. We don't sell "Widgets"...we sell our services. So advertising is not your most cost effective marketing venue. Think about it. If you were new to a city (been there, say, less than a month) and were working a job in the area and you woke up one morning with a really bad toothache, what would you do?

Sure you might dig out the Yellow Pages you got recently and start leafing through the page after page after page after page of Dentist listings and ads. Or you might even do some sort on internet-search for Dentists in your area. But the problem is you are new to the area and you really don't know which ones are the good ones or not.

So what you would more likely do is ask people around you for a referral. Co-workers. Neighbors. Church-members. Heck, for that matter, people on the street. You would be searching for someone to say..."Yeah. I've got a GREAT dentist. Always gentle and really reasonable rates too." That's the golden bullet. R-E-F-E-R-R-A-L-S!!!

So now...who are your potential clients. Folks that have paid large sums of money for their 'toys'. The higher incomed folks will likely just go to the dealership for repairs, but not everyone can afford that. THOSE are the folks you are trying to reach. So you've got to get YOUR NAME in front of THEIR EYES in the most cost-efficient method possible.

So let's start with the motorcycle riders. Those that own Cruisers will likely belong to a local club. See if the club has regular meetings. Attend a few meetings...BUT DO NOT START SELLING YOUR SERVICES RIGHT AWAY! Let the folks get to know Gary first. Let them see that you're an Okay Guy. Friendly. If there is any way you can become part of a conversation regarding the repair or tinkering of a motorcycle or whatever...THERE IS YOUR CLUE. Don't say..."Well actually that is what I do for a living and if you'll bring it to me I'll fix you up." Instead just discuss what is needed. What steps - in general - need to be performed. Even IF you have to provide specific details knowing that the person asking will likely go home and perform the repairs themselves. What you ARE doing is establishing yourself as "The Expert". The "Go To Guy" that these folks think of when they have a repair issue.

All it takes is one of them to "drop your name" just like the person did about the Dentist. "Oh yeah, I know a motorcycle repair dude and he's the best. Really knows his stuff and he's real reasonable with his rates. I don't take my bike anywhere else. You gotta' go see Gary." You can't BUY advertising like that.

Something else you might consider is offering some sort of clinic or workshop free of charge to the club...or even to the public at your local library. You need to market "Gary" as "The Expert" in all things bike or ATV related.

Also keep you eye out for local charitable organizations that the motorcycle clubs might be interested in supporting with, say, a Poker Run or whatever. Spend enough sponsorship money to get your business name on the T-Shirt.

I'm a BIG proponent for a Chamber of Commerce. But you really need to "interview" the chamber folks to make sure what all you get with your annual membership. Some chambers list your name in their directory and that's about it (although you can probably get a free Ribbon Cutting). Our local chamber has at least 4 networking events every month. It costs $8 to cover the cost of the meal at the monthly Networking Luncheon or the Networking Breakfast...but the Business Before Hours and the Business After Hours are always free of charge.

One of the BEST investments we've had real success with is a Calendar. Here are some of the lessons I've learned in that department. You can get two varieties - either the stapled version that mails really well but doesn't hang on the wall as well...OR...the spiral-bound version that hangs really well but is a little more difficult to mail. I've used local advertising businesses (chamber members) in the past, but my biggest complaint is they usually have pretty large "Minimums" that must be met. The first year we did this we used a company that required us to purchase a minimum of 400 calendars. We only had about 3 dozen clients. So we mailed them to all our current clients. Mailed them to any family member that wanted one (and their friends if they wanted one). We distributed them at the Networking events like they were candy and kept a ready supply at the local Chamber for folks dropping by to pickup. At the end of the next year we STILL had almost a hundred that we ended up throwing away (in the recycling bin, of course).

Since then I've discovered Myron Business Gifts. They are an online company. While their individual prices are a bit higher for each calendar they allow a Minimum of only 50. So we still have plenty to supply all our current customers AND most of our family members too. That way our business name is in front of their eyes year-round. And while we are essentially a Local Service firm (South Oklahoma City area), we also have clients in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and a couple in Oregon.

Word Of Mouth is your BEST dollar spent.

G'Luck...

Mike Womack, Sr. Partner
Zero Degrees Tax LLP
Moore, OK
11/7/11 at 1:13 am
Michael Womack
Senior Partner
Member Since: 9/28/11
Posts: 11
Zero Degrees Tax Llp
Moore, OK
Hi Gary,

This is like Groupon and would be perfect for you:

I'm sure that you are familiar with all of the sales traffic a program like this can bring you. Also, it can bring revenue to you by enrolling your customers, members, or even other companies. It is absolutely free for you to enroll in this, and I'm sure that you will love the benefits of becoming a member. The advertising trend has made a huge turn in the way that companies are drawing their clients back and bringing new ones in, and this is the perfect no frills way for you to do this.

It's this easy: Join for free as a company or individual, have your ad emailed to all TCA Members 3 to 4 times a year, encourage your customers to join, and get paid back on all of their purchases from you or even their purchases from other participating TCA companies. It's like being in a Co-op Advertising Group without any fees. You win and your customers win with savings offers from a multitude of companies.

Please take a moment to visit this site to see how you will benefit as a company or simply just for yourself. Please feel free to email or call me with any questions that you may have. Thank you for your time and consideration.

COPY & PASTE http://johnnycmarc050305.thecustomeradvantage.com/

To sign up as a Company click on Feature My Business at the top of the page, or sign Up at the bottom for yourself.
11/9/11 at 5:07 pm
John Marcoccia
VP of Sales
Member Since: 9/6/11
Posts: 32
Michele Media
Hermitage, TN
Hi Gary

Make sure you claim your Google Places Listing it's entirely free... and you can get good Google rankings without having a website!

You need to verify your listing by either Phone or Mail but once this is done you need to make sure you fill out all the information in there. For example Photos, Opening Hours etc

Go to www.google.com/places to get started & encourage your customers to leave reviews

Once you have claimed your Google page be sure to visit

http://getlisted.org/ and claim your other free listings...

Good Luck

Chris

PS If you need any help with completing your Google Places listing or optimizing it drop me an email.
11/10/11 at 9:28 am
Chris Dyson
owner
Member Since: 11/7/11
Posts: 2
Roots Web Solutions
Leeds
Gary -

Quick and simple, 5 link building tips. This is what I'm doing here on Manta. I will usually give a little bit of advice and then post a few links back to relevant articles or videos and offer my services. Since there are already some very lengthy answers here, I want to just offer you one article. If you feel like it has good information in it, drop me a note and we'd be more than happy to give you a free consultation on your overall marketing strategy and give you some more free tips and advice.

Thanks and Good Luck!

Steve Lewis
11/10/11 at 9:41 am
Stephen Lewis
VP of Social Media Technology
Member Since: 10/8/11
Posts: 505

Orlando, FL
Dear gary,
someone above talked about the best way of gettiing business is through word of mouth.I agree but i also think leveraging this idea online is crucial and that's where facebook comes in .
Done right facebook can be your saving grace mimicking word of mouth advertising but with exponential reach with an online base of millions of people.
But hey dont take my word for it go here and get setup free.
Dont hesitate to call me for further advise and best of luck
http://facebooksmallbusinesspages.com/
11/10/11 at 10:18 am
wayne atherton
Technical Director
Member Since: 9/13/10
Posts: 2
140Marketing.co.uk
London
I was wondering if I could add Affiliate companies to my profile?
11/10/11 at 1:35 pm
Tara karres
Advertising/Marketing Manager
Member Since: 11/10/11
Posts: 3
Sdm Global, LLC
Chatom, AL
Hello My name is Tara Karres and Im just getting started helping my Grandmother build up her online business she has been working at it for years and she has asked me to help. I am very good on the computer however it seems to me she has a 1000 piece puzzle and we need help on where to start. Our main focus is Marketing and Affiliate sale, we have tryed several thing when I just happend to fall across Manta. We really need some help we have spent way to much money already with no real leads
11/10/11 at 1:43 pm
Tara karres
Advertising/Marketing Manager
Member Since: 11/10/11
Posts: 3
Sdm Global, LLC
Chatom, AL
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