In a previous article, I discussed how to gain the financial edge over the competition. Now, let’s zoom further in to an important principle of gaining that financial edge, marketing for free.
Marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, from the many forum posts, articles, research I’ve read through and most importantly from first hand experience, it seems like the most expensive marketing is also the most ineffective. What really matters when you market your services is the conversion rate: How many people who will see your ad are going to take action resulting in a transaction with you, the business. So, what works in computer repair marketing?
When people look in the classifieds, they are looking for something. When someone looks for computer repair, they probably want their computer repaired. This is what I mean by really reaching your target market.
Craiglist.org is perhaps the biggest online classifieds directory on the web.
I would suggest creating a graphic that lists your services, business info, etc. instead of writing it out in plain text. There are spam bots that crawl online classified ads looking for people and businesses to scam and spam. I’ve had numerous scam attempts via email, I’ve yet to have an attempt via phone. The graphics help deter a lot of the bot generated nonsense. However, the graphic doesn’t help when the spam is from an actual person. These people are usually sending out phishing emails trying to make some serious criminal cash.
You quickly learn who is out to scam and who really wants their PC fixed. When people are emailing you requesting an address to send you money orders and checks, that’s when you hit delete.
Oodle.com is one of the bigger upcoming online classifieds. It has a large feature set that allows you to connect to different social media networks letting you broadcast your classified ad to an even wider audience. I haven’t had to deal with much spam on Oodle.
Business Directory Listings
Search engines and online directories are well on the fast track to replacing phone books and yellow pages. Online business listings are taking an important hold for modernizing business lookups.
Two websites in particular are Yellowpages.com and Google Places for Businesses. These sites offer free business listings and allow you to provide additional info about your business. A great thing about Google Places for Businesses is that everyone uses Google. Google’s website results and Google Places results are shown in unison when you do a search for a local business. So when someone searches for computer repair in your community, you have TWO potential areas to be dominating for first.
Fliers and Doorhangers
Even though this method isn’t free, it’s still worth mentioning due to it’s low cost and minimal upkeep.
Fliers are a great method to catch people’s attention. It’s best to design the flier so that you can cut a series of ‘pull tabs’ for your potential customers to take, that way they won’t have to write down your contact information. I’ve been allowed to hang these fliers in local grocery stores, video rental stores, and even restaurants. Just be friendly and ask first, the worst they can do is say no!
Door hangers are a bit more pricey. You can typically get a batch of 25 for around $16 at 123Print, very cheap when you consider you are only spending around 75 cents per potential customer. Targeting a market area for this method is tricky. You don’t want to target a wealthy upper class residential area, nor the inverse. A customer that can afford to try your services but not so wealthy that they can blow their money at a “trusted” big name retailer.
Facebook is the mothership for targeting your customer audience. Creating a business page is free. It’s an outlet for you to communicate with your customers in real time. Anyone who becomes your fan wants to hear what you have to say. As long as your handing out helpful advice, coupons, guides, etc., your customers and potential customers will be keeping you in mind for future repairs.
Word of Mouth
I feel that word of mouth is one of the ultimate methods of advertising. If a business tells you about its services or products, they want you to believe that they are just simply wonderful. Are you likely to believe them? Maybe. Now, what if a trusted friend recommended the service or product you? Having existing customers spread the good word about your business will produce the highest amount of customers for dollars spent.
Think of creative ways to stay on your customers’ mind for when they need your help the most. I always give two or three of my business cards to a customer and tell them to tell their friends if they appreciated my service. However, going the extra mile can make a big difference.
Promotional items such as flash drives, mouse pads, coasters, etc. can really brand your identity with a customer and help recall their memory to their previous experience with your business. You can get your name and logo printed on almost anything at Zazzle. Since these items are a bit expensive, try giving away things that are common place at a computer desk to increase the chances of a repeat customer.
A wonderful free solution is to leave a folder on the customer’s desktop containing a MS Word file thanking them for their business, along with a link to your Google Places for Businesses listing for them to review and maybe even your contact info, website, etc.
What other ways have you used computer repair marketing your business? What have you found most effective?