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5 slick ways to market your small business

" If you want to grow your company in 2012, think a little bit different" - - Verne Harnish "The Growth Guy"

 

Find new ways to do 'free'

To attract small businesses to its new software, tech company Atlassian knew it had to offer something more intriguing than a free trial. Instead it gave very small firms use of the product for $10 and promised to donate that money to a global literacy charity -- inspiring many mentions on Facebook and Twitter. Since making the offer in 2009, it has raised $1.5 million for the charity, Room to Read. And it's sold about $8 million in products to customers trading up from the $10 package.

 

Offbeat invites

Jewelry designer Emily Armenta, who sells her designs in stores like Neiman Marcus, wanted to make sure key retailers scheduled a time to stop by her booth at a big trade show. So instead of phoning them, as many rivals do, the owner of Houston's Armenta Collection sent them a series of love notes, one with a recording of romantic Spanish music and another asking for a "date" at the show. Total cost: about $2,500. The 60-employee company walked away with orders from 15 new retail stores.

 

Get really crazy

Offer a unique To promote "Future M," a series of gatherings in Boston to discuss what's ahead in marketing, Bettina Hein, CEO of video marketing software firm Pixability, came up with a funny idea. She organized a group of about 150 local businesspeople to lurk around Copley Square and, after a secret signal, in broad daylight to burst into a dance they'd rehearsed. In exchange, she let these brave souls put their company logo on the video. "It's already brought us customers," says Hein

 

Explore social network niches

Answering questions on LinkedIn isn't the only way to attract prospects online. Candyce Edelen, founder of PropelGrowth, a New York City marketing firm focused on clients involved in capital markets, says that participating in specialized web communities -- like the trade site TabbFORUM, where she publishes commentary -- has helped her raise her profile among prospects. The firm saw revenue growth of 97% from 2009 to 2010

 

Kill them with courtesy

David Lefkovits, owner of LEFKO Renovations in Atlanta, avoids standard pitch letters. Instead, when he starts a home-remodeling project, he writes to the neighbors, saying that he wants to avoid inconveniencing them. He invites them to call him personally with any complaints. Many save his letters and, impressed by his courtesy, hire him later. The profitable four-year-old firm now has seven-figure revenue and sales growth of 20% to 40% a year

 

Read the full article "5 slick ways to market your small business" by Verne Harnish "Growth Guy" published on CNN Money