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Anyone have any low-cost marketing ideas for a service startup?

NewBizMDNewBizMD subscriber Posts: 2
edited September 2008 in Marketing
I`m currently developing a plan for a service business. My target market is clearly defined and my service area will be local (basically, within a 5-10 mile radius from my home). I will offer services for fees in the $20-$50 range that will take anywhere form 15-60 minutes to perform.
I intend to have a web site that will allow people to learn more about my company, services, etc. and also schedule appointments for those services. However, I know better than to expect instant business just because I publish a web site. My biggest hurdle to this point is finding cost-effective and reasonably quick ways to reach my target markets and drive business to either my site or my phone. I thought direct mail might be a good place to start, but the conversion ratios appear to make this too costly for my fee range. I`m not afraid to get out and network, but I`d prefer to do this once I have other viable methods to market my business. Anyone have any ideas? Am I looking for champagne on a beer budget?


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    pampermepamperme subscriber Posts: 0
    How about door knob hangers with a coupon on them. You can buy them and print them from a home computer. MS Word has a template. I bought some online. Just did a search for them but that was about 2 years ago and I lost the link when we moved and rebooted the computer.
    Vista Print has tons of stuff you can get free in small quantities. Biz Cards (250 of them), brochures, hats, t shirts, door magnets etc. You just pay shipping and the quality is great.
    pamperme9/25/2008 9:29 PM
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    ahensley54ahensley54 subscriber Posts: 0
    I haven`t seen it mentioned yet, but I have used a book called Guerrilla Marketing.  Authors Jay and Jeannie Levinson
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    NewBizMDNewBizMD subscriber Posts: 2
    I haven`t seen it mentioned yet, but I have used a book called Guerrilla Marketing. 
    I just ordered The Bootstrapper`s Bible by Seth Godin on Amazon yesterday. Are they comparable or is one more helpful than the other?
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    NewBizMDNewBizMD subscriber Posts: 2
    Lots of ideas I never even thought of. Thanks.
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    cdbartworkcdbartwork subscriber Posts: 11
    Thank you for the marketing tips. I have added the information to my favorites.
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    NewBizMDNewBizMD subscriber Posts: 2
    I definitely see the value of direct mail and built my initial marketing plan around it. As I`ve done my research on what results to expect from direct mail, though, it seems that a conversion ratio of 1.5%-2% is pretty standard for a service business. If that`s accurate, it would cost me more than I would bring in based on my fee structure.
    It is possible that I don`t have good estimates for the costs of direct mail. I currently am figuring a cost of $.40 per piece for printing and mailing. Is that too high? Is the 1.5%-2% conversion ratio too low?
    Great idea on the Chamber meetings, too. I`ll be hitting those once I figure out a name.
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    DCCSCSDCCSCS subscriber Posts: 6
    These are great ideas...we are working on some direct mail offers right now.  The adwords also is in our near future.  Will report back.
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    CelebrityChittCelebrityChitt subscriber Posts: 0
    Direct mail conversion rates will depend solely on the company, image portrayed, message, targeting, offer, consistency and urgency of the offer. To utilize standard stats for your conversion rates and ROI is to consider others weaknesses your own. Remember, doing a common thing uncommonly well, brings success!
    Generic stats will vary business to business as you have to figure most companies won`t hire a pro to provide their direct mail strategies. They do it themselves WITHOUT considering the above ideas. Another thing to consider is type of direct mailer. Use a unique, eye-catching piece that doesn`t require an envelope. This way customers won`t have to open it, or use a custom eye-catching envelope or package. If it`s from an address/company that`s unrecognized, a regular white letter may go straight to the trash bin. If it`s some sort of postcard, the message is seen automatically. 

    Celebrity Chitt Inc 
    web: www.CelebrityChitt.com
    blog: www.CelebrityChitt.blogspot.com
    marketing calendar: www.groups.yahoo.com.group/CelebrityChitt
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    NewBizMDNewBizMD subscriber Posts: 2
    Thank you both for the input. I am still evaluating what role direct mail will have in my overall marketing plan and this definitely helps.
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    dominoesrulesdominoesrules subscriber Posts: 0
    Depending on your budget, there could be tons of other options.
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