Marketing to very small businesses suggestions/feedback wanted

WrittenSolutionsWrittenSolutions subscriber Posts: 1
edited March 2008 in Marketing
Me and my business/writing partner are looking to spin off a new service for very small businesses. By very small, we mean the mechanic, handy man, or carpet cleaner who has decided to go out on his/her own. Mostly, the blue collar guys and gals.
Basically, sole proprietors who want to go out and work their trade and not sit behind a desk.
We`ve had success with white collar businesses who need help with newsletters, marketing articles and web content. However, we`ve discovered that the really small guys have no use for these types of services. What they want are business cards, brochures, and flyers. Even though they want these products they have little desktop publishing experience. They often turn to a family member who ends up doing the best design they can with the templates they have and prints everything out on the home computer. I`m sure you`ve seen many examples of this. What we`re looking to help them do is project a more professional image at a reasonable cost.
 
What we`ve done is found an independent contractor to design the products and a printer who has given us great pricing on small runs. Our plan is to package the design and printing into a turn key marketing package.
 
My questions are:
 
1) Is this a good or dumb idea.
2) What`s a good price point for these packages. Lets use flyers for an example. How much do you think this demographic would be willing to pay for 50 copies of an attractively designed flyer.
3) Where do I find these folks? I doubt they will be on many lists. Other than creating my own list by jotting down every poorly designed flyer or sign I see, I`m not sure where to look.
 
Any suggestions or constructive criticism is welcomed.
WrittenSolutions3/4/2008 6:59 PM
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Comments

  • GreetingCardGoldmineGreetingCardGoldmine subscriber Posts: 1
    I think your idea is great.  Your service allows the business owner to go out and to what they do best and have attractive marketing materials to attract new business.
    I would think that the little guy would want some web presence.  I was talking to a small business owner that has been in business for thirty years and because of the changing way of doing business they have to make dramatic changes.  First on her list is to get a website because that is where so many potential customers would go looking for information.  Seems like at least a web page or two could be part of the package.
  • ProfessionalListsProfessionalLists subscriber Posts: 1
    I dont think your idea is bad at all.  Also, these businesses would not be hard to find on a list.  You`d shoot for SIC codes/inustries that are `blue collar` either from new business files or sort by annual income under say 100k. 
     
    You should test the copy you use to these folks by splitting your mailings up between multiple trys and when you see which worked best; hit the entire list again!
     
    Hope this helps!
     
    Regards,
  • SweetdreambedSweetdreambed subscriber Posts: 3
    Hello,
    I think thats a great idea, everybody needs business cards, brochures, etc.  I would suggest to also look for blue collar workers under Craigslist in your area many people offer there services there.  I think that is also a great place to start.
    Good luck to you.
    JoAnn
    sweetdreambed.com
  • WrittenSolutionsWrittenSolutions subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks to everyone for your input. We had thought of Craigslist as a source for customers but not the thrift papers. That`s a great idea. That`s exactly who we are looking for.
     
    We also like the idea of offering simple websites to this demographic. Maybe as these folks become more sophisticated in their business, we`ll look to add a vendor who can do this.
     
    Right now it looks like we can offer folks a package that includes:
     
    50 postcards
    50 full size flyers plus
    50 1/2 size flyers
     
    all in color and all with matching, original design for $75-$100. Does anyone have any insight about this price point? Personally, I think this is very reasonable but I wonder what potential clients will think.
     
    Any thoughts?
     
  • ProfessionalListsProfessionalLists subscriber Posts: 1
    I think it`s a great idea!  However volume will be your key!  You`ll need massive volume to make money!  So however you get your leads just make sure there are alot of them!
  • LogoMotivesLogoMotives subscriber Posts: 15
    Local neighborhood/community newspapers are a great source of info about the types of potential small business clients you mention.  In my own neighborhood there is a weekly and a monthly publication with small business ads, display classifieds and service listings.
    You might want to look into very localized business associations, too.  Again, my immediate neighborhood - and several of the surrounding area business districts - have their own "Chamber of Commerce-like" groups as a networking resource for much smaller businesses. Many will list member businesses on the organization website.
    I do work for a wide variety of corporate and business clients around the world.  However, I don`t overlook the small businesses and organizations in my own neighborhood - and over the years some have grown into larger entities needing more of my work.
    - J.
  • ProfessionalListsProfessionalLists subscriber Posts: 1
    I too think the package is some what small, however remember his target.  It may work.  These are people with little operating cash and possibly who are JUST starting.  So getting professional looking product at a resonable price may get them to purchase!
     
    However I it will take some broadcast marketing to these types to get some buys!
     
     
  • WrittenSolutionsWrittenSolutions subscriber Posts: 1
    Thanks for the input. Yes, this is definitely a small package. It`s supposed to be a starter package for those who aren`t inclined to this sort of thing. We want it to be as turnkey as possible.  Remember, this market segment is comprised of mostly sole proprietors who are out there working their trade everyday with little office time.
     
    We`ve tucked our design fee into the initial package. When folks re-order the price will be significantly less for just re-printing.
     
    Overall, the margin will be small because we are basically just the middle man here but that`s fine. Our core business is writing and editing. This demographic won`t pay for those types of services. Their business just isn`t there yet. This package is designed to help them take that first step at a reasonable rate.
     
     
     
  • dougmcisaacdougmcisaac subscriber Posts: 0
    Your price is low, but you could make it work if you:

    Have templates that they must follow for that price
    You only allow one revision
    You charge an hourly rate for additional design and/or writing.

    There are direct mail lists available for many of the businesses that you mentioned.
    You could also look in the business license section of the paper and contact anyone getting a new business license.
     
    Doug
     
     
  • patchpatch subscriber Posts: 0
    So far nobody has suggested one of the easiest ways of finding the type of small business you are looking for -- the YELLOW PAGES.
    Or, if you insist on doing it the cyberway, google the electronic yellow pages. You will get more names than you can handle in ten years.
     
    Can I also suggest to you something else you need to do -- find yourself a good editor.  Without wishing to be too critical, I noticed two or three places in your original posting that needed attention.
     
    There`s an old saying in the trade that every writer, no matter whether experienced or a novice, needs a good editor.  That goes for flyer designers as well as Pulitzer prizewinning novelists.
     
    Let me know if you can`t find one.
     
    Phil Thatcher

    [email protected]

     
     
  • WorkdemonWorkdemon subscriber Posts: 0
    To reach these folks try the Small Business Development Centers, non-profits who work with micro-entrepreneurs, and go searches in your city for micro-entrepreneur clubs, too. That`s where you`ll find them. And to make friends and become an authority that they will come to and buy from, do free workshops at all these places.
    Been there, doing that. Except I work for a not for profit (day job) www.fortgreenesnap.org in brooklyn.
    You`re not in New York, Are you? Drop me a line through the website contact us page.
  • WorkdemonWorkdemon subscriber Posts: 0

    "Remember, this market segment is comprised of mostly sole proprietors who are out there working their trade everyday with little office time."
    I hadn`t read all the posts before I made my comment. Sounds like you understand your target. Many of your target customers would NOT be found in the yellow pages, although possibly some might be advertising in the penny-savers and extremely local neighborhood papers. Most I work with advertise through word of mouth, but could use a package like this."We`ve tucked our design fee into the initial package. When folks re-order the price will be significantly less for just re-printing." 
    This would be an important point that your target needs to understand before they even buy the first time, and they would need to know that design services go with the initial purchase. They`d want to know that they`d be getting a design that will differentiate them from the masses using Publisher to design their kits (ha ha, what I teach my clients).
    Definitly a market, and something that would compliment your other services nicely.
    Like I said, go give some free workshops to gain credibility - these guys love free stuff, and the mechanic or one person maid services doesn`t want to really have to worry about this kind of stuff and will be relieved to be able to turn it over to you!   
  • WrittenSolutionsWrittenSolutions subscriber Posts: 1
    To reach these folks try the Small Business Development Centers, non-profits who work with micro-entrepreneurs, and go searches in your city for micro-entrepreneur clubs, too. That`s where you`ll find them. And to make friends and become an authority that they will come to and buy from, do free workshops at all these places.
    Been there, doing that. Except I work for a not for profit (day job) www.fortgreenesnap.org in brooklyn.
    You`re not in New York, Are you? Drop me a line through the website contact us page.

     
    Micro-entrepeneur clubs. Great idea. Thanks! To answer your question, we`re not in New York. We`re in Columbus, OH. Although, far smaller than New York, it is a good sized town and there should be similar clubs. I`ll be sure to check some out.
    WrittenSolutions3/11/2008 7:25 PM
  • WrittenSolutionsWrittenSolutions subscriber Posts: 1

    So far nobody has suggested one of the easiest ways of finding the type of small business you are looking for -- the YELLOW PAGES. Or, if you insist on doing it the cyberway, google the electronic yellow pages. You will get more names than you can handle in ten years.
     Can I also suggest to you something else you need to do -- find yourself a good editor.  Without wishing to be too critical, I noticed two or three places in your original posting that needed attention.  There`s an old saying in the trade that every writer, no matter whether experienced or a novice, needs a good editor.  That goes for flyer designers as well as Pulitzer prizewinning novelists. Let me know if you can`t find one. Phil Thatcher[email protected]  
     Phil - I`m an ol` hillbilly from West Virginia. Surely you don`t expect me to use proper English? Seriously, in casual settings such as this, I don`t worry too much about grammar. I have to admit though, even when I try my best, I`m far from perfect. My partner, on the other hand, is the grammar queen. She`s the one who makes sure everything we do for a client is perfect. I do appreciate your offer. If we contionue to grow we may need outside editing help. If so, I`ll let you know. WrittenSolutions3/11/2008 8:35 PM
  • caroldeckertcaroldeckert subscriber Posts: 0
    I think you have a good idea to package promotional pieces for small business owners.  I do believe that you should look at quantities of more than 50 sheets of anything in the package - most small print shops that do individual runs will tell you that the larger the quantity you print at one time, the smaller the price per piece actually is.  I would suggest you always look at the quantity of 250 or 500 to start.  I work with a Minuteman Press in Lancaster, PA and I know they are a franchise and you could find one most anywhere.
     
    As for finding the people in these businesses, you can go on to Google Maps, type in the zip code, type in the occupation and get a fairly good list to begin with.  There are also lists available in the Entrepreneur category that you can access if your local library has a business department - InfoUSA allows you to download records from the library and in some areas, remotely if you have a current business card.  Great way to target your markets.
     
    How about checking with your State Government Office for the filings of the new people who file for business licenses - businesses with a DBA name and in our area, those new businesses starting up are also in the newspaper.  Reading the local "free" distributed newspapers will find you tons of those small businesses you are looking for.
     
    Last, but not least, don`t forget networking to find your clients.  Hang out where you know they hang out - attend business functions they will also attend, ask others to introduce  you but don`t be afraid to walk up to them and introduce yourself.  When you do this, do not SELL at this initial meeting, just hold a normal conversation - before leaving ask if the other person would like to get together for lunch, coffee, whatever - to discuss the various ways the two of you would do business and the possibilities of doing business together.  Remember to build a relationship before you push to sell something.  Your reputation will preceed you if you are pushy at networking events!
     
    If I can be of any help in this area, I am a Networking Coach and I work with individuals and groups to help you learn how to effectively and efficiently network to build your business.  My past experience also includes 35 years of administrative work, with the last 15 years as a Marketing Virtual Assistant.
     
    Feel free to Skype me at Deckert1116; email me at http://www.runlancaster.com


    http://www.linkedin.com/in/caroldeckert

     
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