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justin_time
10-21-2009, 10:06 PM
It only costs you a few minutes and the price of a stamp, but a note of congratulations can be worth thousands of dollars in business.
Famous marketing copywriter Bob Bly tells of a letter he received when he first started his one-man ad agency. "Dear Mr. Bly," it began. "Congratulations on your new business. May you have great success and pleasure in it." He says this opening found a chink in his otherwise cynical armour.

It's easy to see why. It's flattering for one thing. The writer had taken notice of his venture and taken the time to recognize it. It gave him some confidence that the writer (or salesman, because that's what he was), knew something about his new business already.

When you meet someone a second time and they remember your name or something about you, you can't help but warm up to the person. Most of us respond positively to recognition. Make congratulatory notes a systemic component of your marketing strategy, and you’ll definitely make friends, influence people and smile on your way to the bank.

Use these ideas to get your congratulatory marketing rolling.

Say you renovate homes or do landscaping. Try congratulating new homeowners on their purchase and welcome them to the neighbourhood. They're sure to appreciate the gesture. And you've contacted them at a time when they're considering the need for the service you offer, so there's a good chance they'll keep your name in mind.

If you offer computer consulting, congratulate new business owners. If you sell office equipment, send a note to newly-promoted purchasing managers. If you clean windows, send a long-stemmed rose and a card to new businesses opening up downtown. In the foodservice business? Gather birthdates, anniversaries and addresses. Facebook provides a great way to get the birthdays of your customers. Set up a page, invite them to joint you, then send out a card when they're in the mood to celebrate.

Check the business section of the local newspaper; new businesses often advertise grand openings or get written up by the paper. Check the "appointments" section in trade magazines. Scan professional employment ads for the positions you want to target, file them, and call a month or so later to find out who got the job. Make note of local heroes or people in the community who've been recognized in the paper. Read the birth announcements and the anniversary announcements. Hand out customer information forms to current customers, asking for birthdays and other special occasions.

Create a boilerplate letter, or print up a special card. Then you or one of your staff can quickly personalize it and send it out as you find new prospects. A handwritten note can be very powerful.

It helps if you can offer something of value besides congratulations. If you publish a newsletter, give them a free subscription and include a couple back issues with the mailing. You might want to give them a coupon or small gift certificate. Or consider a premium, such as a calendar.

But remember to keep your focus on the person you're congratulating. Don't come off as though you're trying to sell them on your services. This is simply an introduction. Done right, it can take a lot of the stress out of selling.

Keep your eyes open for economical gifts that might come in handy later, including toys – the kid in everyone likes a toy. And make sure you include your congratulatory marketing in your marketing budget.

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Steve
10-22-2009, 03:19 AM
That is a good point. It's kind of like an opening introduction that you can later take and build on.

If you are simply saying 'hey congratulations' the potential customers may think oh that is very nice and think more highly of you than others who hadn't done it.

Do you feel like you might start to implement such a marketing plan?

prestige
10-22-2009, 01:27 PM
Good idea. I tried it recently, but didn't think about starting with "congratulations." I'll have to go back & see what I did open with.

Anyone have a good resource for getting a list of businesses that just registered? I thought it would be easy to buy a list of new business registrations (since I got tons for starting a business & buying a home).

I found one company that gets their list from when a business hooks up a phone. I think by the time their phone is hooked up, they may have already made some major decisions. I'd like to find someone who gets the list from those public notices all new businesses have to file.

Thanks,
-David

Steve
10-23-2009, 02:02 AM
There are mailing list companies that get their new business list from those businesses that just filed.

Check out these sites and let me know if they help.

EdithRoman.com, InfoUSA.com