Cold Calling: A Hot or Cold Business Tactic?

Cold calling is one of those things that some people swear by, and that others swear off. Cold calling is terrifying for most people. There is no question that it goes hand-in-hand with rejection and sometimes even anger from the other side of the phone line. That being said, studies have shown that it does work.

So…the question arises, should you or shouldn’t you incorporate cold calling into your business marketing regiment?

It’s a rare person who can pull off the cold-calling thing, not only from an effectiveness standpoint where they actually get results from it, but from a “coming-off-authentically” and “being comfortable” doing it standpoint.

Most people who do it, hate it. They do it because they think they “should.” First off, there are no “Shoulds” – as they say, stop “shoulding” all over yourself. You can make a conscious choice to do something or not after weighing out the benefits and downsides, but don’t respond from a “should-y” place. That’s you giving up your life and control to what other people say. And that’s messy and just asking for trouble.

You have an internal guidance system, use it. Pay attention to your intuition, guts, instinct, spiritual guidance – whatever you call it – you have it. I always recommend conscious choices. Now conscious choices don’t make a decision good or bad, right or wrong. It just makes sure that it aligns with you and your best life. Because you know the reasons why you made the decision you made, and you’re not just doing the lemming thing. (I make no judgements as the lemming thing might work out for lemmings, but presumably you’re not a lemming, so … not recommended.)

Okay, stepping down off my soapbox, let’s continue onward : )

After having said all that and going all the way down the lemming track just to warn you, I’m going to turn around and apparently contradict myself, so hold on. Try not to get whiplash : ) .

I actually would recommend that everyone in business do the cold calling thing for at least a few months, just for the experience and the insights that you’ll gain from having done it. Not just insights into human behavior by looking at the wide spectrum of responses you get from the people you’re cold-calling. But even more beneficial are the skills that you’ll develop and the insights into your own personal behaviors and methods of response to the people you’re calling and their behavior. Expanding your comfort zone and doing things that you are uncomfortable with can push you into becoming a more well-rounded individual and will give you a deeper insight. Cold calling will not only increase your people skills, but can help you better understand your target audience.

However, once you’ve gone through the “trial-by-fire” growth experiment of cold calling, if it’s just not you, and it’s not your thing, I say “Don’t do it.” Simple as that.  There are easier, more effective and certainly more authentic ways to reach your audience with your message and offers. Cold calling is by no means the only way to gain potential leads and grow your business.

If it is your thing, then by all means, study it, practice it, learn it, get good at it, and most importantly, get better at finding a way to be of service while you’re doing it. Don’t just do it from a selfish and self-centered angle in order to get people to do business with you. Do it from the perspective that you truly, genuinely have something that will be of benefit for the person or organization you’re contacting.

The reason telemarketers and other people who cold-call get such an icy reception from many of the prospects they’re trying to reach is because of the blatantly obvious, spot-it-from-a-mile-away, self-centered approach that those cold callers use.

Think about it from the prospect’s perspective: it’s clear that this person is trying to sell me something that I don’t want or need – their only agenda is to make the sale – and I’m the one who’s going to pay – and it ain’t gonna happen on my watch.

So it immediately becomes an adversarial battle of wills. It doesn’t suddenly “go pretty” from there. That battle will often get ugly and turn into abuse from one direction or the other or both as the egos of the battlers get inflamed.

So…it’s no wonder heart-centered business people think cold-calling is a punishment worse than emergency tooth extraction. Rejection is much more personal and disheartening when you feel passionate about whatever you are selling or whatever services you provide. The trick is in expressing that passion within the first few minutes and showing that you genuinely want to help and benefit the lives of those who you contact through cold calling.

If you can come at it from a viewpoint of being of service, and really examine the question,

“How can I let them know that I can help them solve the issues they’re facing and at the same time see if we’re really a good fit?” rather than from the desperation and selfishness of “I’ve got to make this sale,” you have taken the most important step that you can for cold calling.

There are plenty of good books or internet resources out there that can teach you how to create win-win scenarios through cold-calling. If you think that it would be an option for you, take a gander at some of these resources, put together a plan, and give it a whirl.

Before doing it though, make sure that you have a plan. It not only takes away some of the anxiety of the whole thing, but substantially increases your chances of success. Just like you wouldn’t give a public speech unprepared, I would not recommend jumping into marketing your business to strangers via telephone without a plan and practice beforehand.

Like I said, I think everyone should do some of it at some point in their life just for the experience.

If it scares the crayons out of you, I’d recommend that you do it every day for three months. OR, if you just want to get it out of the way faster, just make 300 phone calls. Keep track of your stats and make a game out of it. Because it will work if you recognize and adhere to the philosophy that it’s a numbers game. Despite the fact that you will undoubtedly face a decent amount of rejection, each lead that does come through is beneficial to your business. Focus on the good rather than the bad when it comes to cold calling.

As they say in “The Aladdin Factor” by Jack Canfield (great book by the way!) …

“Some Will.
Some Won’t.
So What?
Next”

Give it a shot, no matter whether you decide it’s for you or not – I guarantee that you’ll learn tons in the process….

Has cold calling worked for you? What have you learned through doing it? I always love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Just leave a comment by clicking the speech bubble on the upper right hand corner of this post or by leaving a reply below.

Next week, I will go into the importance of a business website in the marketing and success of your business.

Hope to see you again then, and in the meantime…go out and make it a great week!

Networking: A Business Owner’s Best Friend

I guarantee that you have heard the phrase “It’s all about who you know.” As much as we would like to discount the notion, you gotta admit, there is definitely an element of truth to this phrase. Some people take it a step further and say “It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you,” which of course moves us closer to the truth of the matter. But I like to take it even further than that, and I say “It’s not who you know, but who knows what you do and how you can help.”

As a business owner, your success can depend on who you know and who the people you know know. The more people who know you, the greater chance there is of people knowing about your business and what you do and who you serve, and consequently, the greater the number of people who will think about YOU first when looking for the services that you provide. As such, networking is ESSENTIAL for business success.

When it comes to networking, simply knowing people is not enough. You have to build and maintain RELATIONSHIPS. In order to do that, you have to actually put forth an effort. And therein lies the problem, because everyone wants immediate solutions, and relationships take time. Not only time to grow, develop and strengthen, but time out of your busy life that you may or may not have readily available.

If you want someone to care about you, you need to not only stop and be interested in them and what is going on in their lives, you need to figure out how you can be of service to them as well. It’s not all about how they can help you – although most people networking act as if that’s the bottom line. I don’t remember who said it, but you’ve probably heard the expression, “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Don’t turn into a used car salesman whenever you talk about your business.

I just got back from a conference with about 300+ attendees, and I probably met and got to know about 40 or 50 awesome and passionate service professionals: people that I conversed with and engaged with in a vibrant dialogue, getting to know each other and discussing what we did, and some of our struggles and how we were focused on moving forward and what our next steps were for growing our businesses bigger and better than ever, etc. It was fun and engaging and pleasant and even energizing. We laughed; we brainstormed; we connected with each other.

Then there was one person who was all about using the conference to “sell herself” and get clients. Every conversation she had revolved around her business, what she did and that everyone needed what she had. It felt very invasive and pushy. It was the difference between midnight and high noon; the difference between apple pie and cowpie. A conversation should not be one sided, and you should not come off as if it’s all about you and the only reason you would deign to have a conversation with me is because you are trying to sell me something. You need to listen, and to show interest in a person if you want to create a genuine relationship with them.

Now I suspect that she most likely didn’t realize that she was coming across that way. I’m sure she thought she was just as social and friendly and personable as everyone else at the conference. Perhaps, though, it’s time for her to grow into that lesson, or the Universe may have a stronger, more impactful way for her to learn (think the Wicked Witch of the East if you’re not sure what that “more impactful way” could be…)

The best thing you can do to develop those relationships with people is to ask questions about them, their life and their business and anything else that’s important to them. If you help people in a particular arena of their life, there’s nothing wrong with focusing your questions on that area – for example a health coach asking questions about someone’s busy life and family, and how they manage to handle the stress and overwhelm of it. Or a printer asking questions about how someone’s business is going, or inquiring about the progress on the volunteer event that the person is coordinating. In general, you don’t have to do much of the heavy lifting keeping the conversation going if you’re asking questions. And if you’re smart, you’ll pay attention to the answers. Because the way that people answer questions and talk about their lives and what’s important to them will give you tremendous insight into who they are and how you might be able to offer solutions to the problems they’re facing.

Don’t look at networking like a work activity. Look at is as a friend-ing activity. You’re making new connections, new friends, and you can never have too many friends!!

Speaking of friends, they are a great place to focus your initial networking on. They already know you, and obviously like you at least a little bit if they have stuck around long enough to become your friend. Family is another great resource because they are essentially obligated to like and support you. People who you have known for a long time and with who you have a good relationship can often sell you better than you can sell yourself. Referrals and testimonials have a ton of value, and can be extremely persuasive. They can give you a whole other level of credibility. PLUS, they have a ton of other friends who they can introduce you to or recommend you to.

People that you are close with are not the only acquaintances to keep in mind when networking. It can also be extremely beneficial to go to someone that you have met in the past. For this reason, it is important to maintain relationships with people you trust and respect. A good example of someone who may fall into this category would be one of your professors from college. People you have worked with or done services for in the past can also be great resources. You do not have to call these people on a weekly basis or pretend to be their best friend. It is as simple as making contact with them once every few months. Shoot them an e-mail asking how they are doing, or in the event that you come across something that you think they would be interested in as well, let them know. You can send a letter or card thanking them for their business if they are previous clients. Just maintain contact and make sure that you do not fall off their radar.

There are a number of ways to reach out in order to develop new relationships. One great way is through social networking sites. I know that I keep coming back to networking sites, but I can’t emphasize enough just how beneficial they can be for you and your company. With respect to networking, they are especially great because people who you don’t know can get to know you through your profile, and because there are MILLIONS of potential clients out there that spend a TON of time on them.

Joining networking clubs and/or associations that pertain to your career field is another great way to meet new people, create new relationships, hear different perspectives, and to have some fun while you are doing it all. : ) You can attend meetings, seminars or industry mixers as well.

Really, networking can be done ANYWHERE. All you need to do is embrace your outgoing side and put yourself out there. Be friendly, be real, listen, and talk about what it is that you do. You never know where you could meet potential clients or someone who can be of help to you and your business in other ways. Maybe the guy sitting next to you on the plane has a best friend who runs a website that runs great ads for really cheap. Maybe the lady doing your nails is part of a club of women who could all really use your services. Or perhaps the student you ran into at the library wants to do the same thing as you and has some really great ideas that could take your business to the next level. The point is…you never know!!

If you truly are passionate about what you do and serving those you’re meant to serve, people will see and appreciate that, and want to be a part of it.

Along with this, ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS keep business cards with you. You can make a great connection, but the card can seal the deal. It is a constant reminder of you and your business, and of course it contains all of the contact information that anyone would need to get ahold of you. Don’t be afraid to hand one to an acquaintance, you will be happy that you did.

Networking does not need to be as difficult as it often can seem. It’s all about people skills and promoting what you love. With that, there are certainly a number of guidelines that should be taken into consideration. Don’t ever be pushy. Nobody wants something that is being pushed on them, and nobody wants to help someone that is so obviously self-serving. Do not overuse on person. If you go to the same person over time, they are going to get tired of it and begin to question your motives. SPREAD THE LOVE!! If you expect, or want help from others, you have to be willing to dish it out yourself in large helpings. It should be a give-give, and a win-win situation for all the parties involved, not just a take-take endeavor. Conform to general social rules, and be a good person, your most kind, generous and loving self, and a friend, and you should be just fine.

I recently met and had dinner with Sue Clement (a Referral Pro) at a conference, and she gifted me with her fabulous book called “Insider Secrets to Referral Success – Uncover the Power of Your Network.” (and signed it for me, too!) She really focuses on creating a “Referral Network” so if you want to take your networking to the next level, her book is a definite must-read! You can get it here: http://www.SueClement.com/referral-success-book (just click on any of the links in this paragraph to take you there)

In what ways has networking benefited YOU? I would love to hear your stories, and I’m more than happy to answer your questions. You can either click on the speech bubble on the upper right hand side of the post, or click on the reply button on the lower right hand side to leave your comment. Look forward to hearing from you.

Make it a great week!! Why not? It’s all yours!

SEO: Turn Your Website Traffic Light Green

Have you ever seen those vendors on the side of the streets selling home-grown fruits or vegetables? Have you ever stopped at one? There is a good chance that you’ve probably driven right past it without stopping. But why? These people have certainly put more love and care into the cultivation and distribution than anyone who sells to grocery stores. They have undoubtedly used less harmful chemicals in the process. They are generally friendly and more than happy to answer any questions you have about the products. Their products are often substantially less expensive, and in my experience, much tastier. Aren’t these all things that we look and hope for? So… why don’t we stop?

Here’s my theory: There are a few reasons. One: It is less convenient than going to the grocery store where you know they will have whatever you want. Two: It is difficult to find them when you are really looking for them, and if you don’t need whatever they are selling at the moment, then you probably won’t stop to get it. Three: You really have no guarantee that what they are selling is quality or worth spending your money on.

The same concepts apply to your website and its traffic. People get online to search for something that they need. They use search engines because they are convenient, and generally you can trust the top results to be good quality and very helpful. Although you may provide better services or be more knowledgeable than whoever falls into the top search engine results position, potential clients are much more likely to go to their website for the same reasons you buy most of your fresh produce at the grocery store and not at the roadside stand – it is easy; they know that they will get at least some of the answers that they need; and they are guaranteed a certain level of quality. And on the off chance that someone does come upon your site, if they are not specifically looking for what you offer at that very moment, that person will probably pass you by without a glance back in your direction.

This is where SEO comes into play. Through the utilization of certain SEO tactics, you can ensure that the search engines index your website on a lower page. The higher you rank on the search engines, the more visible you are and the more convenient it is for the searcher, the more traffic you will get.

Simple as that! Well…kind of…but it is really important.

 

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization, almost always referred to as “SEO” in the online world, has to do with the visibility of your website. In a nutshell, search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo send virtual spiders through every site on the web, and based on specific qualifications incorporated into an extremely complex algorithm, essentially rank them for certain keywords. When you do a search on a set of keywords, an index of websites appears. The higher your website is on this list, the more traffic you are going to get because you are more visible to potential visitors. SEO plays a tremendous role in the amount of traffic that you get to your website, and is something that you MUST take into consideration if you want to be more successful. And let’s be honest…who doesn’t want that?!

How you can increase your website’s SEO:

There are a number of steps that you can take to increase the SEO of your website…

One surefire way to ensure that you have at least some content that appears on the first search engine results page is to make a Google profile. Your Google profile will not only say a lot about you, but will contain links to your websites, and will thereby increase traffic by at least a bit to those sites. As I mentioned in my last blog post, it guarantees that your profile is a first page result IF and ONLY IF someone does a search on your name. So this is a great option if people already know who you are, and will help you some either way, but is not the most effective way to increase website traffic.

On Page Optimization is another way to increase your website’s SEO. On page SEO is basically all of the things that you can do with/on your own website to help a search engine understand what your website is about and to index you higher.

One of the most important on page strategies is good use of KEYWORDS. The keywords that you use should be relevant to what you write about, and should be words that your target audience is likely to utilize in searches. It is important that you not only use good keywords frequently within your website or blog, but insert them in the titles and tags as well. If you only use them once or twice throughout your site or blog they are just words, not keywords. Your keyword should be incorporated into your URL as well.

Another tactic to increase your on page optimization is making sure that each of your pages LINK to other pages on your site. The more links you have to each page, the more likely the search engine spiders will find all of them. That being said, do not link each page to every single page on your website.

Updating your site regularly ensures that the spiders are going through it on a regular basis. Other than your homepage, you pages should link to one or two other pages. If you are using WordPress for your website, you can install the GoogleXML Sitemap plug-in. It maps your site in a way that makes it much easier for Google to navigate.

Lastly, if you have an advanced understanding of coding and website design, which I most definitely do not, you can alter your HTML coding to increase traffic to an extent.

Off Page Optimization tactics will help increase your SEO as well. Off page SEO is basically all of the things that you do outside of your own website/blog to bring more traffic to your site. If you do not use software that automatically submits your sitemap to search engines, SUBMIT it yourself.

Creating BACKLINKS to your website can make a huge difference.To do this, you can either pay exorbitant amounts to have other sites link back to your site OR you can make your own backlinks. To do so, all you have to do is leave a relevant and quality comment on a blog and include your website URL in the contact information. More often than not there is a place to include your URL when you are filling out the comment form, but if not, you can include it under your name or title within the comment content itself.In general, the more links to your website, the higher your Search Engine Ranking will be.

Joining and updating SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES is another great tactic. You can make links that point back to your site while gaining credibility and traffic.

Another one is ARTICLE SUBMISSION. Submitting articles (about things that are related to your passions and what you do to be of service to your clients) to article directories can help increase your traffic and SEO.

Off page SEO is a bit more complicated, but basically, you want to get your name and work out there and create as many links that point back to you and your website as possible.

SEO is not as complicated as many people think. Even incorporating basic SEO tactics in your marketing strategy can make a big difference.

So go out and some of these things, and turn the traffic light to your website green!!

If you have any other SEO tactics that you feel have worked well for you, or any question, I would love to hear from you. Just leave a comment by clicking the bubble on the top right hand side of the post if you are looking at it in archive format or by filling in the comment information below the post if you are viewing the individual post.

Thanks

And go out and make it a great week!

Social Media: Marketing Yourself to the Masses

Social media networking sites have become HUGE over the last decade. Sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Google + have gained MILLIONS of users and followers. Virtually everyone over the age of 16 is connected to the world through at least one network or another. As such, social media networking sites have become ESSENTIAL when it comes to marketing a business.      

What is so unique about social networking sites?

Social media has revolutionized the process of marketing your business. The main thing that makes social networking sites stand apart from other internet sites is the clear advantage in numbers. Facebook alone has hundreds of millions of members. These networking sites allow business owners to reach far more people than they could before, and through just ONE site.

Another huge advantage that social media has over other websites and web marketing strategies is that it really allows you to showcase your personality and focus on how you differ from the masses. In a human centric society like ours today, clients want to work with someone that they trust and someone that they feel can understand and relate to them. Social media sites are much more personal and often much less formal than specific business sites. Although both are essential to the success of your business, your social networking profiles should focus more on who you are and what you stand for and your business site should focus more on your services and your business. It is all about creating deeper connections and more credibility.

Social networking sites have many other advantages, including the facts that they are extremely simple to set up, very fast and easy to manage, require only very basic computer knowledge, hold a ton of information and are almost all 100% FREE. There is no other marketing strategy that can boast all of the same benefits. That being said, it is important to realize that social media networking is not the only means that you need to implement in order to create a successful business.

It is just ONE of the MANY important steps in marketing yourself and business.          

Top Four Sites you MUST Join:

Of course I’m never going to tell you that you’re absolutely required to do anything, because it’s your life, your business, your choice…but let’s call it a strong recommendation…

1.  Facebook Facebook is the top social media networking site in the whole World Wide Web at the moment. It has more followers and is visited more often than any other site.

It is unique in that it supports a number of pages and features that other sites don’t. There is an info page that allows you to write a little bit about yourself and introduce your business and vision behind that business. On your main page you can write and post different statuses and post links to pictures or articles that you like. You can add a profile picture and create separate picture albums that best represent you and your business. You can add an unlimited number of friends, and can gain an unlimited number of followers.

Now, you can subscribe to different RSS feeds and follow them through your Facebook page. There is a notes page where you can create posts that pertain to what you are about. Your homepage is complete with a news feed that allows you to view the most recent and most pertinent posts that your friends have made. There are thousands of apps that you can add to your profile. If you do not want to maintain a separate profile for your business, you have the options of creating a group or business page as well.

The options almost seem limitless, and are growing every day. If you are only going to join one social networking site, it should be this one.       

2.  Twitter:Twitter also allows you to create a personal profile complete with a section that introduces you and your life. Rather than collecting friends, your aim is to gain “followers.” These are people who have subscribed to your feed and who have found what you have to say interesting and engaging enough to want to come back on a regular basis.

Twitter is essentially a microblogging service that allows you to make short and frequent posts about whatever you would like in 140 character bursts. It is also extremely popular, and a great way to distribute your thoughts and ideas to the masses. It is less diverse than Facebook, but serves its own purpose very well.

3.  LinkedIn: LinkedIn is unique in that it is a social networking site that focuses specifically on business. Rather than using it for social networking in general, people us it mainly for professional networking.

It is used worldwide and has millions of subscribers. Rather than friends or followers, you maintain contact through “connections.” These are people that you know, invite, or that add you that have interest in your page. It also allows you to create or join interest groups.

You can use it to post or find jobs, people and business opportunities through mutual contacts and recommendations. You can add pictures and view others’ photos. Unlike the above sites, this one focuses less on personal information and should be used to really promote your business and set you apart by highlighting your differences, strengths and specialties. It is another important resource for marketing your business and getting your name out there.

4.  Google Profiles:Google profiles is an important part of Google + and extremely new in the social media network (it was launched in June of 2011). However, it is quickly gaining more and more popularity and members.

One thing unique to Google Profiles is that you can create your own profile, and in doing so you insure that your profile is displayed on the FIRST page of Google search results when someone searches you by first and last name. That in itself is a very strong incentive to become a member.

There are sections specifically designated to introducing yourself, listing your occupation and introducing your business, adding pictures, gaining friends and joining circles, and displaying links to sites that you support or like. You can attach a blog to your page, and/or post articles that you have written. And lastly, you can connect your profile page to other Google offshoots that you use; such as Google Buzz, Google Mail and Google Blogger.

By creating a Google + account, you can join and partake in hangouts (group video chats), use the messenger function that allows you to chat with other members of your circles via SMS like messages, create sparks which allows users identify topics that they are interested in sharing with others, and recommend specific site by clicking on the “+1” button. It is becoming an increasingly important resource for business marketing and is continuously being added to and improved.

Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media Marketing:

DO create a profile for at least all five of the most popular social media networking sites. In order to reach the most people possible, it is important to join multiple networking sites. Just joining one will not be nearly as beneficial.

DO update them regularly. If you put the time and effort into creating a profile, and then do not maintain it, you will come off as lazy and as if you do not really care. You need to update each of your profiles on a regular basis. I’d recommend starting off with 30 to 60 minutes a week engaging with people on your social media profiles. If you have more time than that, great. But don’t feel like you have to put priority tasks on the back burner for multiple hours every week just to get your social on. J

DO encourage suggestions and conversation from your followers. By getting to know potential clients and how they think, you will better be able to relate to them and their needs and to use that information to better serve them. Along with that, DO be open to suggestions. Sometimes one of your followers will come up with a brilliant insight. None of us know everything, and getting an outside view or opinion could very well help you improve, especially since it’s easy to get myopic and stuck inside of our own frame.  

DO act professionally and DON’T write about inappropriate things or subjects that do not pertain at all to your business life. Your Facebook statuses should not focus on what you ate for dinner, but should announce business achievements or revelations.   

DO present your readers/followers with your passions and the vision behind what you do.

DON’T discuss controversial topics on your profile. Although it may help some people to relate to you, it will also cause many to discount what you have to say and to never look back

DON’T mix your personal life in with your business life. If you have a personal profile within a social networking site, make sure that it is both separate from your business profile and that your personal profile is private. As much credibility as you can create through a business profile, you can destroy it just as easily if negative elements of your personal life become public. Nobody wants to see pictures of the person that they have entrusted their money and life to drinking or making a fool of themselves. They also do not want to get pulled into personal drama or situations. 

In conclusion, I recommend that you join social networking sites to help improve your visibility and credibility. Just remember why you’re doing it. I promise you won’t regret it. Social Media is such an important and powerful tool to reach huge numbers of people and to gain substantially more clients. 

Tell us about the benefits you’ve seen from using social media. We’d love to get your perspective, and you can leave your comment by clicking the bubble icon on the top right hand side of this post.

Thanks, and make it a great week!

 

Lead Generation: 7 easy and inexpensive tactics for passionate service providers to connect with more prospects

Listed below are 7 easy and inexpensive ways for you to generate leads.

1. Social Media

Social Media is not just a way to stay connected with your clients, but it’s also a great way to attract new clients as well.

Cost: Social Networks have no charge to join, the only “cost” is the time you have to put in to build relationships with your former and potential clients.

2. Network

Networking is such an important part of any business, and even more so to service providers. Network as much as you can with whoever you can – you never know who may know somebody in need of your services! Quick tip: Always carry business cards on you!

Cost: Free – Making friends doesn’t cost a dime, although it’s a good idea to invest in quality business cards that spread your message.

3. SEO ( search engine optimization)

Use SEO for your website or blog to increase traffic,  instead of online advertising.   SEO can be done in a number of inexpensive ways, and if done right can dramatically increase  your blog and website traffic.

Cost: Free to Inexpensive to Expensive, depending on how you go about it. Hiring someone or to improve your SEO can get spendy, so get recommendations from someone who has seen an actual increase in their search engine rankings from hiring someone.

4. Ask for referrals & testimonials

This one is simple – ask clients to refer you to their friends! Word of mouth is a powerful thing. In addition, ask for testimonials or success stories. Use these to talk to potential clients about your results.

Cost: Again, Free!

5.Cold Call

Cold Calling is about as old school as it gets, but hey – it works! It’s an easy way to get the word out about your gifts and talk with potential clients face to face about what their problems are and what kinds of solutions you have to help them.

Not everyone is comfortable with cold calling, which is fine. An alternativefor doing it yourself is hiring students in need of cash to generate leads by cold calling for you. Just pick personable people, provide them with a good script and pay them for every lead they generate.

Cost: Free – $5/per lead. The avg. price for paying someone to do your cold calling for you is about $5/per lead.

6. Contact Forms

Include contact forms on your website and blog. This way potential clients have an    easy way to submit all their information at once. Clients are more likely to fill out a contact form right then in the moment that they are reading about you, than to take down your information and call you later.

Cost: Free – many websites offer contact form applications or plug ins for no cost.

7. Online and offline PR (public relations)

Build hype and interest in your business through a good public relations strategy.Social media campaigns are an extremely popular PR tactic.

Cost: Free – Expensive        If you do it yourself, free.

Going through an established PR firm is effective, but can be very expensive. One way to decrease some of the costs, if you feel you can’t do it yourself, is to contact your local college or university – many of them have public relations students that would love to get their hands on your PR, and they often will offer to do pro bono work for you, just to give their students experience!