When sales slump due to a slow economy, a Chaldean business owner’s first inclination is often to cut the marketing budget. After all, one has fixed costs and cash flow can be irregular. But marketing should be the last activity Chaldeans eliminate or you risk an even faster downward spiral.
Advertising your business and attracting new customers must be an ongoing process, and there are many things Chaldean entrepreneurs can do that cost absolutely nothing.
Here are just a few suggestions.
Professional event and meeting planners are always looking for presenters and workshop leaders for conferences. Chaldean entrepreneurs can research contact names in the Directory of Event Planners or partner with a local church, community center, or event planner to organize a community workshop related to your expertise. When you do get the opportunity to make a presentation or speak to group of people, be sure to collect business cards for a drawing to win a book or other prize related to your business.
This is an excellent way for customers to see you as an expert and help advertise your business. This works especially well for service-oriented businesses such as financial planning, healthcare or tax preparation. Simply call your local church, school district, or community college where elective education courses are offered. Better yet, offer free or inexpensive seminars at libraries, restaurant event rooms or a friend’s office.
One of the best ways to get new customers is to enlist the help of your current ones. Offer a reward of free merchandise or services for any lead that turns into new business. If you publish a catalogue, include a card where customers can provide the name and address of someone else who might want to receive one. When you get a new customer from a referral, be sure to send the source a personalized thank you note along with their reward.
Remind Your Customers
It’s crucial to keep in touch with your current customers as well as potential ones, and what could be easier than sending out a regular newsletter? After you obtain permission from the recipients, you can describe new products, offer coupons and provide links to articles online your customers might be interested in reading. Keep it simple with pure text or include photos and other graphics.
Whenever there is an event of any significance in your business, be sure to send a press release or a simple e-mail to all the local newspapers and TV stations. Whether it’s a new product, a big order or expansion plans that might result in new jobs, they will probably want to hear about it. Local radio stations like Chaldean Voice Radio look for interesting people to interview, so find the producers’ contact information and let them know you’re available.
Be Known as the Expert
Many Chaldean entrepreneurs are offering professional services. These businesses are able to differentiate themselves by demonstrating they have more knowledge and real-world experience than their competitors. They author articles related to their business and expertise to the local paper, trade journals and professional organization’s newsletters. They teach and speak on their topic of expertise and serve on panels as spokesman for their profession.
A perfect example of a known Chaldean community expert is Randall Denha. Denha’s weekly column on legal advice appears in the Chaldean community’s most influential and widely distributed newspaper, the Chaldean Detroit Times.
Mr. Denha concentrates his practice in business and asset protection planning. He is an instructor at Oakland University's Certified Financial Planning Program. Mr. Denha frequently lectures to life insurance agents, financial planners and CPAs, and is an instructor authorized by the State of Michigan, Department of Insurance. Mr. Denha has also lectured on radio programs discussing estate and business planning related topics. The lawyer is widely known in the Chaldean community as the “go-to” guy for asset protection and financial planning.
Chaldean experts should choose a topic that reflects their expertise on the subject and makes sure that their business is mentioned. Entrepreneurs might also find a website that may be interested in letting them host a guest column. Whenever you get published, make copies and send them to all your current and potential customers.
Give Back to the Community
Any time you do anything for a charity such as sponsoring an event or donating free materials, make sure the press knows about it ahead of time. They might send a reporter to cover the occasion, but if not, send them photos to publish afterwards. In addition, be sure to have plenty of literature at the event to highlight your involvement and community support. Not only are your efforts going to a wonderful cause, but you are also helping to enhance the event.
There are a number of resources that offer Chaldean entrepreneurs the opportunity to share their business information. Chaldeans should take advantage of these free resources to promote their business and make potential customers aware of their offerings. A timely example includes www.CHALDEAN.org Yellow Page directory which is offering Chaldean owned businesses a web page listing. Other examples include placing your business information on the bulletin boards at local stores, schools, or churches.
If you sell any type of product used by families, contact your local PTA and offer a special shopping night where a percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the school.
Think there’s no time for all this? Or you made plans but got too busy? Try scheduling one to two hours per week or a specific date and time to focus on advertising your business. When the phones start ringing with new orders, you’ll be glad you did.
The Chaldean Education and Career Center is a group of highly dedicated group of professionals, career counselors, and educators working to identify and create employment and education opportunities for the Chaldean community.
The CE&CC works closely with local school districts and colleges on issues relating to the Chaldean community, organizes education and employment workshops, offer resume consultation, employment services, college admissions, scholarship applications, testing preparation, and mock interview sessions. To support the Chaldean Education & Career Center please email CECC@Chaldean.org.