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Growing Your Niche Business

(February 2010) posted on Mon Jan 25, 2010

Finely targeting your marketing efforts is an effective way to start digging out of last year’s financial woes. This article offers tips to help you on your way.

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By Mark A. Coudray

Collateral products represent additional sales of items not directly related to the original purchase. This tactic, also called a cross-sell, is most often employed with a partner or as a joint venture. A perfect example of this is the program used to promote the fishing reels. Your partner offers a special on the reels and you offer a bundled special on shirts. With the manufacturer co-op advertising dollars, the end user gets a great deal and you end up with new customers and increased sales. You take the sale a step further by using an upsell to the bundle program described above.

Event promotion offers many collateral opportunities. Think about banners, signs, and P-O-P at the event itself. How about promotional flyers in advance of the event? Consider bumper stickers for all of the participants, supporters, and sponsors. How about an entire promotional bundle? You get the idea. The possibilities are endless.

One of the main drivers I have is my relationship with all of the local graphic-design studios and marketing and PR firms. These groups in your area need to know what you do and how you do it. By putting together packages that address all of the collateral materials in one place and offering a 15% (or higher) commission to the referring firms, you can create a steady stream of new business and establish yourself as the knowledgeable expert in that niche.

Increasing order frequency
Frequency refers to how many times per year a client buys from you. If your current record-keeping program does not allow you to create special reports, you’ll have to do the work by hand in a program like Microsoft Excel. You should be interested in several things. The first is how many times per year each customer buys. For most T-shirt companies the average is one order per customer every six to nine months. When you drill down you’ll find seasonal patterns in retail, tourism, and schools. You might sell two football orders to the high school booster club during football season and one for the annual fundraiser auction—and then nothing for nine months. So here you have three orders in three months and then nothing for the rest of the year.


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