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MONEY

Grassroots Marketing

Let's face it. You're not Procter & Gamble or Volkswagen, so when it comes to marketing to your customers, you're more likely to get a little creative than to grab your checkbook and sign on with some hot New York agency. That's what these business owners have done in Inc.com's Guide to Grassroots Marketing. From counter help that sing and dance to engineers that produce comic strips, each of these businesses found effective ways to spread the word about their businesses and to retain their customers without spending a fortune.
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Acquiring Customers

The People's Marketing
Have everyone sell their experience as consumers of your products or services.
Hands On Marketing
Roxanne Quimby, CEO of Burt's Bees, feels the best way to sell her products is by putting it in your hands, literally.
Taking on Procter
She may not have the resources of her giant competitors, but Amilya Antonetti is making her own mark in the soap business, one customer at a time.
Community Leads: A Pat on the Back
A restaurateur details how he is sending congratulatory letters and an offer for free wine to promoted workers.
Battle Grounds
Here's how Rand Smith, the founder of coffee-bar chain Maine Roasters Coffee, competes with Starbucks by leveraging the Maine tradition of supporting locally owned businesses.
Triple-Scoop Sellers
Local ice-cream shop hires the most creative counter help it can find to sing, dance, and draw in customers.
How Do I Market to Local Businesses Whose Owners Are Too Busy to Join Associations?
Entrepreneur and marketer Lisa H. Buksbaum never leaves home without her business cards. Neither should you. More advice: show prospective clients how you help current clients, invite guests to your speaking engagements, and send out quarterly newsletters.
How Can I Expand My Small Business, Which Depends on a Couple of Clients?
Your best source of new clients will always be old clients, according to guerilla marketer Jay Conrad Levinson.

Retaining Customers

I Read It in the Funny Papers
Marketing innovation doesn't have to come at a high price. Sometimes all it takes is understanding who your customers are -- and what will make them laugh.
Garden of Eden
Offering a soothing ambience and complimentary cups of tea, herb shop serves as sanctuary for customers, creating strong and lasting ties.
Anniversary Waltz
A florist uses sales records to generate letters reminding past customers to order again.
Establish a Late Arrival Policy
To ease the frustration of arriving past closing time, this quick-oil-change outfit offers latecomers money-off coupons for their next visit.

Product Sales

Milking Customer Loyalty
With the help of its customers, Stonyfield Farm was able to get its products onto supermarket shelves.
An American Start-Up
In 1999, a pair of Wharton grads started a company to build and sell a specialized computer mouse. They chronicled their experiences -- the trials and triumphs of starting a business -- in a house newsletter.
Cool Juice, Hot Sales
Unable to get his bottled drink on supermarket shelves, this CEO got the product stocked on the shelves of nontraditional retail venues.

Word of Mouth

Word of Mouse
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to build buzz about your online business. And getting people talking about you doesn't have to cost a fortune.
Get Business to Come to You
Here are some surefire ways to boost referrals.
A Little Help from Your Friends
A satisfied client can be your best sales rep. Here are some pointers for helping customers "sell" for you.
The Word Is Out
For this entrepreneur, one cold call led to a word-of-mouth publicity blitz.

Tips for Soloists and Partnerships

Associated Press
Cross-promoting your business is cost-effective and increases sales.
Make Your Customer a Winner
As a way to promote both his customers and his design expertise in one neat package, this designer enters industry competitions in his clients' names.
Last updated: Feb 1, 2006




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