Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the article now on Sitepoint about Marketing On A Shoestring:
While this technique is great for start-ups, I use it all the time as one of the most effective ways to generate new business. However, I make the piece of collateral specific to the prospect with whom I wish to work.
Three quick examples:
1. I wanted to work with a specific, national client. I emailed the President with 3 suggestions about how I could help. These suggestions were specific to their business (e.g. the unintentionally ineffective marketing messages their web site was conveying). The President sent me an email with a marketing piece he was working on and asked me to take a look. Within the hour I edited it, to show him what I can do. This has led to $45,000 in work since.
2. I approached an association of non-profits and offered to speak to their members for free about strategy. I showed the Executive Director my speech/presentation about non-profit strategy (crafted just for that meeting), and she scheduled me. That speech led to 3 assignments.
3. I sent a prospect a white paper I wrote about distributed IT projects, knowing that he was working on a similar project. He invited me in to talk more, and became a client.
The strategy doesn’t work all the time, and you have to be sure you want to work with a particular prospect (and know when to stop giving away free stuff) but it is inexpensive and very effective.
It is based on the philosophy of establishing trust and credibility, and of being willing to demonstrate value before asking for a dime.