How do I attract customers to my new business?

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Dear Norm,
I’m in the process of opening an educational facility, but I can’t get anybody to sign up. I’ve blanketed fairs and festivals with my information. I’ve run newspaper ads and held open houses. Our prices are lower than our competitors’ and we charge no registration fee, but we have no takers. What else can I do?

Dear Kathy,
Never assume a business can’t succeed just because you get nowhere with your initial marketing attempts. I started my messenger company with a mass mailing, offering to do the first five deliveries for free. I got zero response. I was baffled until an office manager told me, “We do dozens of deliveries everyday. Five means nothing. What about the next fifty?” So the market was there. I was just trying to get customers the wrong way. In your case, price is not the main concern of parents. If they’re going to send you their children, they have to know you, trust you, think well of you. I’d try working through community clubs, social groups, churches, and synagogues. Do a brochure with testimonials from local people saying how terrific you are with children. Later on, open houses will be important, and price may become an issue, but first you have to establish your trustworthiness.
Yours truly, Norm

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