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3. Use Your Database To Write Customers a Personal Letter.
Database marketing, explains business writer Mark Hendricks, aims "not to make the sale, but keep the customer." The underlying technique is to use database records of customers’ latest purchases, and frequency and amount of past purchases, to create targeted mailers that let you stay in touch with your customers.

The most popular of these mailers are listed above. But another type of mailer, fast and inexpensive to produce, sometimes proves the most powerful of all: personal letters.

Take the time to concentrate on customers individually by writing them letters personally tailored to their specific situation. Mention that you’ll phone in a week to follow up on the matters you’ve broached. And add a handwritten P.S. recapping your main message.

4. Try Niche Marketing.
Many of today’s most successful companies have stopped marketing to the broad, some say meaninglessly broad, customer categories of the 1980s (e.g., "heavy users" or "women aged 25-49"). Instead they reach out to narrowly-focused groups, using a strategy called "niche marketing."

  • Compile a comprehensive list of your prospects and customers.
  • Narrow the list to a profitable group you believe you can serve better than the competition.
  • Create a profile of the traits common to these customers, such as sales volume or location.
  • Use this profile to tailor products, services and advertising to your niche market and qualify new prospects.
  • Be prepared to experiment with several niches before finding the one that fits your company best.

5. Distribute Free Samples.
Free samples are always welcome. Food and beverages are natural candidates, as are free trials of non-consumables like furniture or office equipment. In fact, anything customers must try in order to appreciate lends itself to sampling. Sampling has historically produced great successes, from the free nibbles that have launched cookie stores to the mass mailings.

6. Present Free Demonstrations, Consultations & Seminars.
Free demonstrations or consultations, which can take place on your premises or that of your customers, or at homes, community centers, rented conference rooms, trade fairs, festivals or other events. When staging demonstrations, talk for no more than 15 minutes and end by closing the sale. When doing consultations, determine how much information you must impart to prove expertise without giving away too much; end by closing the sale.



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