Advertising to other companies doesn’t mean running TV spots in the Super Bowl. It’s much more targeted than that, which means it’s much more economical. Direct mail is probably the single most effective medium to use; it’s intrusive and there’s very little waste circulation. There are three keys to successful direct mail: a good prospect list, a compelling message, and repetition. You can make up a short prospect list yourself if you spend a little time with the Yellow Pages. Just look up the dealers and other prospects in your market area, call them to get the names of the general managers, service writers, sales managers and buyers, and you’ll have a solid prospect list to work with. Keep it handy, by the way, because you’ll use it later when you start making sales calls.
The direct mail piece itself doesn’t have to be a four-color glossy catalogue. In fact, a one-page personal letter introducing you and describing how you can make money for the other company (in one form or another, that should always be your pitch) will be a good place to start. Every three or four weeks, send another one saying the same thing in different ways. You can announce new equipment or product lines you’ve added, quote a recently satisfied customer, or brag about any awards you’ve received. Address it to each individual on your list, keep it to one page, include a picture or two, and make sure you send something at least once a month.
A web site is a useful business-to-business marketing tool, too. If it has plenty of pictures of your work or products, testimonials from satisfied customers, and some information about your background and your company’s capabilities, it will give the prospect even more reasons to send business your way. Also make sure there is a working email link, phone and fax numbers, and keep it all up to date. You don’t need to hire a high-priced web designer, by the way; most hosting services offer perfectly good bare-bones templates. The site itself can cost less than $10 a month.
Dave Donelson distills the experiences of hundreds of entrepreneurs into practical advice for small business owners and managers in the Dynamic Manager's Guides, a series of how-to books about marketing and advertising, sales techniques, motivating personnel, financial management, and business strategy.