I rarely changed my barber except I travel or relocate. I have my hair cut quarterly . No, I am not stingy , I prefer a head full of hair for no reason. My wife says it makes me a ‘ better ‘ man . Whatever that one means , she wouldn’t tell me .

This barber is new. Not new in the environment but this is my first time I visited a barbers shop ever since I relocated here for business purpose ..

As I sat down and allowed my hair to be pampered and the excesses to be removed, I had to literally guide and guard the barbers hands to give me my kind of perfect cut . If it were to by former barber, I would need to stress myself….well this one is new .

He finished his job , I paid him his money and out I strolled to my car. In 3 months to this time , I will have another cut in a barbers shop . But the choice of my preferences still very open .

Why ?

Let’s see how this barber has failed to capture a potential customer for life.

1. No one collected my details before I decided to have my hair cut .

2. No proper record of my style of haircut …

3. No receipts given for the payment I made …

4. No thank you message as I left the shop …

5. No request for referral from my family ,friends or people I know.

6. No paraphernalia given to serve as public stunts ….

These are common mistakes small business owners make day in ,day out . The fact that business is small , doesn’t mean it won’t grow.

The business is only small , thinking and aspirations should be bigger . A small business owner also thinks money when marketing is being mentioned. Not all market requires money . In fact , ingenuity and desire to sell are the bedrock of great marketing strategy .

The tips I will highlight here require little or no money at all. All its required is just little creativity and desire to grow your customer base .

Let’s dive into it.

1. Set up a system to capture customer data .

Every person that comes to buy your product or service has the tendency to buy again and he is also a magnet for more clients. For everyone that comes to buy from you, there about 20 people he/ she can influence directly to buy from you. Friends, family, colleagues, co-religionists etc.

All it takes is to set a simple way to get phone number , address or place of work . If you can do all these , it is better . But if you have liitle time to capture data , you dare not fail to get phone numbers. More than 90% of people have phone numbers now .

You can use this data to remind , advertise or get more connected to your clients. Getting the data is the beginning , using it is the creative part . You will use the data . That is the essence of it collection and collation . If you will not use , please do not collect . …

Data capturing and effective utilisation is the king now . It requires no or low-cost to execute. All you need is modicum of creativity.

2. Ask for a refferal from your client .

Marketing has advanced to the level of close relationship . Relationship marketing is about getting to know about your customers as much as they know about you . Don’t just sell. Get to know them and engage them , within limits , of their businesses , concerns and how you can help with their businesses too. This is the foundation of future request for referral . The more you show concern about them,the more they like you and most likely refer someone to you especially if you have given them bigger worth than their money .

Do not be scared to ask for referral. The barber I mentioned above couldn’t ask me about my kids because he never showed interest in me . If he would know that I have boys , he would have lobbied me to bring my kids too for good haircuts …

Refferal is the beginning of bottomless sales funnel for continuous patronage of your business. Ask for it !

3. Create and share your paraphernalia shamelessly .

Create paraphernalia for your business and share shamelessly . Pamphlets , stickers , key holders , shirts etc are small gifts you can give your customers and when they are used they serve like mobile advertising boards for your business.

Imagine my barber putting a sticker on my car. It will remind me everyday about him and his business and whoever sees the sticker on my car tends to patronise him.

Awareness is the first step to marketing. Get into the face of everyone in your community by sharing your paraphernalia endlessly .

4. Get feedback always.

How do you know you have provided a better product or excellent service if you don’t get to hear directly from your customers ? Make it simple for your customers to give you instant feedback . A simple page requesting for a yes or no answer about your customers satisfaction of your products or services will be enough . You can also use text messages ; words of mouth etc . Just make sure you get feedback each time they visit you or buy from you .

5. Befriend some of your customers .

You need to get closer to some of your customers. These set of people has to be selected based on their authority, the gift of garb or influence in the community. These people will form the inner circle where you can draw worthy fans and ambassadors of your business. If you must provide them with discounted or even free services/products, please do. Words of mouth are powerful especially if they coming from influencers. Never miss this opportunity. All customers are equal but some are more equal than others.

These are very simple marketing strategies any small business can implement to climb the ladder to greatness . If you will use these principles and be patient enough to reap the benefits , you will soon join the league of businesses that thrive no matter the economic conditions.

PS: let me recommend some books for you if you will delve deeper into how simple marketing tips can turn your business around,

1. Purple Cow by Seth Godin

2. Guerilla marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson

3. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

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