What The Tech? Affinity Marketing

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    By Jim Knapp



    Marketing a business is hard work. You throw ad money out there and rarely know whether or not it will succeed in attracting customers. Heaven knows that newspapers, phone book ads, and mailers have lost their shine. Using the internet for marketing on your own is usually a bust. And hiring someone to enhance your internet presence is costly and difficult to track (although necessary).

    On the other hand attracting business from service agreement customers, friends and existing customers is easier, cheaper, and more fun. What if we could expand on that same idea. Marketing by fellowship! Using connections that you already have, maybe you could attract new customers. Affinity marketing relationships can come in almost any form, and there are all sorts of them out their. Barclays Bank partners with the NFL to offer customized credit cards with team logos and a way to earn points toward NFL purchases. That partnership benefits both businesses. With this affinity marketing arrangement, Barclays can tap into a new market of credit card users and the NFL can enhance its image by offering fans discounts and a cool card. AARP is famous for hooking up with all sorts of other businesses to promote themselves; movie ticket discounts, insurance, travel packages...you name it.

    To me, one of the most natural affinity marketing relationships for a contractor to exploit would be with business customers. If you have businesses that you do work for, why not set up something with the boss to offer all of the employees working there a discount?  Any service or installation that they have done by you in their homes would get a prearranged discount.  The boss could send out an email announcing that anyone employed there is entitled to discounts on home services from your contracting firm. By doing that the boss gets to offer another benefit to employees; and you get new customers that have a natural connection (affinity) to you.  You could even have some inexpensive discount cards printed up to hand out; there are lots of printers on the internet offering print package of just such cards.  The cost of discounting some of your services for new customers is generally a lot less than bulk mailers or radio ads.

    Of course, affinity marketing can be more casual than that. You could get permission to put your discount cards out on the counter at retailers that you do business with (they get to look like they are offering their customers a benefit).  Slip a discount to your Rotary pals, or your church group.  If you think about it you have a lot more relationships in the community than you realize.  Why not take advantage of that and offer people that you have an affinity for another reason to do business with you?



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