out of free ideas to advertise my computer repair business
November 13, 2005 10:44 AM   Subscribe

I'm running out of free ideas to advertise my computer repair business! I could use some help.

Currently, I am making folders of information that I hand to bars and clubs in the local area, advertising WiFi for them and how it can help their business. (I can email it to you if you want) So far I have not had any callbacks, but I have not been aggressive in contacting them because I have been pretty sick lately. I also put up flyers for my business with business cards. I have a great logo, a good list of old clients, and I can't think of more ways to advertise. I am a consultant: I do pretty much anything computer upgrade/build/repair etc. and I am 22 years old. What can I do for free (other than my time and energy) to advertise and be heard?

I am located in the Pacific Northwest.
posted by Dean Keaton to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Make this your policy: If I can't fix it, it's free.

ie, if the person is having probs with their computer and you can't fix it, there's no charge, even if it takes you 3 hours to figure out you can't fix it. Maybe that's already your policy but it it's not, I'd reconsider and then get the word out that that's how you work.
posted by dobbs at 11:00 AM on November 13, 2005

Response by poster: This guy had some bad ram in the video card of his laptop, and it took me 9 hours to fix. I charged him 4 hours. That is also a good idea, thank you.
posted by Dean Keaton at 11:05 AM on November 13, 2005

Referrals. Get onto that list of old clients. Even if it's disguised as a follow-up ("How's your computer going, still running okay?") you can not-so-subtly hint that they might want to recommend you to their friends who are having computer problems. If you've given them good service, they'll be happy to recommend you. Make sure your name is at the front of their minds when that situation comes up.
posted by chrismear at 11:10 AM on November 13, 2005

  • Write a weekly Tech column in your local paper
  • Free class at local library (how to buy a pc, digital camera, start a blog, etc)
  • Ask old clients for referrals - maybe they earn credits for each referrral?
  • Promote your WiFi package to anyone with a waiting room (doctors, dentists, auto shops)
  • Local free adware/spyware cleanup day. Have local school donate space on a Saturday and residents bring their machines in. Position yourself as an expert, give them marketing materials.

  • posted by mmangano at 11:15 AM on November 13, 2005

    chrismear is dead on with referrals, and mmangano takes it the essential step further. Give your clients INCENTIVES to refer you to others! How about a yearly drawing for a free lcd monitor (or some other product/service)? Then, everyone who refers you to a new clients is entered into the drawing. Be sure to integrate it into your literature/website/pitch, etc. so they start talking.

    In addition, you could extend this idea to giveaways just for using your services.

    Also, start a newsletter (email might be best) that you send to your past clients. Plaster it with info on your giveaway, and make to encourage clients to forward the email to friends.
    posted by masymas at 12:47 PM on November 13, 2005

    Go get Guerilla Marketing from your local library tomorrow. Read it. Really.

    It's not about how to market like big business. It's about how to market yourself as the best #3 guy.

    Have you thought of sending out an email (or series of phone calls) to your clients for a regular maintenance deal....associate it with an oil change - think of it as coming by to check spyware, virii, disk damage....and if you find something wrong, you'll knock 10% off.

    Go to your local Gyms and large housing developments. In other words - places where people congregate. Find the local dealers who *do not* have an outservice deal (or home installation).
    posted by filmgeek at 1:39 PM on November 13, 2005

    I wrote in part about this a couple of years ago. (That's the site of someone else who I gave permisson to repost the articles.) Should still be plenty of useful still.

    But a few comments:

    I have a great logo

    Nobody gives a crap about your logo. It's useless to clients.

    I am making folders

    Sounds like a waste of time when you're cold-calling or running dry promotions. Save these for when you've got a hot lead.

    a good list of old clients
    Call them up and see if they need anything new. Also, while you're talking to them, get referrals. Referrals, referrals, referrals. Your business grows with referrals.

    I also put up flyers for my business with business cards

    Excellent. Paper the whole town with those fliers. And then do it again the next week and the week after and every week after that. Change your fliers once in a while so they stay fresh.
    posted by Mo Nickels at 1:49 PM on November 13, 2005

    Chamber of commerce. Businesses are always looking for new computer techs.
    posted by SpecialK at 2:26 PM on November 13, 2005

    Wow Mo Nickels, great article!
    posted by meta87 at 4:03 PM on November 13, 2005

    I second Mo Nickels. After running a computer repair franchise myself, I can verify the best free method of getting the word out is to take to the streets. Hit the church parking lot on Sundays; go to the business district and hand deliver your flyer. You may run into the occasional jerk who comments about soliciting, but the majority will not care.
    posted by Sagres at 6:49 PM on November 13, 2005

    advertise my computer repair business

    Hopefully, you don't advertise your business as such, since you do (or are willing to do) much more than just repair computers. (Among other things, as computers get cheaper, more and more people are willing to simply buy a new one rather than repair/upgrade an old one.)

    People need help with moving files to a new computer; people need computer lessons (offer: first one-hour lesson is free!); small businesses need help setting up computerized accounting systems; all businesses should have a website (offer: your own website and web domain for less than $500, all inclusive, including one year of support!); businesses need help with learning software ($xx per hour, onsite training on Word, Excel, and Quikbooks!) - consider what services you feel qualified and interested in offering.

    Also: would local places that sell computers be interested in giving you referals, or in suggesting you to potential customers who run small businesses?
    posted by WestCoaster at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2005

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