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Marketing 101: Extending Your Network

April 2010
By: Jerry Thacker
Our world is a connected place. People form families, have children, create networks of relatives, and on and on the relationships go. It is quite likely that those whom you do serve will know others whom you could serve. In order to reach those new clients, you need to have an active referral program.

I found that people who are in a particular life situation try to find others who are in the same situation. Pregnant women tend to get together with others who are pregnant or who recently have been pregnant in order to share and learn from mutual experiences. Pregnancy help centers need to capitalize on these natural networks by networking out from the prospects and clients we have in order to find others who need our services.

Two advertising items come immediately to mind: your business card and refrigerator magnets.

Business cards are inexpensive. Look on the Internet and you will find numerous digital printing companies that will now print your full-color business cards inexpensively. Every person who comes through your door should leave with more than one of your business cards. In fact, why not get your business cards perforated and fan-folded with three to five cards hinged together. The first card is for the prospect. Label it: "Because we care about you." The others can be marked with small, tasteful type: "For a friend in need." Believe me, young women will keep the other cards handy and give each one away to a girlfriend who thinks she may have a crisis pregnancy.

A number of years ago I made a missionary trip to Colombia, South America. In that country with a rising standard of living, it was considered a sign of social progress to own a refrigerator. In most homes, the refrigerator was located in the living or dining room. The kitchen was just a small cooking area at the rear of the residence.

While in our country we don't give the refrigerator such prominence, it still becomes the repository of schedules, pictures, children's artwork, and a hundred other things usually stuck on with a magnet. Refrigerator magnets utilizing basic copy such as, "Pregnant? Need Advice?" and your phone number can yield inquiries.

A variation on this theme is refrigerator magnets that are nothing more than small picture frames cut out of magnetic material and printed around the edges with the logo, phone number, and address of your center. What a great project to use to approach a donor! At our house, we have some magnets on the refrigerator that are more than a decade old. Try them, especially in locations where there are multiple roommates such as you'll find in a college dormitory or apartment complex. (They'll stick on washers and dryers, too.)

Remember when searching for business cards and refrigerator magnets: During these tough economic times, we need to be creative with the resources God has entrusted to us. The Internet is a great resource at your fingertips. Take advantage of the savings available online. For example, in the past I have used Vistaprint, ( an online digital printer that has great prices. But where the savings are really increased is in the coupons and online specials that they email to regular customers. Take the time to do some research. You can greatly reduce your financial outlay by taking the time to search the web for better prices for business cards, magnets, and other specialty advertising items.

Jerry Thacker, B.A., M.A., is President of Right Ideas, Inc., and Publisher of At the Center. He can be reached at

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