Many business owners are working harder than they need to be when it comes to attracting new customers. As the old adage goes, it is better to work smart than to work hard. This statement can be applied to many different areas in business, but today we are going to focus on one specific example of “smart” marketing that many business owners don’t pick up on.

It is much more efficient to market to prospects that have already been identified and isolated for you… by someone else.

For example, I once had a client who owned a tanning salon. Over the years, he tried a variety of marketing tactics, everything from direct mail to advertisements in the yellow pages. And while he experienced moderate success, he was hungry for more.

He was facing the same challenge that many business owners face, the reality that only a small fraction of the general population was interested in his services. Even the use of targeted direct advertising was not efficient enough to offer a high return.

Because his potential customers were well distributed geographically and demographically, it was difficult to zero in.

One day, we had a breakthrough. Instead of trying to identify prospects by himself, why not look for others who had already done so? As soon as I floated the idea, a light bulb went off in his head. He immediately thought of a perfect solution: his local gym.

Gym members, by and large, are concerned about their physical appearance—and are willing to invest time and money into looking their best. Perfect targets!

The gym had already done the hard work in identifying and recruiting these customers. Now all my client had to do was figure out how to access them.

Ultimately, he ended up offering a free tanning session at his salon to new gym members. This benefitted the gym in the form of added value, and it obviously benefitted my client by bringing scores of prospects in the door.

Now think about your marketing for a moment.

Are you reaching prospective customers in a cost-effective manner? Are you taking advantage of groups, like gym members for instance, that have already been assembled by some else?

Or are you working harder than you need to be?