In the words of David Packard, “Marketing is too important to be left to the marketing department.” Of course, not everyone is fortunate enough to have a marketing department, but even if you do, there are a number of creative, straightforward and efficient marketing strategies that will work wonders for anyone who has ambition to spare and money to save. There is sufficient wiggle room here to personalize these concepts as you see fit, and in most cases, the amount of money you decide to invest is entirely up to you. Bland marketing will get you nowhere; you need to learn to play to your strengths. These six tips will give you a strong start.
Consider the Pince-Nez
From amateurs to experts, publishing articles in trade or local magazines is a great way to showcase yourself professionally. Published work, in print or online, carries more weight than your average advertisement, while altogether avoiding the cost of advertising. Once published, you can advertise the accomplishment for free on your website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn . . . you get the idea.
Rinse and Re-Use
Get the most out of your content. There’s no shame in posting the same, or similar, content on multiple platforms. Post something on Facebook? Take ten seconds and Tweet it, too. Blogs are no different, and, depending on your level of professionalism, you can easily turn a series of related posts into an eBook. The eBook, like published articles, has that extra heft to it. You aren’t messing around if you’re writing books, and advertising your eBooks on the company website and across social media oozes competence.
No Man is an Island, Entire of Itself
There are countless ways to support the community you love while eliciting a little love in return. Share your knowledge for free by teaching seminars (volunteering through your local Chamber of Commerce is a tried and true marketing plan, and simply being associated with the Chamber will add credibility and introduce you to influential people). Donate to your favorite charities and create tasteful press releases asking for the community’s help in raising funds together. If you grew up a sports fan, sponsor a little league team; with your logo attached to the best-looking uniforms in town, you’re going to make a lot of kids happy, and laughter is contagious.
Lick the Hand that Feeds
Rewarding existing clients is the easiest way to show your appreciation and retain their support. It doesn’t take much. A hand-written note, even if just offering thanks and well wishes, means a lot. Remembering birthdays wins huge brownie points, too. Often these notes will float around the desk or office, serving as a constant reminder that your grateful company is out there (especially if you use custom cards imprinted with the company logo). Clients who have been around for a while are eligible for special treatment. Send small gifts or fun company products—those in the food and beverage business have it easy. Regardless, let your appreciation be known and known often.
With a Little Help From Your Friends
Like it or not, relationships account for an enormous share of business. You likely know a few people who are pros at networking. Well, these are the very people who find the process enjoyable, and no doubt they will be more than happy to put you in touch with a handful of relevant friends. Take these people out for coffee, and don’t try to make partners the first day. A successful meeting is a simple one. You will definitely want to share your ideas about business, so be prepared to discuss why yours is unique. But you are also looking for advice. Listen carefully, join the club, and invaluable recommendations will follow.
This isn’t for everyone, but when executed successfully, guerrilla marketing can provide an unforgettable experience. In theory, it is much like guerrilla warfare, in which unconventional means are employed to compete in a competitive environment. The objective is to capture the public’s attention by assembling a winning combination of risk, innovation and appeal, thereby causing the idea to go viral. Popular examples involve legal graffiti, PR stunts and street events. Famous examples include the Oscar Meyer Wiener-Mobile and the Goodyear Blimp, but Folgers was more financially frugal with their idea to make manholes and street vents look like steaming cups of coffee. If you stage a public event, be sure to take pictures and record video, and use these for additional marketing online. If appropriate, alert the local news stations, which are always looking for a fun story. Word to the wise: proceed with caution, and consider any public “stunt” from all angles. You want your company to become famous for intelligent innovation, not infamous for a marketing campaign that ended up in court.
Living Under a Rock?
If you haven’t already, start a blog, make a Facebook page and market yourself on Twitter. These are the bare essentials, and you might as well throw in a LinkedIn account for good measure. All of these things, as Facebook proudly professes, are free and always will be. Let them have your data. Establishing yourself and your company online is a good way to let everyone know that you aren’t living in the stone ages. The times they are a changing, but so are you. And you never know who will stumble across your online presence. You are one “like” away from being introduced to a game-changing client.
They may be simple . . .
But these ideas produce sound results, and it’s easy to see how one ingenious concept will lead to another. Certain things, like customer appreciation, can never be exhausted; it’s a constant work in progress. Have faith. Mastering the fundamentals will take you far.