In many cases, starting your business and diving into the initial growth and startup is not the problematic part — outside of acquiring funding. Most entrepreneurs and business owners already have plans for their startup, right down to the products and services they’ll eventually offer.
But no matter how great your offerings are, it won’t make a lick of difference if you cannot gain enough visibility. The business world is highly competitive, and that means you’ll be up against incredible odds. To garner customers, you must promote your business. Yet, for a small business, it may not be immediately apparent how to go about doing this.
Promoting your brand involves so much more than simple advertisements and the like. How do you get people familiar with your brand — or better yet, loyal and making purchases? How can you establish trust and reliability? How can you stand out from the competition and make your brand a household name?
It all comes down to the promotion and forward-facing community-campaigns you launch — here are five tactics to consider.
1. Unconventional Promotions
Outside of social media, print advertisements, event attendance and any of the other usual forms of promotion, other more creative channels are available that you can tap into.
For example, wrapping your own car, employee vehicles or even paid reps with a cool vinyl wrap or promotion is a great way to spread the word about your business. It’s a form of word-of-mouth or visual advertising that just naturally occurs as the vehicle in question moves about the local area. Even if it’s parked in a nearby lot, passersby will take notice of the skin.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and do something other brands normally wouldn’t. In fact, this will give you the edge over the competition — if only because your audience sees you’re doing something fresh and exciting.
2. Public Relations
For small businesses especially, getting involved with your local community or nearby events can help boost your publicity and the public’s perception of your brand. Try sponsoring a local sport or community team. Attend local events and give out freebies — or even participate as a company. Get in touch with other local businesses to offer support or collaborate in some way.
A side effect of working with the community is that you naturally build trust and rapport. That can net you a lot of positive attention in its own right, especially through good ol’ word of mouth advertising — your customers will share their experience with friends, family and others. There are many different types of events or appearances you can make, too.
3. Provide a Local Experience
Many large companies or reputable organizations will give tours and local experiences to their fans. In fact, breweries and wineries do this a lot with free tastings or property tours. Interested customers will come in, have a look around and then either make a purchase or leave with much more knowledge about a brand.
While you may not have a large enough property to give a full tour — or maybe you do — you can still offer a local experience for customers who want to visit your local branch. This is a fantastic opportunity to promote or tease new products, offer freebies or simply interact with your local community.
5. Online Reviews and Previews
The more obvious example of online reviews is sites like Amazon or blogs where customers talk about their experiences, but this isn’t the only way to get some exposure for your brand. In fact, some of the better ways involve reaching out to the community or influencers directly to streamline the process.
Try getting in touch with a famous YouTuber in your area, for example, and offer them the chance to review and talk about your products or services. Find a local radio personality or even a TV news host and do the same.
It’s even a great idea to open up your own social media profiles for customers, allowing them to review and discuss their interactions with your brand. This provides a public, highly-visible channel for everyone to air their grievances or even talk about positive experiences.
6. Conventional Promotions
Then, of course, there are the more tried and true avenues for promotion, which include social media and print ads, SEO or search engine visibility, infographics and marketing materials and even brand advocates or company representatives.
The issue with these options — not that they’re necessarily a problem — is that nearly every brand in existence will also be running promotional campaigns and using similar strategies. You want to stand out from the crowd and truly become unique. That’s why we recommend spending the most time within your local communities and engaging your local audiences.