When I was a kid, my siblings and I ran lemonade stands every summer. My dad would encourage us to move off the front lawn and go down the street to collect as many prospects as possible. “If they don’t know you’re selling anything, you won’t sell anything.”
Today, I see how that truth holds up across the board in any industry on the business landscape. However, gaining exposure in your business, whether B2B or B2C, isn’t as simple as holding up lemonade signs and knocking on the neighbor’s doors. What are the most effective ways to gain exposure in today’s market? Let’s dive into the top ten things you can do in any business:
1. Be Interesting
Richard Branson is a great example of doing crazy things for free publicity. Among many outlandish publicity stunts, Branson attempted to fly around the world in a hot air balloon, wore a wedding dress and makeup, jumped off the roof of a casino, and drove a tank through Times Square. His genius lies in the ability to accept all publicity as a gift. When Virgin Airlines was in its early days of competition with British Airlines, Branson, in full awareness of the David-and-Goliath situation they found themselves in, helped invent cheeky ads that made consumers laugh and brought attention to the airline. The very name Virgin was chosen because it was risqué and could draw attention to itself.
2. Have Fun
Businesses that have fun and engage their customers in this fun create a more memorable experience and a deeper emotional connection, which leads to more referrals, more engagement and more excitement. Lay's used the concept of fun within the social media world launching "Do Us a Flavor," - a challenge in which consumers created new Lay's potato-chip flavors for the chance to win $1 million or 1 percent of the winning chip flavor's net sales.
More than 1 million consumers voted via Facebook, Twitter or text. The grand prize went to Karen Weber-Mendham, from Land O' Lakes, Wis. "Do Us a Flavor" tripled Frito-Lay's U.S. Facebook fans and boosted sales by 12 percent nationwide.
3. Innovate: Look for Underutilized Space or Opportunities
In his book The Power of Broke, Daymond John tells the story of bringing his fashion brand Fubu from obscurity to being worth $250 million dollars, and his marketing strategy of hiring graffiti artists to spray paint “decorate” shop owner’s doors in New York City. They developed a massive grassroots exposure to their target audience for pennies on the dollar compared to what standard marketing would have brought them. As in the case of Richard Branson, sometimes not having the budget of your competitors is an advantage because it causes you to be resourceful and find genius avenues of connecting with your market that your competitors won’t think of.
4. Execute Consistently:
Do what you say you’re going to do. As you begin getting known by the customers you serve, no matter how few there are at the beginning, if you are counted on as a reliable trustworthy source, you become referable. People will want to become your ambassador because you did what you said you were going to do and unfortunately, very few businesses capitalize on this fundamental principle. Consistency facilitates replication, and replication is often the key to growth and expansion, whether it's for the owner of a franchise or the massive global scale of companies like Starbucks. People expect a soy latte to taste the same in over 55 countries. Consistency does not mean boring, however. Put to best use, it is a road map for each area of your business. It’s possible to be extremely consistent without stifling creativity or individuality. A band can perform the same song a hundred different ways while staying true to the distinctive sound that its fans expect. Among many other things, in business you can be consistent in your marketing, customer service, product quality and in anticipating your consumer’s needs.
5. Cross Market/Partner:
Find brands and businesses that reach the same target audience and complimentary products to offer. Develop partnerships with powerful market allies. In The Power of Partnership, Jay Abraham discusses the wisdom in strategically aligning your business with other brands who share your market and customer. Anyone from another entrepreneur building a business similar to yours to someone with a large social media following can be a cross marketing and partnership potential. Consider the inseparable partnership of Coca Cola and McDonalds who’ve been cross marketing and promoting each other since 1955. Ray Kroc contacted an executive of Coca Cola, claimed his restaurant was about to take America by storm, and asked about selling the beverage company’s soda. To this day, executives from both companies say that a single handshake sealed the relationship between Coke and McDonalds.
6. Make Yourself Visible Online:
Have your social media profile page set up on your respective industry’s page. If you’re a Realtor, be on Trulia and Zillow. If you’re an event coordinator, be on all the wedding websites for your area. Help your SEO by claiming your spot on Google. Creating valuable content also builds your SEO and draws people, giving them reasons to visit and share your website or products. One way to create relevant content is blogging. Setting up a blog on your website is a great way to drive more traffic to your site from potential customers. For blogs to be a successful tool, however, you need to post frequently and use custom-written content that shows how you are an expert in your field. Do your research and find out which keywords for your market are frequently used on search engines. Websites like Wordtracker.com allow you to see the amount of times a keyword has been searched in the last 24 hours. Once you've figured out what those keywords are, incorporate them into your posts.
Identify your target audience and advertise to them with paid marketing such as targeted Google AdWords, Facebook Ads and Instagram posts allow amazing micro targeting abilities that were not available ten years ago. Besides Google being the #1 search engine with a market share of over 65%-70% over other search engines, Google has also done an amazing job of amassing a network of websites to display Google’s sponsored ads for them. Next time you are reading the New York Times, notice the ads displayed throughout the site. Those are Google’s sponsored ads and they provide advertisers with yet another way to reach their prospects on other relevant places on the web. This reach is second to none.
9. Become Aesthetically Appealing:
Modern branding, updated websites, intelligent email campaigns and overall high quality marketing intentionally communicates to the prospect that you are serious about what you do and that you’re good at doing it. If you’re not updated in your branding, the prospect begins to unconsciously wonder if they can trust your company to care for their needs. How can you care for someone else’s financial portfolio, pets, beauty, or bring any kind of service or product to the market when you don’t care enough to create an appealing website? You can sell anything if you’re beautiful, my grandma always said. Turns out she was pretty much right.
10. Reach Out to the Press:
A few mentions in the press builds credibility and social proof which you can feature on your website. They go a long way to bringing eyeballs to your website or business. Besides being a great way to build your business on moral grounds, giving creatively to your local community and to other businesses will give you noticeability in the public eye. So go reach out.
11. Go to Your Prospects:
Don’t wait for them to find you. Go to their events, their stores and the websites they shop on. This is where partnering with other companies who serve the same prospects and sharing the marketing load could do you a lot of good. Anticipate what it is that your consumer is wanting and show up with your product on their front door or computer screen, in their newspaper or at their favorite store.
Just like I’ve moved on from holding lemonade signs up and marching down the street to get customers, we’ve come a long way from the days of only having print and radio to expose ourselves. It’s time for us to capitalize on the great opportunities we have today and build exposure to the services and products our businesses provide. For more information on how 10twelve Marketing Agency can create a strategy for growth in your business, contact us today.