Building your business heavily depends on who you know and who knows you. It’s all about relationships, in other words.
As a result, you frequently do not or cannot do business with people until you get to know them and they get to know and trust you. This relationship could be direct and personal or through a third party recommending you to someone with whom they work or do business.
In any case, being invisible will limit your ability to grow your business. This article will discuss how to increase your visibility cost-effectively but not cheaply.
Using these techniques, you can create a realistic plan based on your objectives. Some methods may not be appropriate or feasible for your business for various reasons. Others may necessitate a small amount of effort, planning, money, or all three. Begin with the idea that appeals to you, that you want to do, and that is within your ability, resources, and budget.
Once you have one promotion idea, move on to the next because these techniques work best when used in tandem.
Much of the information contained in these various methods can be applied more than once. For example, the information in your media release could be used to write a magazine article, or the tips in your fact sheet could be used to write a sales letter. Make your communications work hard and do as many tasks as possible. This will save you time and money and ensure that the key messages you want to convey to your customers and potential customers are consistent across all communication channels.
Advertorials are advertisements disguised as articles. You always see them in magazines and newspapers and don’t even realize it. Unless they bear an “advertisement” tag, you, the reader, are led to believe they are editorially independent features, which makes them extremely powerful.
Unfortunately, most advertorials are not free. Unless the information is so good and brave, the publication’s editor can immediately see how useful it will be to the readers.
Many large and small businesses have a brochure to promote their products or services. At the top of the range, these will have many pages and be glossy, colorful creations that scream, “We spent zillions on this.”
At the other end of the scale are photocopied DLE (envelope size) or smaller flyers that shriek, “We have spent almost no money on this.”
You’d prefer to be in the middle. You want a brochure that states, “We’re not big spenders. We place a high value on money. We know you won’t be swayed by expensive brochures’ fancy bells and whistles. We want to tell you how we can make your life easier or solve your problems in a friendly, non-threatening, and easy-to-read manner.”
A brochure does not have to be expensive. You can even print them yourself if you have a decent printer. However, it must be attractively designed as well as well written. This entails ensuring that there are no errors. If your copy is riddled with mistakes, your image will plummet. People will not trust you because they will reason that if you can’t properly communicate about your business, how can they trust you with theirs?
Have you ever noticed that almost no one writes personal, handwritten notes or letters? But it warms your heart to think someone took the time to handwrite a message or card for you.
You will immediately stand out if you send a card or handwritten note to a business contact. It will, at the very least, be opened and read. It all depends on the quality of the content and what you’re offering.
Cards are inexpensive if purchased in bulk from stationery stores. I have my color photocopies made with my logo on them.
Client or business recommendations
A client or business advisory is an update on events related to your business that you send to your clients and potential business partners. It is sometimes associated with current events, so it must be timely and relevant. You must respond quickly whenever an issue arises that you are qualified to comment on and make recommendations. Writing client advisories establishes you as an expert in your client’s eyes, making you the prominent person to contact when they require your services or products.
Advisories are extremely useful if you work in a field where change is constant. For example, if you run a recruitment firm, there is often value in informing your clients about upcoming legal changes or how a current issue in the news affects them.
Keep an eye out for opportunities to update your clients on developments in your field.
No matter your industry, having a company profile is an excellent way to promote yourself. It has numerous applications. For example, you can:
– Forward it to someone interested in your product or service.
When seeking media coverage, include it with your press release.
– Add it to your website.
– Use it as the foundation for a brochure.
A company profile is your narrative. It describes your company’s origins, what makes it special or unique, who you are, and your background and experience. It should include a statement about your intentions and what you do. This could be a mission statement, but because it is usually couched in formal and often meaningless language, I recommend you choose something more meaningful and personal that you believe will impact the person reading it.
Businesses turn one aspect of their expertise into an e-book they sell or give away. E-books are typically shorter than printed books, requiring less effort to produce.
The key to writing a successful e-book is to write about a topic people are interested in. For example, if you work in real estate, write about how to present your home for sale; if you work in recruitment, write about the ten most important things to do at an interview; or if you work in the automobile industry, write about what to look for when purchasing a new car.
Campaigns for email marketing
You have almost certainly received email marketing messages. Many businesses are now using them to target their customers directly because it is an excellent way to ensure your message reaches the right person. Of course, you’ll need their email address, but most people will gladly give it to you if you ask.
Some email marketing messages are highly complex, with graphics and links, while others are straightforward. The complex ones, without a doubt, look great, but they can be time-consuming to download, and some of your clients’ computer systems aren’t set up to receive such messages so they will bounce. And you will most likely be unaware.
More straightforward email messages have the advantage of being easy to create. You do not need to hire a web developer or anyone with technical knowledge. However, you must ensure your emails are well-written and follow basic principles. For example, if you’re sending a group email, make sure your recipients’ email addresses are hidden from each other.
Newsletters via email (ezines)
These are distinct from email marketing messages in that they are informational rather than sales-oriented. This makes them extremely valuable because it allows you to demonstrate your depth of knowledge to your clients without appearing to try to sell to them. To put it another way, you are giving rather than receiving.
Of course, you may include advertisements for your own or other people’s products in your ezine, but the main reason for writing a regular newsletter is to remind clients who you are and what you do. You are at the top of their mind when they require your product or service.
Flyers are similar to brochures, but they are more targeted. For example, unlike handouts, they usually promote a specific product or service rather than your entire business.
Flyers can be delivered to letterboxes and post office boxes or incorporated into regular mailings. They usually include a call to action, which is something specific you want your reader to do. It could be to go to your website, order your product, or visit your trade show booth.
Flyers typically have a limited lifespan due to their specificity. Their main advantage is that they don’t have to be flashy and glossy like brochures so you can print them on your home printer. This makes them relatively inexpensive to produce, though they require a certain amount of class. Generally, the less expensive something appears to be, the less effective it is.
Articles in magazines
Although including magazine articles in this list may appear strange, they are far more effective than you might think. The reader perceives a report as editorially independent because a journalist rather than a copywriter wrote it. Because articles have far more credibility than advertisements, they are far more effective at noticing your business.
As a result, they are more challenging to publish. However, suppose you position yourself as an expert in your field. In that case, the media will contact you and invite you to participate, especially if they are writing a feature on a topic of particular interest to their readers. For example, when I recently wrote an article for a lifestyle magazine about adventure travel for older people and another for an automotive publication about driver training courses, I contacted “experts” in the field to get their feedback. Everyone in the article is quoted because they have something relevant and exciting to say about the subject. Nobody pays to be included. You must be one of the people the media contacts in such situations.
The magazine article’s cousin is the media release. The contents of a press release are frequently used in an article, either as a standalone piece or as part of a more prominent feature.
Many businesses write press releases about their products or services, hoping to be used, but this is not always true. This is due to a variety of factors. One possibility is that it will not be considered newsworthy (just because something is new does not make it newsworthy). Another issue is that you haven’t developed a compelling enough angle to be relevant to the publication’s readers. Or perhaps there is too much news and not enough space.
Publishing your news release is an excellent way to reach a larger audience than your client base. As a result, it raises your profile, which leads to more business. However, it does not happen overnight. A single press release is ineffective but works exceptionally well as part of a larger strategy.
Newsletters are the best way to break into print because you have complete control over the content, format, and distribution. You can also choose how frequently you want to send out your newsletter, putting you in control of frequency.
These are the benefits. The disadvantage is that producing a printed newsletter is expensive. You can make your own if you are a competent writer, have experience with graphics software, and have a good printer. However, you will want to ensure that the finished product enhances rather than detracts from your business, which is what will happen if your standards are not high. You might be better off outsourcing this.
Letters of sale
Although technology has primarily overshadowed the traditional ways of doing things, it doesn’t pay to neglect the “oldies but goodies.” This category includes sales letters. A well-written sales letter, which is relatively inexpensive to produce, can significantly increase your sales, especially if you already have a strong relationship with your reader. They are less effective if they appear out of nowhere and the reader is unfamiliar with your company or does not require your product. As a result, it must be tailored to your readers’ interests and needs.
Social responsibility or sponsorship
Charities, schools, and other non-profit organizations are always looking for help. Sponsoring events or providing products or services that can be sold or raffled is a win-win situation for everyone. Your company receives credit for assisting and often positive publicity, while the organization benefits financially.
Fact sheets or hints
Tip sheets or fact sheets are another underutilized forms of promotion with numerous applications. They are typically one page in bullet point format or less. This makes them visually appealing as well as quick and easy to read.
You take a subject in which you are an expert and develop several tips to help people solve a problem, similar to the e-book. Here are a couple of examples:
– How to Save Money on [Taxes]
– Seven ways to avoid being taken advantage of when purchasing a new [car]
– What factors to consider when selecting a [accountant]
– Why do most [network marketing programs] fail?
– How to select a [diet] that is right for you.
Tip sheets can be distributed to clients, sent to prospective clients as part of relationship building, and included in newsletters – pretty much anywhere an interested audience can be found. You could even try sending them to relevant media outlets.
No business that wants to impact the market can afford to be without a website. Consider what you get out of it. Credibility. A virtual business card. Somewhere to direct customers. A place to show off your wares. A means of telling your story.
A website does not have to be flashy; many of the most successful ones aren’t. This is because most people visit business websites to find information. They go to entertainment websites if they want to be entertained. A website is required if you want to promote your business effectively. That’s the end of the story.
Reports and white papers
Again, this is an underutilized method of attracting customers. A report allows you to add value by providing information to your clients that they may be unable to find elsewhere. Information that genuinely assists them in improving their businesses is always appreciated.
You can allow people to request it or send it to people you know will be interested in your ideas.
It should be free of waffles and packed with helpful information that helps your customers improve their business relationships, thereby increasing their business, just like the other forms of communication suggested in this report.
Promoting your company to current and prospective customers is an important marketing strategy. There are numerous approaches, many of which are detailed on these pages. But there are plenty more, and your only limitation is your imagination.
Take these ideas and run with them. Consider how you can make them work for you in your business. Above all, remember to have some fun. The distinction will help you distinguish yourself from the competition.
Lynnaire Johnston, the Word Wizard, is enthusiastic about assisting businesses in getting noticed. She works with companies to ensure they use all available communication channels to get their messages across. You can find free business writing resources.
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