Marketing is a lot like fishing—some companies cast a wide net to scoop up whatever they can get, while others use bait and wait it out until the right customer takes a nibble. To be successful, you need a combination of both techniques to not only grab a large number of new customers at once, but to also allow new business to continuously trickle in through referrals, word of mouth, and general curiosity.
The stealthier style of marketing tends to be a little trickier. It also takes practice, because you won’t always see the immediate results. It’s up to you to keep up with it. Quiet marketing should become a part of your daily routine, to the point that you forget you’re even doing it.
If you incorporate these ten easy methods of quiet self-promotion into your marketing strategies, you’ll have all of your bases covered.
Be a Social Networking Butterfly
It’s almost not worth having a profile at a social networking site like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ if you don’t use it. Don’t just pop in every time you have a new promotion or update your website—be an active member of these online communities. Create social content that your followers want to report, which in turn will help get the word-of-mouth out about your company and help drive up sales. Asking questions, posting brainteasers, or even making jokes are all ways to try to encourage socialization. You may want to also promote your social accounts with other forms of marketing, such as print advertising.
Browse Some Blogs
Take time to browse blogs that are of interest to you, and leave a comment if a particular entry strikes your fancy. Commenting on other blogs with a link back to your site is a great way to promote your business and do some potential networking. However, your comment can’t look like an advertisement or a self-promotion or you’ll be flagged as spam. Instead, leave an honest, heartfelt comment or ask questions that can start a dialogue between you and the blogger.
Offer Expert Advice
Each one of us is an expert in something— a lawyer is an expert in law, a hairdresser is an expert in beauty care, and a guy who sells hot dogs on the corner is an expert in street food. Start promoting yourself as an expert in your field by offering your opinion to the uninformed. Create your own blog and write guest posts for other websites to market yourself as an authority online. Offline, you can present yourself as an expert by teaching a class at a local college or library, writing an informative article for a local newsletter, or speaking at conferences, conventions, and trade shows.
Brand Your Printed Materials
When you give a presentation, hand out a report or consult with a potential client, how exciting and professional do your folders, binders, and report covers look? Are they as dynamic as your other marketing collateral, or are you using something you bought at an office supply store? Customize your presentation folders with pictures, logos, color, and unique die cuts so that they speak for your brand. For example, a CPA might hand out tax returns in a special branded file folder so that when his clients go to file their taxes for the following year, they’re reminded of the great service they received the year before. Consider looking at printed collateral designs that other graphic artists have created to get some design inspiration.
Be a Community Sponsor
An easy way to get your brand out into the public’s eye is through sponsorship. This could mean donating money or resources to local events, sponsoring a charity fundraiser, or volunteering some time for community service. Customers generally like to support the businesses that operate in their community, especially when they play an active role in making it better. Donating your money or resources is an easy way to participate without having to make a big deal about your involvement; ideally, someone else will offer you credit. Donating a product is even better because it allows more potential customers to sample your product, which can lead to conversions.
Your brand is your company’s personality. Extend this over everything you do, from adding logos to your letterheads to mission statements in your e-mail signatures. Create a color identity for your brand and use it in your marketing collateral, your website, anywhere that your business is represented. Think about how you should look when you present your business to others, whether or not you want to be hip and casual or professional and authoritative. When you’ve decided how you want to structure your brand, create a brand book (aka a style guide) so that you don’t stray from the decision. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at some other examples of brand books.
Now that smartphones are so popular, having a QR code is a great way to subtly attract new business. Placing a convenient QR code with a link to your website on your marketing items will make it more likely that potential customers will actually follow through. QR codes can also be set to dial a phone number so that customers who are interested in your services can quickly find out what you can do for them.
Keep in Touch
Meeting new people is important in self-promotion, but once you’ve met someone new, you have to be willing to maintain the relationship for it to be truly beneficial. Keep up with your former and current clients to let them know you still care. Sending out birthday greetings and promotions to clients is a great way to make them feel appreciated. Take the time to respond to posts on social networking sites. This extends to more than just clients and business relations. It also includes your friends, your neighbors, your old college buddies—everybody you know has the potential to lead you to new business opportunities.
Work Pro Bono
Working pro bono isn’t just for lawyers—every business can benefit from the great word of mouth that comes from donating your time and resources. A friend recently told me a story about a local locksmith who had given her an engraved key for free because it was going to be a gift for one of her professors. She was so astonished by this act of generosity that she’s probably told everyone she knows by now about the locksmith’s shop. You can’t beat the kind of glowing recommendation that comes from making someone’s day.
Have an Elevator Pitch
What is it that your company does that nobody else does? How do you set yourself apart from the competition? Why do people need your product or services? These are the questions you’ll need to have answers for in order to effectively promote yourself to a potential customer. Practice finding the quickest and easiest way to explain what you do, so that during brief encounters with potential clients, you are able to make the most use of your time. They call it an “elevator pitch” because it should be short enough to last an elevator ride while still making an impact.
Vladimir Gendelman is the founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc, the standard-bearer of online folder printing. Company Folders is the only printing company to offer a 365-day quality guarantee.
Original Article Via Forbes.com
Gendelman and Forbes.com are not associated with Enterprise Insurance Group. Articles are posted for the education of our visitors.