1. Hold an event
Whatever type of business you’re in, holding a live event is a great way to get the attention of clients and prospects. This could be a purely social summer barbecue or Christmas party, or structured around business development such as the launch of a new product or promotion. You could even run a workshop to share your professional expertise.
Holding a live event gives you valuable ‘face time’ with potential customers and offers the opportunity for them to experience the look, feel and personality of your brand. You can always adopt a theme to add interest, such as a cocktail evening or a vintage tea party. Consider raising funds for charity at your event – it’s the perfect way to give back as you get.
2. Launch a PR campaign
Gaining press coverage is essentially like getting free advertising. But it’s actually better than that, because editorial has more credibility and is more likely to convince potential new customers to check you out. The hard part is coming up with a newsworthy angle, and this will depend on whether you’re targeting local or national media, print, TV or radio.
Perhaps you have a great personal story to tell about why you started your business, maybe you’ve launched a unique new product or have identified an interesting sales trend? Conducting surveys in your specialist field and publishing the results can offer a credible line for journalists or why not try a spot of responsive PR, looking out for relevant journalist requests you can respond to?
Another top tip is to search Twitter for opportunities using the following hashtags: #pressrequest or #pressrelease.
3. Exhibit yourself
Exhibiting can be a highly effective way to showcase your brand to hundreds of people in your target market. However, it can be expensive, so you’ll need to prepare carefully to ensure you realize the best return on investment. It’s not always a case of ‘build it and they will come’, you need to go further to attract people to your stand – and keep them there long enough to discover your brand and absorb your message.
Organizing a competition or giveaway is a great way to attract attention. Who doesn’t like getting something for nothing? Quirky or useful branded gifts such novelty items that can be passed on to the kids, or food and drink, will always be well received. A promotional tote bag is another good idea – turning your recipients into walking billboards. If you’re not sure where to start, check out this advice on how to do brand activation at events.
4. Join forces with another business
There’s power in numbers – if you can identify other businesses targeting the same kind of customer as you, but not directly competing there’s an opportunity to join forces for mutual benefit.
For example if you’re a florist you can offer an exclusive discount for customers of the local bridal shop. For you, it’s a great way to attract new customers. For the established business it’s a way to reward their customers at no expense and with virtually no effort.
5. Sponsor something
Sponsorship of an event or product is another proven way to reach a target audience and increase brand awareness. Sponsoring an event can entitle your company to exclusive face-to-face time with attendees as well as overt branding opportunities.
But choose wisely – what you choose to sponsor should be relevant to your target market and ‘on message’. Be sure to steer clear of any PR disasters – Nestlé’s sponsorship of a health conference in 2014 led to the event being cancelled after senior NHS figures urged a boycott over the food and beverage company’s promotion of infant formula in the developing world.
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