Marketing and publicity are the driving force behind every viable business. After all, if your potential clients do not know that you exist, how can they become your clients? Multi-billionaire Donald Trump says, ”the only bad publicity is no publicity”. Well, with some of the publicity he has had over the years, I am not sure I completely agree with that. The point is, we all know of Trump and something about his business.
The benefits of publicity are enormous. When massive amounts of people know who you are, what your product or service is and how it can benefit them, your chance of obtaining new clients dramatically increases. The challenge is that fancy ad campaigns, marketing research and publicity agents can represent a sizable investment. There are times when these resources may be appropriate. For most of us though, the best kind of publicity is FREE PUBLICITY, or at least very low cost publicity. Here are the top ten ideas and resources about obtaining FREE PUBLICITY that I have collected over the years that may benefit your company.
- Join organizations and associations and get involved. Become an active member in the organizations that represent your industry and speak on behalf of the organization to consumer groups and potential clients. Do this for free and with no hidden agenda of obtaining business, but rather as open info rmation to benefit the public.
- Send out press releases. Notices of changes or improvements in your business can be sent to industry trade journals, local newspapers, association newsletters and corresponding associations. Always mention your company name and a brief comment about your service or product.
- Teach a class. Continuing education classes for school districts and community colleges provide an opportunity to share your business knowledge and experience with others. You will have credibility as an established expert in the community. Your teaching colleagues and students will share this others. Send out press releases of your classes and put the notice in your marketing kit.
- Form alliances. Act as a sub contractor or joint venture with others when possible. Their clients, in effect, become yours and visa versa. Creating a master mind or “think tank” group can open opportunities for all involved. This support system can be used to collaborate on marketing programs and advertising campaigns.
- Ask! That’s right. Ask! Did I say ask? Ask for at least 3 leads from every client and provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for their convenience. Reward them for the new business you obtain from their referral. I have known of contracts that included a clause requiring at least three legitimate referrals. Keep a tickler file for re-contacting your clients every 3 to 6 months. Reconnect the relationship with them and ask again for their business or if they know of someone who needs your service.
- Be a radio or TV guest. Offer your presence to a radio or TV show when there is a newsworthy item relating to your business. For example, an HVAC contractor may offer 5 simple steps for keeping your house cool and energy efficient in the hot summer months. Understand that news reporters are very busy. They want bites of information relative to hot issues. Tailor your contribution to what is current in the news.
- Have stuff and label your stuff. Carry your brochure, one-page ad, and promotional material with you at all times. Include in them awards and any recognition you have received. Put your name and critical information on your stuff. Let others know who you are and what qualifies you as an expert. Label everything from your trucks and cars to your pen and pencil sets. Be proud of your promotional stuff. We affectionately call it in our business the, “We love us package.”
- Get a coach or be a coach. Having someone hold you accountable to your goals and plans is valuable. Your coach will endorse you as someone who is worthy of the trust of others. Mentor a young entrepreneur. Coach a new businessperson. Share your knowledge. They will show their gratitude by telling others what a great person you are.
- Send an e-mail newsletter. This is a no-cost way of maintaining a presence in front of your clients. The newsletter can be just a couple of hundred words long. Brevity is important. It must have a tip or provide something of value. It must be more than just junk mail. Always offer a product or service at the end of the newsletter and a way for the newsletter to be subscribed to by others.
- Get involved in lateral organizations. Join and get involved in organizations that support the construction industry. Banking, real estate, and insurance adjuster associations are a natural support to our industry. Your presence and expertise will be a tremendous asset to these organizations. This will lead to more business from sources you may not have consciously targeted.
Publicity for your business is an ongoing venture. Investing the time and energy in these small ways can pay huge dividends when building a client base. One note of encouragement is to FOLLOW UP. Whatever leads for potential new business come your way needs to be followed up.
If you would like my personal list of at least 50 ways to grow your business with free or very low cost publicity, send me an e-mail requesting the list. I will gladly share these with you and perhaps you can enlighten me with some additional ways to publicize your business for free.
Until we have the honor to meet in person, remember, “Success is YOUR choice, choose well.”