When you put your sweat, blood and tears into building a business, you want to make sure that it does well and grows over time. Getting people to notice you takes quite a bit of time and effort, but often the real problem is convincing people that you are a good company with noble intentions and can be trusted.
It’s not just about good prices and quality of service though. People tend to anthropomorphize companies and attach a particular set of character traits to them, e.g. you don’t want to be perceived as money-grabbing and soulless. One of the largest pizza restaurant chains in the US is called “Papa John’s” – the association with a warm and caring father figure really appeals to people. Let’s go over a few things that a small business can do to earn a bit of goodwill.
#1. Sponsor a Local Children’s Sports Team or Sporting Event
There are good reasons for choosing to sponsor a children’s sports team:
- You get bonus points for caring about the health of future generations
- You earn the trust and loyalty of the local community
- An Australian study has shown that 68% of children involved in sponsored sporting events recalled all their sponsors and nearly half recalled the sponsors of their favorite professional sports teams
Look into the local junior sports scene and offer to sponsor a team – you pay for some basic equipment, but you get great publicity and plenty of guaranteed brand recall.
#2. Do Some Charity Work
Another great way to draw some attention to your company, and do some actual good while you’re at it, is to get involved in a good cause. There are tons of great charities you can get involved with, and you can do it in a number of creative ways – from simply donating money to a non-profit organization, to sponsoring events and utilizing social media to grab people’s attention.
Pictures can say so much more than words, and raising awareness through high-quality pictures, some strategic social media posts and a few donations can make a huge difference, while improving your corporate image at the same time.
#3. Have Your Customers Do Some of the Marketing for You
People like to get involved in things like contests, particularly if it something fun and creative. You can take advantage of the basic human desires to try out new things and share their experiences with others, by throwing a contest that requires customers to do a bit of promotion for your brand.
The way you approach this will depend on your niche – e.g. if you sell musical instruments you can offer prizes like guitar lessons, gift cards or concert tickets to people who send in the funniest music-related picture where they can be seen wearing a t-shirt with your company logo. People get really excited about these things and the buzz they create can be quite significant. The younger generations place a whole lot more trust in user generated content than other forms of media.
#4. Educate the Public and Give Some Free Advice
An important fact of become the go-to option for your particular type of products and services is to establish yourself as an expert in the industry. If you have been in the business for a while, you’ll be able to provide the general public with some insights, and you can also give them a detailed overview of your products and services.
A lot of people only look for specific goods and services when they absolutely need them or have some money to spare, so a lot of them will need basic information on the subject in order to make an informed decision and spend their hard-earned money wisely. If you provide this information, e.g. on your website and blog, customers will flock to you.
#5. Offer Some Free Stuff
This is a very basic, old-school tactic that has been proven in the trenches, but many people still neglect it. You can’t afford to just give everything away, but you can have special rewards for loyal customers, organize giveaways, give people some free samples, offer some cool promotional materials organize free tastings and so on. You can get fairly creative with this, and get plenty of exposure with a reasonably low investment.
#6. Be what you preach
We all know that branding is a big piece of the marketing puzzle and that there can be many long term benefits for your company. The mistake a lot of business make is overselling their products or services. In most cases, your customers don’t expect you to be the best in the market but they do expect you to meet the standards you have set for yourself. If you have decided to brand yourself for certain values, you need to uphold them.
Being true to what you say to your customers is one of the most important things when you are aiming for good publicity. Trustworthy brands always last the longest and retain the biggest part of their customer base no matter what. When customers rely on you to deliver the same standard of service or product, only then are you actually doing a good job.
Good marketing tactics don’t have to be too expensive, if you are able to make things creative, compassionate or fun. If you focus on some of the tips offered in this article, you will be able to start developing a good reputation. Remember that you need to refresh your status from time to time. After all, upholding a perfect public image is not something that can be permanently conquered, it is actually an ongoing battle.
Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to see things from their perspective. What would a respectable company do? How would the customers like to be treated and what would they like you to be? You are actually creating an image to suite your customer base, not the other way around. Keep that in mind and you should be fine.
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