1. Find your customers and talk to them
It’s all very well advertising in prominent places, industry publications or on a search engine such as Google, however, if your potential customers don’t see your message then the money spent is wasted.
Do some research to find out how your customers decide to buy, where they look for inspiration on new products and how they form their decision making process. You can ask for feedback from those visiting your site, offer an incentive to existing customers or conduct independent research to learn more about targeting your most lucrative market and avoid spending money on campaigns which are unlikely to succeed.
2. Get people talking
Most industries make the headlines every so often – through an innovative new product, a surge in consumer interest or even just a controversial claim. Taking advantage of these moments and propelling your business into the spotlight can help make the most of the attention without needing to spend money on advertising.
Keeping abreast of industry news is vital to ensure that you can offer a comment on any relevant story swiftly and with a pre-planned position to ensure that your message is consistent and positive. Being ready to react (even to bad press) could not only bring your brand to the forefront of people’s awareness, but help to protect the image of your industry as a whole and counter any negative reports to protect the reputation of your business.
3. Do something spectacular
It might sound like a big ask, but doing something which really gets people talking need not be a hugely extravagant venture. Social networking has made it easy to reach thousands of customers virally and if you can capture people’s imaginations then you may be able to persuade them to do your promotional work for you.
Offering a prize to those who share a post of yours can spread your message quickly and efficiently with no outlay other than the prize itself and the time taken to administer the competition. If you can think of something suitably quirky, interesting or unusual then you may find that press coverage comes to you. Most local media outlets love the chance to cover a story with an unusual twist and even national newspapers will often pick up on a story which has suitable appeal to their target market.
4. Be the very best
Reputations can be hard to build, but if you know that your target market values excellent service or a specific functionality, then make sure you provide it to them ahead of your competitors. Leading the field in a specific area will mean that you always have an edge over those who spread themselves too thinly while offering excellence will distinguish you from those who strive only to be ‘good’ at what they do.