Being visible on a budget
Once upon a time a company introduced a new product. They didn’t want their competition to know, so they didn’t advertise or even send out a news release. Sales of the new product were disappointing. The manufacturer was unhappy. What went wrong? Any thoughts?
My answer is that this kind of “stealth marketing” doesn’t work. You need to be visible to sell something. When this manufacturer started promoting their new product, sales picked up.
So visibility is good for business. But how do you get visible with limited resources? Here are some programs I recommend.
1) Postcard marketing - Use postcards to ask for referrals, announce events, build website traffic, say thanks, and more. Of course, for best results you need a good list.
2) News release program - Does your company bring new products or services to market? Publish literature? These are great subjects for news releases. Send releases to editors at relevant publications regularly to get more than your fair share of coverage. Public relations activities like this are time-intensive, but cost much less than advertising.
3) Feature coverage - Getting major coverage in the right media outlet can enhance visibility and credibility quickly. Use research and planning to ensure your topic is timely. Then target specific editors.
4) Case history articles - Highlight your company's capabilities with problem/solution articles. Well-written case histories are in demand -- by readers and editors alike. These stories make great website content, too.
5) Internet - Creating and maintaining a website is relatively low cost, especially compared to printed pieces like brochures. If you need to reach young adults, teens or business people, the Internet is where you need to be. E-mail marketing can be a good tool, too, but be sure to get the recipient’s permission.
6) Newsletters - Developing a good newsletter takes market intelligence and careful planning. Then you need discipline and skill to crank out something worthwhile on a schedule. But it’s worth it! A good newsletter can gain you loyalty, credibility, and – oh yeah – visibility.
7) Identity - Maintaining a consistent identity is a low-cost way to maximize impact. Consistency and professionalism help any business over time. Consistency means repetition. That's what solidifies ideas in our brains. Professionalism is about looking good. If you want to be taken seriously, present a professional image.
Whatever you do, repeat, repeat, repeat! A single mailing (for example) may get disappointing results. Don’t be surprised or discouraged. Keep at it with a consistent look, message and audience, and over time your message will sink in.
© Copyright 2005 Clairvoyant Communications, Inc.
the author: Claire Cunningham, president
of Clairvoyant Communications, Inc., helps companies
jumpstart their sales with increased visibility. Claire
shares her marketing communications expertise at http://www.clairvoyantcommunications.com and through monthly e-newsletters Communiqué and Communiqué-Small
Business. Avoid costly errors with Claire’s “Top Marketing
Communications Mistakes Companies Make.”
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