Use YouTube and other Social Marketing sites. For example, StoreyManseau worked on a home-spun, funny, entertaining video launching Rustic Crust's new gluten-free pizza line on YouTube. The short video, which spoofs the hugely popular movie High School Musical, features drama students from Newmarket High School singing and dancing their hearts out about the joys of a gluten-free pizza dough. The students sing about the difficulties in being "different" from the other kids -- in this case, having food sensitivities that prevent them from eating pizza, pasta, bread and other foods that their friends are enjoying. This YouTube video is meant to generate excitement about Rustic Crust's new line of products, and is being promoted through a low-budget viral marketing campaign. Check out the video and pass it along to your friends, family, colleagues, etc. (By the way, the pizzas are delicious and available at grocery stores nationwide and online at www.rusticcrust.com.) Special thanks to the enthusiastic students at Newmarket High.
Look for contests that will result in good PR coverage. Our staff is always looking for opportunities to spotlight the great work that we've done by entering contests. We research appropriate opportunities within the industry, which recognizes creative work, well-executed campaigns and fresh ideas. And we also look for contests within our community that showcase the best companies, business leaders, volunteers, etc. in our town, state and region.
In the past year, we've won numerous awards that honored our creativity and vision. Most recently, we were thrilled to receive Honorable Mention in Business New Hampshire's Best Companies to Work For contest, which praised us for our creativity, our pride in our company, our ability to bring pets to work and a host of other perks. Additionally, we've won a variety of prestigious industry honors, including Communicator Awards, Publicity Club of New England's Bell Ringer Awards and an International Davey Award. And an ad featuring StoreyManseau, LLC was chosen in a Dell Small Business contest to appear on an electronic billboard in Times Square.
And with each exciting win, we leveraged the public relations opportunity, alerting New Hampshire media about our accomplishments. By reaching out to these media outlets, including our local Chamber of Commerce's newsletter, we successfully secured press coverage about all of our contest victories -- and about our company's great services and experience. And this tactic didn't cost us a thing!
Network. It's important to get out there and meet with your customers and potential customers. As an advertising agency, we regularly place ad buys for our clients. We have one local ad rep that often drops in to say hello and chat for a few minutes. He asks about our families, talks about sports...and never pressures us to spend our advertising dollars with him. He's a genuinely nice guy, and we've formed a strong relationship with him over the years. On the other hand, one of our other ad reps has never set foot in our office. When he calls our media buyer, he brusquely gets down to business, never making small talk, and is, frankly, not very pleasant to deal with. Assuming both outlets would be an equally good fit for a client's needs, guess where we'd spend our advertising dollars?
Remember when you were looking for a job... You went out and met with as many people as possible, schmoozed, collected business cards and tried to increase your contacts. Well, now that you're gainfully employed, it's as important as ever to keep up the professional networking. Go to business events, like the ones sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce or BIA. Volunteer to share your knowledge with the Women's Business Center or similar group. Join your town's Rotary. All it will cost you is your time -- and perhaps a small entrance fee for the events. But the rewards will be huge...
Develop HTML emails that can be sent to your database of contacts, and can easily be forwarded to expand your reach. These emails can announce your new products, sales, special services, or other company news. Sending out information by email is a less expensive way to disseminate your information than sending out a hard copy direct mail piece. (You'll save a bundle on printing and postage costs.) As an added bonus, if your information resonates with your contacts, they're more likely to forward your information to their friends, colleagues and others, allowing you to reach potential new customers -- at no additional cost.
Never underestimate the strength of word-of-mouth advertising. If a company treats us well, we'll sing their praises to everyone we know! One of my colleagues is obsessed with the burrito-and-taco chain, Chipotle, which she used to frequent when she lived in Washington, DC. She claims that their employees are among the nicest people she's ever met, and they're always very accommodating to her food allergies. She describes the food as "magical" and inexpensive, and raves about everything from the customer service to the spectacular guacamole. The restaurant just opened their first NH restaurant in Newington, and my friend is serving as their unofficial ambassador, encouraging everyone she knows -- and a few strangers, too -- to eat there. (In fact, she says Chipotle has changed her life, and she ranks their NH restaurant opening as one of her best days ever, right up there with her wedding and the births of her children.) She told at least 50 people about the place in the two weeks after it opened, and now we're praising it in our company newsletter, which will reach even more folks. This publicity has cost them nothing, but will drive hungry, burrito-loving customers to their restaurant.
Showcase your work when and where ever you can. For example, if your business is food, participate in community festivals and let folks have a taste of what you do. If you do landscaping, pick a small corner in your town center to spruce up and showcase your skills and talents. This month and next, StoreyManseau, LLC was asked to showcase our creative design work in an exhibit at Manchester's City Hall. Besides giving our immensely talented designer's and photographer's work an opportunity to be recognized and admired, we've been afforded the opportunity to show some of our agency's capabilities.
So, if you remember your customers' names, ask about their children, resolve issues nicely, network, enter contests, treat people with respect, offer fair prices, send out compelling emails, and are generally a pleasure to work with, you'll become widely known among your target audiences. There's no cost, but the reward is...priceless.