When you’re just starting out and before you’ve made any major profits in your business, you may not be able to afford to hire a high-powered (and often high-priced) marketing firm to help you reach new customers. Fortunately, there are some inexpensive, practical steps you can take to start getting your company name out to a much wider audience.
In an article entitled, “Who’s Who in Marketing,” published in the September issue of Entrepreneur magazine, there are a number of useful tips for creating a marketing plan for a new company. Here’s a summary of those suggestions, along with a few added ones.
Gaining Notice for Your Company and Its Products
- Learn what “influencer marketing” means and put this concept to work for your company. According to this Entrepreneur article, “Influencer marketing is the process of connecting with ‘influencers’ – people who have large followings in certain niches and can affect opinion – to increase the visibility of your own products and services.” Often, these people are professional reporters, bloggers, consultants, analysts, venture capitalists, and other “subject matter experts.” Others may be professors of prestigious academic universities or professional societies who often publish articles. Do everything you can to establish relationships with these people and be sure to “talk up” your company and its products and services;
- Use the Internet to help you find the names of some “influencers” and contact them by email or at an upcoming seminar. Just start out with a search engine like Google and enter specific terms applying to your industry. Be sure to put these terms within “quotation marks” and then limit the results (e.g., “high-tech growth” + “American auto industry”). Once you’ve created a list of the people’s names writing on these topics, you should seriously consider contacting them about what your company is doing and how it relates to their articles. Although you may be hoping this person will write about your company, it’s best to simply seek each person’s advice for getting your company’s name out in front of your optimal consumer base. (Also, be sure to ask your own executives if they can name some of these experts for you, preferably even some they’ve contacted or known in the past);
- Concentrate on creating relationships and not on pursuing immediate transactions with these “influencers.” Although your long-term goal may be to do business with some of these experts and their companies, you will gain more in the long-run if you will just establish good rapport or friendships with these people – by simply helping them with their own ongoing outreach efforts;
- You can give certain ethical gifts to “influencers” willing to help you. As the Entrepreneur article referenced above points out, it’s usually best to stick with simple, straightforward gifts -- like providing these people with free product samples, accounts on your website or invitations to one or more of your company’s private parties.
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