The other day I was asked how I market the businesses I work with and my personal projects. That question was tough for me because I have been doing this so long it is a habit for me to do what I do. Over the years things have changed in the marketing and promotions department because now we have social media.
When I first started booking shows for festivals and events the best way to reach our target audience was fliers and the newspaper. The local radio stations would run Public Service Announcements, P.S.A., and did a weekly talk show with local residents on things happening in their world. When I worked for WAXC/WZOQ radio station, I did their weekly talk show and interviewed the local Mayors, festival and fair organizers, and other noteworthy residents. Television and radio stations are still required to donate a certain amount of time each week to public service. Local television stations run event calendars for local fundraisers to post their information. Some television stations do a daily segment in their newscasts highlighting local events or people.
When you start up a new business or want to promote your present business, you need to look for your target audience. It doesn’t do any good to advertise baby diapers at the Senior Council on Aging. Figure out your demographic and then search all the places you can get your message out to those people. If you want to put your product in a local retail store you need to put everything together for the presentation. Show them that your product will bring revenue to them and bring in more foot traffic. Every business is looking to grow and expand their sales. Bringing in your product should not be something that decreases their sales because of you.
Another idea to market your product is conventions, Home Shows, craft shows, etc. You purchase a space and set up your products. Make sure you don’t only have product there. Use your Microsoft Office programs and create a flier to send home with them. If that consumer isn’t ready to purchase something right now, they may decide next week they want to buy your item. If they don’t have your contact information or website information you just lost a sale. Never let a potential client walk away without your contact information.
Contact information is another thing to think about. Business cards. Make sure your business cards are professional looking, clean and the information is easy to find. Too many graphics make for a messy looking business card. Use a flier to put graphics and information on, or a postcard. Keep the business card professional looking.
This past year I took a class on website design and a website is so easy to create these days. I have used Site Builder and Wix. Wix is free, but the problem is you can’t find your website if you don’t pay to have it listed on Google. You WANT your website listed on Google, Yahoo, Bing, FoxFire, etc. so people can find you. Make sure you list all the keywords to find your website. How many times do you put three or four words in the Google search to find something? If you are selling something, use the words defining your product and find out what is out there, what pops up when you hit the search button. This helps you to refine the keywords you need.
I am a risk taker with my marketing and advertising. When I started to market The Silver Heart book, I looked outside the box. I have a book called The Silver Heart so now what? I contacted Montana Silversmiths and sent them a prospectus on The Silver Heart and one of their necklaces marketed together. I needed a silver heart necklace on the front cover, and I wanted something people could purchase. When it came to advertising on YouTube, I knew I needed background music. I had an original song for a former client, and I asked the songwriters if I could use the song for my book. They were more than happy to let me use the song and give them some extra promotions as well. Think outside the box.
Running a business is never easy. These days there is always someone out there who has the latest program to contact more potential customers or have a social media department that does nothing all day, but post on all social media sites. In 2017 being shy and non-communicative on social media does not get you new clients or people looking at your product. If you are going to a trade show, post it! Get more people there to see your product. I am always searching the internet for more places to post information.
I hope this helps some of you and helps those that ask me how I do it. I have over 30 years of experience in marketing and promotions, and I can’t claim to know it all. I am learning things every day. Good luck with everything in 2017 and think outside the box.