While anyone can publish online to a website, a small business, with a customer base that’s local, and that’s often not looking for that businesses story details activity; this sort of business would be wasting time and money with only an online presence.
So then, how do we reach the customers?
Press releases through the local newspaper. Have an event and promote the event, but include a large dollop of background about the business, the people who work there, perhaps the unique location and the historical significance of the building. Any information and background that will catch the readers eye, giving them a greater appreciation for the business itself. Don’t forget to include the values and reasons for the existence of your business; anything that matters, and that will help to create a bond with the customers. A press release costs only some time to create. If published, it may reach a significant percentage of your community, your customer base.
Sales Flyers. Go ahead and promote the products and services that you wish to present to the community, but reserve a half page to say something about your values, what your business aspires to provide or solve for the greater good, that sort of thing. Only speak the truth. What drives you? Where is your passion, your reason for being? Give the customer a strong sense of who you are, and why they ought to do business with you.
Window Display. Why not? If you have a window, clean it, and post a welcome sign with a paragraph or two about the business and its people.
Business Cards that direct attention to a website with information that matters to your customers. This could be technical information. Maps or directions. PDF files that help the customer to use your products. Details about government regulations perhaps. Include your story on the website, include a PDF with a long version of the story if there is one. Include pictures – lots of them if possible.
Just two years ago we were living in Indiana and I was shopping for a new camping trailer. One of the RV dealers caught my attention with their use of YouTube to show the units that they have on hand. They dealt with used RV’s primarily at that time, so there was a need to showcase each unit specifically, in order to demonstrate its condition, cleanliness, and unique aspects like low mileage etc.
I thought that they did a great job. Today that business has greatly expanded. They are now promoting several new lines of RV’s. And they still use YouTube to market their inventory.
Here are a few things that I like about this approach.
The videos are short, but through. Each one uses a similar format so the viewer can develop an expectation of what will be shown and talked about. The person shooting the video also does the narration, and importantly does not get into the video except for the voice. The product is the focus, not the salesperson. I think that that is key!
The dealer used the YouTube text box to give details about the sale price contrasting it against market value, about financing, and how to make contact with them.
I think that they did an incredibly good job in each seven minute video.
If you sell products that have a high unit value, would this work for you?
This is a document that I created back in 2015 to introduce a new business. Instead, we ended up moving to the Florida Panhandle area and the business didn’t happen. I still like the idea, and frankly, have incorporated much of it into my current business thinking. I’ve merely broadened out the subject matter and still intend to contact the same sorts of businesses contemplated in this document.
I am posting it here because it illustrates some of my reasoning about the promotion of a business and how images and narrative can make an idea come to life. If you were a potential customer and received this PDF document by email, perhaps from a website, or as part of a presentation on a thumb drive, how would you view it? Isn’t it better than a verbal presentation, in that it’s tangible and creates a more concrete understanding of what the sales person is trying to convey? It works hand-in-hand with that person-to-person sales effort, in my opinion. Take a look.
A highly polished marketing plan is wonderful – if it is affordable. What matters most though is getting the story of your business out there. Tell the customers who you are and what you hope to accomplish. Be sincere and comfortable with those who you hope to reach. Touch their hearts as well as their minds if possible.
Just to be clear: My purpose is to develop content that is pointed at your customers, and that expresses your thoughts and feelings about business with them. The idea is to develop a story. To create a sensation of who you are and why a customer might want to do business with you, as compared to another business selling similar services or products.
It isn’t only a craft, there is art involved in this process, and also there is a sort of grittiness that’s needed to keep drumming the same ideas, and the same development of emotions, to influence your customers.
You need exposure, but in the best possible posture and light.