Market Like a Pro, Part 1


Finding Opportunities to
Promote Your Company

Fortune 500 companies use promotional items to bring home their marketing messages on a regular basis.  They use a combination of demographic data, social media, TV commercials, along with promotional items and traditional methods to get their point across, and it works quite well.  The biggest reason they use promotional items is because they work. This article will provide tips and strategies to help you market like a pro.

The first thing we’ll cover is how to find opportunities to communicate with customers without being pushy.  There is a need to balance reaching out to customers just to stay hello and when it’s appropriate to sell.  It’s important to understand that even when you’re not “selling”, it’s possible to capture and convert prospects by being helpful, and positioning your company in front of customers on a regular basis.  After reading this article, you’ll have lots of reasons to stay front and center with customers to promote your company without actually “selling” or being too pushy. It might be a good idea to make a list as you go through the article. You can fine tune the list over time to celebrations and events that work best with your company and industry.

It requires you to think outside the box so to speak when coming up with reasons (other than selling products) to contact your customers.  When we think of “traditional” sales and marketing, we think of the tricky, pushy salesperson who was out to get you.  However the days of receiving calls or visits from unscrupulous salespeople are over.  Technology has armed consumers with knowledge.  Pushy salespeople are rejected, because most people want to be informed, entertained and comfortable before making a buying decision.

When you think of things from a knowledge based perspective, you realize that it’s actually easier  to reach and engage with customers where they live. When you consider the tasks the average person performs in a day, and the activities at work and at home, that we participate in, it becomes easier to see how our message can intersect naturally with our target audience.

For example, Fall is the busiest time of year for firms and consumers as everyone gears up for back to school, Columbus Day, Boss’s Day, Sweetest Day, Halloween, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Black Friday, Pearl Harbor Remembrance and Christmas.  And during this important time of the year, your firm will have at many holidays/events to make contact without actually selling or pushing products. Of course during this time you will want to lead prospects to your products, but each and every post should not be about your products.

In addition, think of company, customer and employee anniversaries and other milestones, like birthdays.  It’s common practice to send birthday cards to customers or cards when their anniversary (when they first became a customer) rolls around.  These are also reasons to host an open house, to celebrate and communicate with employees and customers.  Sponsor an event that celebrates accomplishments and milestones to lift morale and keep your company name front and center.  Awards, recognition gifts and items like custom napkins, cups, plates and more are great solutions that work well for these events.

Promoting health and wellness is important to everyone because unfortunately everyone battles or has a friend or family member who battles one or more illnesses.  Health awareness and wellness campaigns are popular throughout the year.   Companies and non profits create awareness and make contributions by wearing imprinted t-shirts with awareness ribbons.  They decorate in colors that support their causes (for example, pink for breast cancer awareness) providing themed items to customers as gifts for raffles and contests. They make information available to employees and customers and all that adds up to exposure for their advertising message. It also creates goodwill in the community.  Even if your company is not directly related to healthcare, it’s important to create promotions that are important to your customers.

Industry groups and trade associations have conventions, exhibits, workshops, training, and presentations all year long. While trade shows are based on sales opportunities, they are also great for networking, talking, having dinner and rubbing elbows with important business contacts.  Reach out to network, meet new contacts and generate leads.  Items like business card magnets, writing instruments, flash drives, and other tech or travel accessories are great ways to leave your mark.Festivals

Fall brings festivals, craft fairs, haunted houses, and plenty of other family friendly events. During these events, grab the attention of parents, grandparents and community groups and organizations that will host events this year.  Have custom theme related items or items that support the theme of your business (not your product) to hand out or display at an event.  T-Shirts are the perfect “walking billboard” for any event and they are great because they have a large canvas and travel with your customers as they run errands, play sports and attend community events.  By partnering with groups in your community, you can save on the cost of promotional items while generating goodwill.  When you sponsor community events, your advertising message will be distributed to an even larger audience.

For example, Halloween treat bags, costume accessories, pirate accessories, coloring books, and wristbands with your logo are popular choices for spreading the word about your business.  You’re not selling, but your company name is front and center on a free item that is given to attendees. And who doesn’t love a freebie?

Working with churches, zoos , amusement parks and other organizations that host “trunk or treat”, hay rides, haunted houses, and fall festivals can send a lot of new customers your way. Donate bags that have your logo to these groups who work to create a safe and fun filled season for kids and parents. You can also create goodie bags that have your logo printed on them, filled with treats to hand out on beggars night or at a community event. These items will be popular among the kids and at the same time, enlighten potential customers about your business while spreading the word about your promotional deals and special offers to adults.

In addition to using custom printed items to reach out to customers, you can reinforce your marketing message with communities on social media. Create a business page on Pinterest to share photos and useful information that your customers will love. Using some of the networking ideas above to create boards, you can pull together an attractive product set to drive customers to your information. The more you help with ideas, information and freebies, the more of a connection you will make with customers.

Pinterest is a great way to bring visual elements together for your business without being pushy. It can be used to create featured or themed items, infographics, lifestyle photos of people using your products and more.