When you work for a corporation, you have the luxury of leaning on a variety of teams and resources to help you navigate day to day business. Whether it’s human resources or marketing, there’s always someone to turn to – even if the answers you are seeking aren’t always there. When you work for yourself, however, internal teams are rarely the norm. As an independent business owner – whether an independent retailer, vendor, restaurant owner, Chiropractor or nearly any other profession you can imagine – it’s up to you to generate results for your business, including visibility. The question will continuously remain, however, as to what avenues make the most sense for you to do this since as your business evolves, opportunities for visibility will change, as well. To help kick-start your internal plans for gaining more attention for your small business, consider the ideas below.
1. Partner with like-minded businesses to gain expanded consumer attention. Note “like-minded” versus “competitive”, however. If you own a bridal shop, for example, partnering with florists, caterers and freelance musicians would make sense in an effort to gain attention from their customers while they gain attention from yours. Welcoming them into your business for pop-up experiences, trunk shows and other special events is a great way to extend invitations among all partner businesses and along the way, receive new customer attention. The influx of new customers is certainly a perk, as are the opportunities to continuously work with businesses that have the same goal in mind of gaining customer attention and succeeding in being a small business owner.
2. Work with your local community through volunteer and charity based initiatives. If you specialize in something that lends itself to sharing expertise – such as taxes, marketing, visual merchandising or even something more niche like holistic medicine – than you are at a huge advantage to contribute your talent to your local community or a local charity. Through this support, you are bound to meet new people and gain more visibility for your business. Additionally, when offering your expertise in select situations on a volunteer basis, it’s ideal to make sure you gain business awareness in return. Often this may be with your logo inclusion in community or charity marketing pieces, other times this may include a formal press release about your participation. Be sure you clearly identify in advance what you expect in terms of visibility in exchange for your services.
3. Seek Media Attention Through Traditional Press Outlets. The catch? Don’t share stories that they expect to hear. Instead of reaching out to the media with the idea of simply featuring your business, give them a reason to want to feature your business. Possibly this means highlighting an anniversary you are experiencing – such as being a ten year small business owner – but instead of making it exclusively about you, highlight the insight you can share on being successful in small business for others to gain from. Another approach may be identifying a new vendor or service you offer that is unique to your community or rare all together. And yet another approach may include highlighting an employee you have that deserves some spotlight beyond working for your store – such as a Veteran or local hero. Challenge yourself to get creative with what makes sense for your business and the ideas will begin to come to life. Just be sure you don’t over pitch the media with story ideas. Be selective in an effort to make your pitch more genuine and newsworthy.
As a small business owner, you know more than anyone the value in gaining attention for your business. After all, attention attracts customers. The key is to consistently seek attention while making sure it’s both quality and deserved. Additionally, don’t hesitate to seek attention beyond your local audience. Approaching trade magazines or national publications can often lead to publicity that in return can create a reason to gain more local publicity. Visibility can be a domino effect in many ways… just make sure your are proactive and in control of the visibility your business is receiving.
Nicole Leinbach Reyhle is the author of Retail 101: The Guide to Marketing and Managing Your Business. Gain more details here!
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