If you know me, you know that I went to Ithaca College and loved every snow filled minute of it. While I was there I became president of a poetry organization, presented at a symposium and even became a Resident Assistant—something I thought I’d never do because I am a full-fledged introvert. I recently spoke to my best friend who is currently in Ithaca for our poetry organization’s 10th anniversary. We caught up on a few weeks of news and then reminisced about the times we both ran the club. There were the usual responsibilities of keeping the executive board in check, planning programming with schools like Cornell, the locals in downtown, weekly meetings, and our annual showcase. This was the biggest event of them all and took a good four to five months of planning and rehearsing. I remember during my year as president, we had no budget. We tried to scrape together some funds but nothing really noticeable happened. It took a true community effort to get things done and we were all surprised when it finally happened. We literally had to ask friends of friends for mic stands and go into buildings after hours to rehearse in empty classrooms. We were lucky when we found out that the auditorium could be rented for free (and now it’s used for the showcase every year). Although it came together wonderfully and we celebrated into the early hours afterward, I was reminded of a similar issue I see know in businesses—Promoting and marketing.
Once we had the event all set, how did we let everyone know about it? Some of our friends had heard about it through our groaning about the organization process but how to make it so that everyone wanted to attend? We got creative and had poets stand in the quad and start free-styling, we physically went downtown and passed out invitations to local businesses, sold shirts, stickers, the whole nine yards.
Sometimes promoting and marketing can be overlooked.Perhaps people think they’re doing a good job of it already. Maybe they think it’s pointless. Because we all find ourselves in a huge spectrum of industries, here are some general tips on promoting your business.
Don’t Ignore Social Media… Even If You Want To
I’ll admit something that might surprise people—I am not tech savvy. Even though I am technically a millennial (early 90s though, I know what a tape is and how to record a song from the radio) I find technology to be difficult to deal with sometimes. And I think that many people feel the same way, which sounds counter intuitive. While many marketing gurus specifically state social media as a must, many people don’t check Twitter, don’t post on Instagram, don’t promote on Facebook. How many times have you gone to a business’ Instagram and only see one post? Most of us like to consider ourselves tech savvy. But how many of us actually are? Many people think that they don’t need this promotional tool, they’ve been around for years and have been doing amazingly. True and hooray! But more importantly, how much business are we letting slip through our fingers by not using this tool? I don’t think there’s anyone out there that does not want to make a greater profit. I’ll leave this point with a quote I saw recently “Ignoring online marketing is like opening a business and not telling anyone.”
Spread Your Message Far and Wide
Our Creative Director Kirby is a huge fan of Swarm. Swarm is an app that allows people to check-in to different locations and write a sentence or two about what they’re doing there. You could offer prizes for your loyal customers once they check-in a certain amount of time. Yours truly also passes out flyers to spread the word about our space. Did you also know that people can check in on Yelp at your location?
Free Advertising and A Behind the Scenes Look
Are you doing everything to get your business our there? Everything? One of my favorite ways to promote our space is through blogs such as these and newsletters. It’s nice to have another avenue to communicate with everyone and show them the goings on here at your local chamber. And it’s just a wonderful way for people to get a sense of your voice. And a special heads up for our readers today, keep an eye on your inbox this Wednesday for Mother’s Day specials exclusively for you!
How do you promote your business? Tell us on Facebook!