Many business owners put endless hours into “getting their name out there” and making sure as many consumers as possible know who they are, but that’s only half the battle. Your target consumers need to not only know who you are, but have a positive idea of your business. In the Atlanta area, it seems that consumers have countless choices for any product or service they could want. The challenge this presents for businesses, however, is that your consumers have so many options, and you need to find a way to stand out and be more appealing than your competitors. One important way to do this is by creating a positive public image, so that your consumers see you as a business that is in line with their own goals and values. In other words, you want them to think of you as a friend they can turn to when they’re in need of your service. Below are several suggestions on building a positive association with your business.
- Get involved with charities, especially local ones. There are endless ways to associate your business with charities: become a sponsor for a charity event, donate to a charity auction, ask charities for literature that you can have in your lobby, use your publicity and advertising to give shout-outs to charities you believe in, share charities’ updates and announcements on your social media pages—the list goes on and on. As an added bonus, some donations (like event sponsorships) will allow you to distribute marketing materials, which can be a great opportunity, especially when the charity is associated with your industry (e.g., you’re a pediatrician sponsoring a 5K for a children’s cancer fund).
- Keep an informational tone in your publicity efforts—don’t sound too “sales-y.” In our world of constantly being bombarded with messages, most consumers can tell when someone sees them solely as a potential sale, and it’s a very quick turn-off. If you use your advertising efforts and publicity opportunities (like blogs and social media) with the goal of educating your consumers and providing them with valuable information, they will recognize you as a business who truly has their best interest at heart, rather than someone who just wants to take their money, and this trust will make you the first call on their list when they need your service.
- Introduce yourself. Yes, sometimes, it’s as simple as introducing yourself to someone with the sole intention of saying hello and meeting them. You could do this literally, such as by introducing yourself and offering a small treat to your business neighbors or people walking by your storefront. Or, you could do this by periodically obtaining lists of new residents to your town and welcoming them with a friendly mailer and a special offer.
- Host free, informational events. As explained in tip #2, you want your consumers to see you as a friendly resource, not simply a business who wants to sell them something. Informational events pack an especially big punch because they not only perpetuate this idea but they also get your potential customers in the door. Once they’ve visited your business, they feel more acquainted with you and more comfortable with your business, which makes them far more likely to come to you (as opposed to a competitor who they don’t know or trust) with their business. Lunch & Learns are often well-attended, but you should select a format and schedule that is likely to work for your key demographic.
- Get involved in the community on social media. The most important part of this strategy is to not simply post on social media, but engage. For example, “share” community interest stories (like news stories about developments in your community), or give shout-outs to members of the community (such as a post congratulating a local sports team on their recent win). This will help your consumers to see you as a member of their community and foster a “neighborly” relationship.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started, but it is important for any business to be continuously promoting a positive community perception. This is a constant job, especially because the members of your key demographic change frequently. At McCauley Marketing Services, we can help to plan and carry out a marketing strategy that is constantly spreading your message to new consumers and nurturing your positive public image. For more marketing tips and helpful updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.