But I’m not so sure I agree with that! I’m more of a fan of the phrase ‘Good Publicity is Good Publicity!’ Admittedly, it’s not quite so catchy, but you never know, it might catch on!
But how can we get good publicity for our businesses? Particularly when budgets are stretched in this time of the Europe/Brexit vote, economic uncertainty etc.? Most of us have very little, if any, spare cash that we can plough into marketing campaigns in order to promote our businesses effectively. There are, however, loads of ways that you can promote your business for free (or very cheaply), but they all require both time and effort on your part in order to shine a much needed spotlight on your business. As I say, there are lots of ideas, but I'll just concentrate on a few here.
Let’s start with Social Media
I know that the vast majority of us have some kind of online presence – indeed, did you know that in 2014, 54% of all UK adults participated in social networking (Source: ONS), and that globally, the number of monthly active users on Facebook by mid-2015 had reached 1.49 BILLION! (Source: Facebook statistics) Amazing, I know!
So you’ve got a Social Media presence – but are you using it effectively?
Try not to be too pushy with ‘selling’ from your dedicated business social media accounts. Instead, try to engage your fans and followers by posting interesting and relevant articles that are related to your field, or providing useful advice on your specialist topics – both will really set you apart as a reliable and trustworthy ‘field leader’.
Or you could run a social media promotion or competition - however, please bear in mind that social media platforms such as Facebook have recently changed their rules on competitions and have imposed strict new terms for businesses who want to use Facebook in this way. Take a look at this link (See section III D and E) for more information to make sure that you don't unintentionally contravene their new rules - it could result in your business facebook page being taken down, so isn't worth the risk!'
Also, behind-the-scenes photos, videos or personal insights (like a team member’s birthday or arrival of a new baby) can really help to humanise your brand and make you seem more approachable to new and existing customers. The use of images and videos are also highly recommended, as these have both been proven, time and again, to be more engaging than just plain text updates.
Enter for an Award!
Once you have a positive and regular social media presence, what to do next? Why not try to win an award?
There's a really helpful article by smarta.com (18 ways to market your business on a tiny budget) which has some fab ideas too!): “Entering for an industry award can be easy. For some, all you need to do is write an application. If you’re successful, local press may be interested in speaking to you and it’s another accolade to put on your website or business card. It also gives customers confidence in your business.”
If you are stumped over what to put in your application, why not ask a happy customer to give a glowing testimonial to incorporate into your application? That way, whether you win or not, you still have a positive review of your business that you can use on your website to help ‘win over’ potential new customers who can see, and appreciate, the value of excellent feedback from your existing customers.
Write a specialist article
If you’ve caught the writing bug from developing interesting and engaging social media content or filling in comprehensive award application forms, why not try writing an article for a specialist journal designed for other professionals in your field? Once again, something like this – when done well – can really set you apart from your peers as a leading figure and authority in your field.
Do some work for charideee!
Finally, why not start to support or work alongside a local charity as a bit of free PR? As well as the ‘feel good’ factor you will experience as a result of dedicating time and energy to a good cause, you could find some good publicity too: Word of mouth will soon pass on the message that your business is a caring and compassionate organisation, and you may also be able to ‘sponsor’ events for your chosen charity, promoting the name of your business on tickets and posters, and linking it with the positive connotations associated with selfless charity work – it’s a win-win situation for all involved!
Get the recognition you deserve ...
So next time you are moaning about your distinct lack of marketing budget, stop and think! All of the above marketing methods are either free or exceptionally low cost, and just require your time and effort to make them successful. I know that you may be snowed under with work already, but if you can find just a little time to set aside in order to promote your business, I promise you won’t regret it! You may even get the recognition you deserve for being thoroughly excellent at what you do!
Go on, give it a try!