With the seemingly infinite choices for consumers in today's market, how do you get your business to stand out from the pack? You could go to Google for resources, but typing in "how to market your company" will give you back 135 million results and the majority of the first page will contain cookie-cutter advice--giving you zero actionable advice.
Your business can have a stellar product, but if no one hears about it, it can stay stagnant or even take a turn for the worse. By taking chances outside of the typical marketing channels (Facebook, Google Ads, sponsorships, etc.), you can create new sales opportunities for your business.
Here are three creative and actionable ways to market your business:
1. Feature companies with whom you share a customer base.
Identify five companies you share a customer base with but are not competitors. For example, if you own a graphic design business, find other companies which your customers would like. These could be anything from software development shops to communication companies like Slack or HipChat.
Once you select your companies, create a piece of content highlighting why you like using each specific company.
After this is done, head to that company's Facebook page and message them, letting them know they've been included in your piece of content.
Here's a real life example:
I wrote an article on our accounting software, FreshBooks, and how it's helped our business. FreshBooks is a product whose following is largely small business owners--my target audience. After the post was complete, I messaged their Facebook page with the link to let them know how much I enjoy the product. Days later they tweeted the article and my post was put in front of their sizeable following.
By giving an honest opinion of a product, letting that company know you did so, and expecting nothing in return, you can yield great returns.
2. Create memorable experiences for customers.
If you can create a memorable experience for a customer, something out of the box, you can develop deep brand loyalty.
Canadian airline company WestJet continually amazes with experiential campaigns. Last holiday season the airline dropped free airline tickets over the town of Fort McMurray, a town that saw a massive forest fire devastate thousands of homes.
Your company doesn't need to spend a ton. It just needs to put thought into the experience. Something as simple as a restaurant giving away coffee for free for the day will go a long way with brand advocacy.
3. Position yourself--or someone within your company--as a thought leader.
As a business owner, you have explicit expertise in your area. Through sharing this expertise by creating content for your personal brand, you can establish yourself as a thought leader. This allows people to attach a face to the business you run.
The more you can position yourself as an authority in your space, the more credibility you can bring to the business behind you.
The most relevant example of someone using this tactic to effectively punch above their weight class and escalate their company is Gary Vaynerchuk. He used his personality and content to quickly elevate the exposure of Vayner Media, his advertising agency. He creates videos, blogs, podcasts, and more on a regular basis (including for Inc.com).
When you look at Vaynerchuk, something stands out as a key takeaway: It's not the content he creates, but rather the level at which he creates it.
When you look at these three techniques, empathy, consistency, and outreach can go a long way with marketing.