A Different Take on Marketing

One of my pet peeves is people who don’t understand that marketing via social media takes time and effort, and that unless you’re doing it yourself, you’re going to have to pay someone else for the time they spend pursuing those ends and setting up those communities (you can’t just add social media to their job description).

I agree with all those out there who have made the case that social media is a great way to market both oneself and one’s business – but, I also believe (firmly) that there are other options that are less time consuming (and, in many cases, cheaper).

Social media is a GREAT tool, but it’s one that only works if you can enjoy it. Think of it this way: would you want to be friends with someone who was forced to attend a party and spent the whole time making it clear that party WAS NOT where they wanted to be? If you don’t embrace social media, chances are it won’t work.

Bertrand Russell got it spot on–”A sense of duty is useful in work, but offensive in personal relations. People wish to be liked, not be endured with patient resignation.”

And some people just aren’t ready to jump aboard yet. They approach social media with “patient resignation.” For those people, it won’t work.

If you’re ready to go for it and just don’t know where to start, check out Marian’s blog and shoot her an email. She offers some seriously kickass services in that regard. But if you’re not, don’t fear my friend. This post is for you. Here are two tips (with more to come if this post is popular) for marketing your business without using Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or even MySpace.

Join HARO. If you’re not familiar, HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out. The website (www.helpareporter.com) sends out a daily email with a list of articles that reporters are working on, that they need sources for. And you can volunteer to be a source.

As a writer I can submit a story topic and say that I need to talk to interview a lawyer or a bookkeeper… and they will include my request when they email everyone on their email list.

As a small business, what better way is there to get free press than to be interviewed on your industry for a magazine or newspaper? It’s free editorial content that positions you as an authority in your industry. And sometimes the queries are even just a call for products to include in reviews. So rather than begging to be included in a publication, you get an email requesting information. And all you have to do is scan these daily emails to see if any of them apply to you.

Host a party–or attend one. Have you heard of Tupperware parties? What about sex toy parties? Well, now they have candle parties and pocketbook parties too. There’s a reason for this–parties are a powerful marketing tool. Many of the pet stores I profile for the day job hold “Yappy Hours,” where customers are encouraged to come back after hours with their dogs, to chat with other customers over a glass of wine or a few pizzas and, naturally,  free bones for the dogs.

Merchandise is sold at these events, but the focus is on having a good time. They create word-of-mouth; they give people something to talk about. And, more importantly, they don’t have to be expensive. One retailer I talked to said Yappy Hours cost her about $60–but bring in significantly more than that in revenue. Another retailer, this one the owner of a clothing boutique that sells Mother-of-the-Bride dresses, actually has events where customers pay to be the first to peek at that season’s dresses at an after-hours event. Imagine, customers paying to come shop.

This works just as well for services industries or for individuals. For example, one freelancer I know has gotten involved with Media Bistro and hosts media parties–what better way is there to be well connected! Or you can give seminars.

The key is to set up  a situation where you meet people who you may not have met before; people who may become customers or who may recommend you to someone who may then become a customer.

Being social in real-life is just like being social online; it puts you and your business out there. So go ahead–wine & dine ‘em!

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