Six Steps for Promoting an Idea or Business

If you have a new product or business, what is a good way of getting the word out? 

Advertising is always a good idea but without having a supporting promotion program advertising dollars can be wasted.
If money is in short supply it is even more important to develop a promotion infrastructure that can build your business. Here are six steps that can put your business in the forefront of your customers’ minds:
  1.     Create a “Bumper Sticker” statement or “Elevator Speech”.
  2. This is a simple phrase that explains what you do in a manner that sets you apart from the competition. This phrase is not only to make it easier to tell your customers what your business or product does, it provides a mantra for your employees, suppliers and business associates to use. If done properly it unifies the business and marketing strategies. IKEA for example, in 1982 stated as its purpose, “To promote and support innovation in the field of architectural and interior design”. Coca Cola’s mission is to “refresh the world”.
  3.       Find ways to get publicity by tying to news articles and getting coverage. Be on the look out for opportunities to comment publicly or through press releases on topics that are germane to your business. For example, Whole Foods recent announcement that by 2018, all products in the U.S. and Canada must be labeled if they contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). This was announced through a Whole Foods press release but was picked up by most mainstream media outlets. Here Whole Food got in front of the pack by making the announcement but giving plenty of time for implementation.
  4.       Find ways of getting publicity by tying your business or idea to good works. If there are charitable causes or organizations that fit well with your business model, a strong tie in can provide a boost. AT&T for example has established an office for a Chief Medical Information Officer that will focus on the use of telecommunications in providing healthcare. Additionally, AT&T has made numerous charitable contributions to organizations developing telemedicine technologies and procedures. While this is good work by AT&T for the community it also positions them as a key player in the minds of telemedicine innovators.
  5.       Start a blog that talks about the stuff that is relevant to your business. A blog that is serious and provides useful information can build credibility for your business. American Express’ blog on travel, provides very useful travel information that is tied to using the American Express card. Home Depot has a blog that provides information on home and garden projects.
  6.       Use social network to link to your blog and update your networks on recent projects. Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networks provide a ready made avenue to build an audience for your blog and to announce recent developments that may be of interest. Business Expert Press encourages authors to join social networks and to regularly participate in discussions. Since it is a step in the brand building process this approach should be taken seriously. Comments on the networks should be in line with the image that you want to project to the general public.
  7.       Form networks with professionals that augment or support your business. Meeting with a group of similarly minded professionals can be intellectually stimulating as well as providing connections that can result in business. MFR Consulting recently created a group of ‘Senior Advisors” that have their own business consulting practices. These senior advisors meet monthly to discuss projects and ways in which they can grow the consulting practice. I regularly have a get together of friends to smoke cigars and drink some fine wine. From this group I have been asked to participate as a consultant in two significant business ventures.

While a number of the examples above involve large organizations the principles and approaches hold for businesses of any size. These six steps are fairly straightforward but they will require a commitment of time and focus to be successful. 


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