Part of the joy of writing this column is that I can share some of my ideas and tips with you my loyal readers. Because cold calling is only one aspect of generating new business ,I’ve decided to offer some tips on another aspect;business promotion. The trick to business promotion for small and mid sized firms is to develop ways that are not only cost effective but also cost applicable for your firm. This is not about generating business through costly advertising programs or gimmicks but rather putting together and implementing several very diverse programs to help promote your business. In the next few columns I will offer you more than 20 tips designed to promote your business without breaking the budget. Now the one thing I want you to keep in mind is that not all of the tips will be applicable to your promotional needs. However if you can pick a tip or two and apply them to your business then that’s the point. The other point to keep in mind is that these tips are designed to get you to think outside of the box. Don’t just rely on what you read here. Chances are you have some tips of your own for promoting your business. In the coming months I will be sharing some cost effective advertising ideas as well as some ways to survive the rocky times of running a business. Let me know if you have any tips to share as well as if any of the tips have been helpful to you. I love hearing from you all.
1. Contact SBA/SBDC(The Small Business Administration/Small Business Development Center) WWW.SBA.COM to get a listing of offices for speaking engagements. Ask for the person in charge of booking instructors. A great way to get noticed and get some exposure. Both organizations occasionally invite organizations to come in and give 2 hour lectures on specific topics of interest to new small business owners. In this scenario,you are in fact the expert because more often than not you’re addressing people who want to know what you know about the workshop topic. Attendees coming to hear you speak makes this a targeted event. Meaning there is an opportunity for you to walk away with a few new accounts. Remember,the attendees are there because they have an interest in your industry. There are a few caveats however. While both organizations,want to business owners to feel free to talk about their expertise,they don’t want self promotion. A good way to get around that is to adopt the rule of introducing your company and services at the very beginning and at the very end of the workshop. In other words there shouldn’t be excessive promotion of your services. Attendees aren’t coming there to be sold to. They’re coming to learn what you know about the subject matter. One other thing to remember. Both organizations are government agencies so they usually don’t pay their speakers(although SBDC sometimes has a budget to pay speakers) be sure to check with each office you contact to determine if they have a budget set up. Be sure to contact the Director of the facility to determine procedure,schedule dates etc. Don’t forget to take business cards with you and be sure to attendees for their card as well to send literature after the session. The bottom line is that you will get your name in front of a targeted audience(both organizations handle the promotion and contact tasks for the event through their mailing list which means all you have to do is show up). And it won’t cost you a thing.
2. Contact local convention centers like Fort Mason Center at 415-441-3400.Ask about booking either a conference or meeting room for a workshop.
This tip is very much like the first one except instead of letting the SBA handle the arrangements as well as full control over the event you get to plan it from start to finish. In Northern California Fort Mason Center is one of the premier resources for meetings. However every city has meeting rooms for lease for very nominal prices. Workshops are a great way to promote your services on your terms while bringing in a nice profit for only a couple of hours of teaching time. Now the down side. SBA usually offers their classes to attendees for free which means that you’ll have a number of attendees. Paid workshops may bring in fewer attendees which may mean that you may not break even some months. But don’t worry because if you do this enough over time you will make more money than you could even imagine. And have fun doing it.
3. Contact the Chamber or Rotary clubs about speaking engagements .Also great for mailing lists.
Chances are you already belong to an organization that offers classes on a regular basis, like your local Chamber of Commerce. That being the case be sure to call around to a few organizations to see if they would be open to having you as a guest speaker. Also find out if they have a budget set aside. If not don’t worry,you’ll make money thru all all of the contacts you make.
4. Go to www.rtir.com which is the radio-TV interview report which is the report TV producers use for finding talent to book on shows. Even if you don’t have a book to promote, you can still be booked as an expert in your field which will give you local national and sometimes international exposure.You can request a media kit to determine pricing for being added to their list and also get tips for getting booked on television and radio shows.
5. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org for info on PR firms as well as workshops on writing books. The workshops are generally free and extremely informative .A great way to be invited as a guest speaker is to become an author. My book Telemarketing Success for Small and Mid-sized Firms gets me many speaking engagements throughout the US.
More tips next column