Guest Blogger: Cathy Paper is the founder of RockPaperStar, a boutique consulting firm that specializes in coaching, marketing, and promotion for individuals, business owners or executives by offering creative ideas to improve process and performance.
Exposure is a word designed to get attention. Getting attention from the right people and customers is what marketing is all about. And not just attention, but getting people to do what you want, buy, or recommend.
Here are four steps to increase exposure in this busy, crowded, marketing world no matter what the size of your budget is.
Step One: Take an Assessment of What You Have
Start by writing down 10 strategic words you want to be known for by your customers, prospects, and peers. This could be a customer, a product, a point of difference or all of the above. Next, take a literal walk around all the ways your company is being marketed. How is your website? Does it say what you want it to about your company? Look through your printed materials or the design and vibe of your office space, does this type of marketing align with your goals? If you want to be a high-end firm, your printed materials can’t look dated and be filled with typos. Look at your Linkedin and Google pages. These are free marketing channels and easy marketing outlets to reinforce what you want others to know about your company and services. For example, we are working with a small service firm and while doing “the assessment”, we noticed that no one on the team had photos on their Linkedin profile. In today’s business world, 35% of people are on LinkedIn every single day. If you suspect your customers are on LinkedIn, then please take advantage of this resource.
Step Two: Relationships and Network
No matter the size of your company, every person who works there is a salesperson and brand ambassador in some aspect. Consider if you have ten employees and they each have a network of 50 people who they actively see, socialize with, or work with. Those 50 people know 50 more people and if you are actively talking about your company and your growth goals, those extended networks may help you to reach the bottom line. Building relationships don’t have to be difficult, it increases your exposure significantly with the more time you invest in it. Knowing why you network or belong to organizations is key to being more purposeful with your exposure. When I first began my business I networked in way too many places and didn’t have a focus on my key markets and industries. Start by having each individual pick 1 or 2 organizations, or even their college alumni group, and increase the exposure of your company through those channels. If you believe your team will be too nervous to do this, consider having a group coaching session where you all discuss how you will expand your circle in 2019.
Step Three: PR and Thought Leadership
Being known as an expert in your field is an impactful way to have other people learn your name and your skillset. Formal PR for your company is a powerful marketing tool but not everyone wants to make that type of investment, especially when it’s more challenging to see the return. So, becoming a thought leader can be a nice compromise. Write an article for your local newspaper, trade association, or on Linkedin, and share your point of view on an industry topic or a thought leadership piece. This type of 400-word article can have a huge boost to other people knowing your talents. And, the more you write and promote your company, the easier it is for others to see you as the go-to company.
Step Four: Ask for more
Increasing exposure is designed to increase business. So why not take all these marketing tips and, the next time you’re with your clients or new networking people, ask for the business, an introduction, or an honest assessment of how your company is doing with them. Brand growth starts with a subset of satisfied customers who tell other people to purchase a product or use a service. Go for it and ask for the business or at least ask the question if people know anyone else who needs your service.
Increasing exposure always feels a little bit like putting yourself out there. By doing the preparation to assess your strengths you will be more confident in stepping into online exposure and thought leadership exposure. In the words of Wayne Gretzky, Former NHL Hockey All-Star, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”