Being an entrepreneur and running a business is not easy. To make your business work, you need to get in front of as many potential clients as possible. But how do you do that when you don’t have thousands — or even millions — to spend on marketing campaigns like the big businesses?
Over the past six years, we have built multiple businesses without any investment and without spending money on advertisement until the business was mature. In this article, I will share the four strategies you can use to tap into millions of dollars in free PR and marketing.
Before we dig into the strategies, it’s worth noting that nothing is going to work if you don’t have a clear and compelling message. That’s the foundation and core essence of your business. If you have a disjointed message, it creates inconsistency and people will get confused about what you represent. Being able to bring everything together in a clean, concise message allows you to amplify and reinforce your message. TV, social media, and publications are great media outlets as they act as megaphones for getting your message out there.
Here are the four pillars of the ASAP formula.
Association happens when you connect yourself or your brand with a more well-established brand or personality. This is a crucial step because by associating yourself with a more established brand or personality, you are bridging the gap and building your profile in a much faster and stronger way. This makes your brand more reputable, which will result in making people take you and your brand more seriously.
There are different levels of association and depending on what your business is, you can choose the predominant element relevant to your business.
- Association can happen with celebrities or personalities in your field. I did events with many different celebrities. My association with Les Brown, in particular, quadrupled my business, and it wasn’t because I suddenly became much better at what I was doing. People started to see me on a different level than before. Associating with personalities or celebrities reinforces the perception that you are trustworthy. That is what media and association do and in business, you are in a game of trust. If someone trusts you, they will do business with you.
- Association with established brands is another way to expand. The idea is that if you are good enough to work with or for a well-established brand, you are going to be good enough to work with almost anyone else. This level of association allows you to be more credible by having other brands to back you.
- Association with charities is another way to boost your credibility and image. It’s very important not to associate with charities just for visibility, however. This relationship must start with your heart. You have to relate or believe in the cause first. A great example is Stella Maher, a two-time breast cancer survivor. She volunteered for Breast Cancer Care for years until they approached her to be one of the faces for their charity. She agreed and her face started to appear on billboards and in newspapers. This just shows you that the charity or cause you partner with has to be something dear to you.
You can use speaking as another way of raising your visibility and sharing your message. Speaking to sell is a very effective strategy you can adopt if you have the skills to be able to make it work.
When you have a message that can change the world, the TEDx or TED platform is a great place to share your message with audiences all over the world. But not everyone will be invited to do a TED Talk. Speaking at smaller events is a very underrated strategy, especially when you are starting out.
Virtual speaking events are also very useful as you could potentially reach a much larger audience from the comfort of your computer. Offering training sessions for those in your area of expertise will get you known too.
The last speaking strategy is being an MC or event host. You get face time with a lot of people, even if you are not the main speaker.
Focusing on the niche or category where your business lies with help reinforce your message and give you the ability to really reach your desired audience.
3. Awards and recognition
Here’s the bad news. When you receive an award, you will create a lot of buzz on social media and with people you know for a few days — but then, people will forget about it.
But there is good news. You can make these awards work to your advantage. Awards represent who you are as a business. As I mentioned, awards create a buzz around you. So the question is, how can you leverage awards to help grow and build your profile? The answer is TV, gigs and publications.
Being able to say “award winner” is a lot more attractive than just saying your name. Be sure to associate yourself with awards and recognitions and leverage them to build and grow your profile. This is one of the reasons we give awards to our clients. Not only because they work hard and deserve it, but it also helps them to be more visible and get in front of new audiences.
4. Publications and media
Publications and media is the place to be. Good publicity raises your brand and credibility. I use the logos of the major media outlets I have been featured in at the end of emails as well as on my website for social proof.
When it comes to publications, these are the questions you need to ask yourself:
- Does my target audience read this?
- Do my peers read this?
- What local media would be interested in my point of view?
- What national or global magazine would be keen to hear about my story?
The three types of publications you can be featured in are local press, global press and niche publications. Be purposeful when you pitch to these groups and remember visibility is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.