In the world today, we are being bombarded from left and right with advertisements. From the television blaring out on some new bank’s products, to the radio jingle proclaiming the low tariff rates and advantages of switching to some mobile operator. And while driving the skyline is dotted with billboards, street lights now have adverts on them and even the traffic warden is being branded by some organisation looking to maximize its marketing budget.
I have nothing against mass advertisements but it’s becoming so crowded that to really stand out of the crowd, hence the good people in your department of corporate communications (if you can afford to have one) or the entrepreneur must begin thinking of new and better ways to get his message across. Publicity is cheaper and more convincing than advertising- but don’t take my word for it, just ask a public relations expert. However if you desire that the press write about your product or service you have to make it newsworthy. The product or service may not need to exactly be ground-breaking, however if you can put it in a mixed context or concept that has never been done before then you can end up making it appealing to the press and all the more publicized and convincing than the combination of all your advertisements ordinarily would.
Martins wanted to come up with a way to attract customers to his new hotel especially since it had only just opened and the location wasn’t quite a landmark.
Following the advice of a media consultant, he set about the task of initiating a new project that he intends to run yearly. Every Valentine weekend he runs a Loving Hearts contest. The prizes include a 5 course candle light dinner, free movie screenings and of course a weekend at the hotel for 10 lucky couples. The other contesting couples who are not quite so lucky still receive massive discounts to stay in the hotel any weekend for a particular stay of time.
To publicize the event, he would send press release to regional as well as local media outlets from television stations to radio and newspapers.
The first contest which was held last year received massive turnout of people who came to the hotel’s venue for the raffle draw and the hotel received massive bookings during the event and subsequently. Today its known as the “Lover’s Hotel”, which is not so bad since it now puts the name on everyone’s lips.
Contests, awards, barters and shows can be an ideal way of getting attention to you. Naturally you have to make sure whatever concept you choose to develop must be a natural fit for your business and wouldn’t cost you too much of your money. You should also bear in mind that people generally are creatures of habit, and once they come in through your doors, the rest is then up to you to convert them into raving fans. So you might consider training your staff to be extra courteous. For a hotel- a theme night for lovers is suitable for a dentist it may not quite work. However what might work is a contest for “Most Enigmatic Smile” or “Bad Teeth of the Year”, where winners could win a year free dental care.
1. What kind of contest would lead to an increase in my business?
2. What prizes would be most appropriate and affordable for your business?
3. How do you intend publicizing the contest?
4. Have you thought of making every participant part of your mailing list?
TIPS: FREE CONSULTING ADVICE
1. Spend some time thinking of what sort of contest is appropriate to your business and will alos be newsworthy. An unusual or humorous approach usually works well with the media, so let the creative juices begin flowing. Sometimes what is deemed downright ridiculous may actually be the key. A new school may consider having a scholarship contest for disabled kids, a bar may consider a contest for “Fastest Guzzler” and so on.
2. Schedule the contest well ahead of time so the media can run coverage on it during slow days when there isn’t sufficient bad news or scandals to cover.
3. Don’t forget to have some visual angle. There’s more publicity that way as most newspapers, magazines and televisions prefer stories with accompanying pictures. If people are submitting videos or photographs, have a professional photographer cover the event. Then send it to the papers afterwards.
4. Make everyone a winner! Give all participants a discount voucher or a certificate of some sort and by doing that you’ll be gathering goodwill required to keep any business afloat even in the worst possible years.
For more ideas on selling your business, write back to me at ebuka