If you think it’s hard in an ordinary business and working out where to spend your marketing dollar, spare a thought for the lawyers, chartered accountants and architect out there.
For these and some other professions, it is against their professional code of conduct to engage in straight out advertise!
Well not really, it just forces you to focus on other means of raising your profile and engaging with potential clients.
So here’s 5 ways to raise the profile of your business without actually ‘advertising’:
1. Do some charity work
Whilst bad news sells, people do like to hear ‘good news stories’, it’s why the nightly news finishes each nightly broadcast with a human interest section.
Whilst you might think your potential clients are interested in your latest building, your latest award or your latest research project, the fact is, they’d be more interested in why you grew a beard (Movember) or shaved your head (World’s Greatest Shave).
Friends, potential clients, local newspapers, industry magazines, Facebook / Linkedin / Twitter feeds are all great sources of hearing about your philanthropy.
You not only raise the awareness of your business name, but you help a charity at the same time. It is a win-win and you’ll sleep better at night knowing you’re doing something worthwhile.
2. Engage in some topical research & development
You can’t simply sit back and wait for the phone to ring. Well, you can, but you’ll get fairly bored fairly quickly. If you have ANY spare time between projects / jobs, spend some time on researching a topic that is topical at the moment.
For example at The Buchan Group, we are currently researching the future of retail experience called ‘Retail 2030’.
It is giving us something interesting to discuss with potential clients and once it’s complete, we will upload it to YouTube and post it to our other social network.
What any one’s clients want to see is that you are abreast of the most up-to-date information and are the best consultant for them. So show them!
3. Enter the odd competition
Competitions in design businesses are commonplace. When new designers are looking to raise their design profile, the best way to do it is to enter a competition. When large design firms have spare design capacity between jobs, it is also a great opportunity to look for some competition work.
After all…..if architect Jorn Utzon hadn’t entered a competition, we wouldn’t have ended up with the Sydney Opera House!
If for nothing else, it keeps the mind active…at the best, you could win a potential job that you would never have had a chance to. The competition visuals will also provide valuable imagery to use in marketing material, brochures and websites. Even just entering the competition (let alone winning) will provide new articles to add to Facebook posts, Twitter feeds or Linkedin status updates.
4. Sponsor your local sports team
Okay, this one may be a bit left field, but sponsoring your local sports team should allow you to incorporate your logo onto sports kits or onto boxes at the ground. It’s all about having something fun to talk about with clients / colleagues / consultants and keep things a little different.
The support of your local sports team will also create some fresh news and give you good reason to update your other marketing channels.
5. Establish a ‘Potential Out-reach Strategy’
There’s absolutely no point pursuing any of the above ideas without a very clear overall approach that ties together your client out-reach strategy to the rest of your marketing campaign.
To really do well out of the above strategies, you must be honest with yourself about why you’re doing it. If you’re not passionate about it, it will show, and that won’t impress anyone.
To advertise or not to advertise….that is NOT the question. It’s not about advertising, it’s about following your passions…it’s about helping the community….it’s about trying new things and entering competitions….and it’s about researching new ideas. And once you’ve done all that and whatever else takes your fancy, it’s about telling people about it.