1. Money

Top 10 Ways to Get Known

Part 1: Marketing Strategies to Make You a Celebrity


Marketing strategies to help you be the one doing the parking.
Image (c) Amy Rodrigue

Picasso was a great artist. But art was not his only talent. Picasso also thoroughly understood the cult of celebrity.

And as small business people, we need to understand it, too, and do what we can to become celebrities in our own right.

Why? Because as consumers, we view some people as “worthier” or “more expert” than others, just because they’re better known. In fact, these people may not be any more talented or do a job better than someone completely unknown, but we assume that they are more skilled or talented just because they’re more famous. And because they’re famous, their names become currency in themselves. We like to point out that we have a garment or a window treatment designed by a famous name rather than by Tara Unknown.

And, of course, we're willing to pay much more for a garment or window treatment designed by someone well known.

Now as small business people, very very few of us will ever become as well known as Picasso. But it’s still important for us to do what we can to add some sparkle of celebrity to our own names. The payoff is literal; the better known we become, the more customers or clients we’ll draw and the higher the fees we’ll be able to command.

If you’re just starting out, here’s a cheat sheet of what you should or could be doing to get known. And if you’re already established, read through the list and see if there are any strategies you’ve missed that could do even more to spread your fame. These “get known” marketing strategies are ranked from least common to most common. The less commonly employed strategies tend to take more effort.

1. Get on TV.

The beauty of TV is that viewers see you and if they see you in action, they start to think they know you.

The most effective version of this marketing strategy is to have your own TV show. Think of Mike Holmes and Debbie Travis, for instance, and what having their own shows on the Home and Garden Network has done for their careers. Think they have any trouble getting all the business they can handle?

However, even if you can’t manage to get your own show, you can still be on TV. Many programs, such as news programs, are looking for guests for expert segments. You can also buy your own TV time, creating ads and/or infomercials about your products or services.

How to get started: Search for TV programs that regularly feature guests and might see you as a suitable candidate. Then find out who the right contact person would be and make your pitch for a guest appearance.

2. Get on the radio.

Radio is far from dead and being a guest on radio is another great way of getting known that relatively few are using.

The key to making it on radio, as Kimberly Henrie says, is to be an entertaining guest and offer the producer/show host something to offer their listeners. Read more tips from Kimberly Henrie in 11 Dos and Don’ts for Getting Free Radio Promotion.

How to get started: Seek out radio programs where you would be a good fit as a guest and contact the producer/show host with your pitch.

3. Write a book.

Being an author tends to confer instant expertise and a certain amount of instant celebrity, too. And the great thing is that literally anyone can produce a book now, thanks to the variety of self-publishing tools available.

There is absolutely nothing to stop you from producing a book except time. All you actually have to come up with is the concept; there are always plenty of underemployed writers around who will be glad to ghostwrite your book for you for a fee.

And you don’t have to write a full-length novel, either. Shorter books and ebooks are becoming increasingly popular, opening whole new vistas for showing off your expertise. A restaurateur might put together a booklet of favourite recipes, for instance, while a realtor might create a booklet of showcasing tips for people wanting to sell their home.

How to get started: Focus on your expertise and come up with ideas for possible titles. Then choose one or more of these titles and write a chapter by chapter outline. (This will give you a sense of whether or not the project would work and how long the finished book would be.)

4. Create /sponsor an event.

Publicly supporting charitable causes isn’t just fashionable anymore but de rigueur for savvy businesses. The charity event is a lovely piece of PR, of course, but it’s also an attempt to sway the influencers to prefer one company’s products or services over another.

While large corporations can afford to sponsor many different events, one of the best ways for a small business to employ this marketing strategy to get known is to select one charitable cause and connect their charitable giving to an annual event. You could be one of the main sponsors of a walk or drive, or even start such an event of your own.

How to get started: Choose a cause that you believe is important and see if any annual fundraising events for that cause already exist in your community. If they do, find out how you and your company can become a sponsor. If not, start brainstorming what kind of fundraising event for that cause might be successful and how you could get other interested parties on board.

5. Give lessons.

A masseuse giving workshops on aromatherapy. A retailer who sells kitchenware giving cooking lessons. Giving lessons is an extremely powerful marketing strategy for small businesses.

Offering lessons to the public related to your product gives you the opportunity to form a relationship with potential customers and introduce them to/kindle their interest in your products. And by giving lessons, you’re setting yourself up as an expert. The next time your “student” wants to know something about your topic, you’re the one he or she will contact. Here’s more information about giving lessons and seminars.

How to get started: Put your thinking cap on and brainstorm what kinds of lessons or workshops you could present that are related to your products or services. Then choose the idea you are most comfortable with and plan a lesson or short series of lessons.

Continue on to the next page to learn five more marketing strategies to get known.

Related Video
Brian Price, executive director of marketing

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