Magical Marketing Strategies for Creating an Endless Stream of New, Repeat, and Referral Business
Copyright © 1998 Michel Fortin, Ph.D.
THOU SHALL BECOME A CELEBRITY
As expressed in Commandment #2, you want to be the leader in your category or in your unique area of expertise. The way to do this in many cases is to create your own category. I met a fellow once while working in New York City who ran his own show for free on a community television station. Yes, his very own show! Cable as well as community television stations are wonderful mediums to get the word out effectively. This is an area in which you can get a lot of publicity at little or no cost.
My friend, a computer programmer, hosts a show (or a portion of a show) called "Solution Sentral" on which he is either being interviewed or playing the role of the interviewer, with guests ranging from corporate executives looking to hire consultants or specialized employees in the computer field, to other consultants in areas similar to his. He also takes calls on the show and has an e-mail format where people can ask questions online and to which he'll answer directly on the air. The show is not meant to advertise him directly – if so, the station would charge him for it – but as a "public service" or public information gesture.
Publicity is greatly different than advertising. There are many different ways to get publicity out there, let alone free publicity. But the idea behind publicity is not to market yourself, or at least not directly. Your goal through publicity is to get yourself known and known as an expert in your field. If you have narrowed your focus to a very specific, highly specialized field, publicity will come easy to you. The media loves to receive information from people who are uniquely qualified in their specialty.
Do you write articles for your local newspaper or in the very least in the op-ed section? Do you send out press or news releases to all the TV, newspaper, and radio stations in, at least, your area? Do you offer free seminars in conjunction with non-profit or not-for-profit organizations during, for instance, fundraisers? Do you offer yourself to speak at luncheons, clubs, and organizations such as the Rotary? Do you offer free services to charities or sponsor community projects? As you can see, the list goes on.
A hair transplant doctor I know sent out press releases to all the TV stations and offered to perform a hair transplant live on the air as part of a suggested medical documentary. During a regular newscast and with the consent of the patient, cameramen taped a live procedure where the doctor continually answered questions asked by the reporter. The phone number was frequently mentioned. Not only did it cause his practice to get flooded with calls, but the doctor also had the bright idea to obtain the permission to mass-copy the televised report on videotapes and mail them as part of his information package to potential patients.
The show created a lot of "buzz" and the surgery was the talk of the town. I don't know if he actually did this, but if I were in his shoes, I would have the tape digitized and available to be played on the Internet. People accessing his Website can view the clip right in their own homes. Some people I know have their interviews, conferences, speeches, or voices digitized and plug it on the 'Net as well. Of course, everybody can do that. But if you're not on the Web, yet have a copy of a TV or radio interview/report on cassette, get the rights to it and send it to everybody who wants one, including potential referral-sources and strategic alliances.
A temporary help agency specializing in providing administrative support personnel to the government sector had a neat idea once. Their clients are mostly purchasing agents and, one year, a golf tournament was being held for – believe or not – government purchasing agents! (I believe it was to raise money for some charitable foundation.) The tournament was held in the middle of summer and it happened to be a hot day. So, the salesperson in the temporary help agency, wearing a T-shirt bearing the company logo, address, and phone number, rented a golf cart and loaded it up with coolers containing soft drinks. He drove his cart from hole to hole and offered free drinks to all the golfers in the tournament!
However, it didn't stop there. Because of his thoughtful gesture, he was kindly invited to the awards ceremony that followed the tournament and took advantage of the opportunity to network with the crowd. His name and company appeared in local newspapers, particulary the purchasing agents' association newsletter. So, if you're an expert (and by specializing and narrowing your business, you are one) you must get out-and-about and make yourself known as one.
For example, I know of an insurance agent who decided to specialize in life insurance for newlyweds and newly established families. His company didn't require it but he decided on his own to develop an expertise in this area. You'll often find him at bridal fairs, bridal shows, home shows, home-buyers seminars, home furnishing stores, banks and mortgage-lending institutions, and so on. Now, for a typical insurance salesperson to do this kind of stuff may or may not be a waste of time. But how much more effective will he be if he promotes himself at those special events or locations as an insurance agent strictly catering to new couples and new families? Yup. Much more.
Do you have your free report written by now? If so, then write a query letter to newspapers for an article you wish to contribute. A query letter is one in which you address the editor and propose a topic, on which you have an expertise, for an interesting article you would like to write. Make sure that the headline of your query grabs their attention and makes them want to read it. Make your article somehow related to your free report. Give them a brief outline of your article along with a summary of your free report as a sort of "tickler." Don't forget to include in your query letter that you're not looking for any compensation (at least, not for now), but ask if you can add a by-line.
A by-line is a small note at the end of your article stating who the author is and how he or she can be reached. Send the same query letter to as many newspapers as you can, especially specialized publications read by your target market. By the way, always ask for publishing rights so that the paper doesn't prevent you from having your article published elsewhere.
Now, write! Your article may contain some highlights of your free report. Your by-line may say something like, "Dr. Michel Fortin is The Success Doctor®, a consultant specializing in medical and professional business development. If you wish to learn more about the ideas written in this article, you can obtain a free copy of the complete report, The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning, by calling him at (613) 482-4828 or e-mail email@example.com." Good luck!
Go to Commandments:
#1 THOU SHALL NOT COPY
#2 THOU SHALL APPOINT THYSELF
#3 THOU SHALL MAKE THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY
#4 THOU SHALL FIND MORE WITH LESS
#5 THOU SHALL DIVIDE AND CONQUER
#6 THOU SHALL TAKE IT STEP-BY-STEP
#7 THOU SHALL SPEAK SOFTLY (BUT CARRY A BIG STICK)
#9 THOU SHALL SEEK OUT AND SPREAD OUT
#10 THOU SHALL MAKE THY NET WORK