I've been on both sides of the fence on this one and have seen some amazing things done with low, and, absolutely no budgets. There are so many creative ways you can go about building, not only your business, but also establishing yourself as an expert or "go to" person in your industry. Each one of them begins with Planning, Marketing & Publicity. This area is to discuss the strategies and realities of increasing your business without 'breaking the bank'.
When you're getting in front of your public it's important that you are always adding value to them. Always keep in mind that you can be yesterday's news the minute you close your mouth. It all depends on what you've given to meet their objectives.
Ask yourself these questions:
What does my audience want?
Can they get it anywhere else other than me? [This answer is almost always "YES".]
What sets me apart from the others in my industry? and how can I over-deliver?
If I were them, would I use my services? If so, Why? If not, Why not?
How can I pub the interesting, newsworthy side of me?
Your list of questions will naturally grow as you hone your image and the statement you want to make to your marketplace. You'll also find that all of these things matter when you put yourself 'out there' in front of your public.
Here's a partial list of venues:
Television - Be a culinary expert on a show
- Check your local television affiliates and approach the segment producer that handles food demonstrations, arts, crafts and/or special interest stories.
- Just like you're reading this article, you can create your own original content for any one of the Internet/digitally-based platforms to establish yourself as the expert in your field.
- This is very similar to the television strategy, except you're targeting radio listeners. [Keep in mind though that you want to make sure that you get on the appropriate show for the client you're wanting to attract - i.e. You probably wouldn't want to target Radio Disney unless you knew the listeners had the ability to make a decision and contract your services.]
- Anytime you or your business does anything newsworthy you want to submit a press release to get in front of your audience.
- There are great article types you can post. Focus on ones that offer a solution for which your market is searching.
- Cooking demos at events,in videos, at stores...
- Schools are great places to give classes for the youth. Not only does it keep you connected to the community, but it also creates more opportunities with school and district officials to get to know you and contract your services.
- Churches are great places to connect with those whom you share the same values and have a warmer connection.
- They allow you an opportunity to give great information, display your true personality, answer live questions, and close the sale on your offerings.
- Run your own network and demonstrate your culinary mastery in the comfort of your own space.
Now you're in a better position than you've ever been. Things that use to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, years past, can now be produced for nothing more than your time, creativity, and low to no budget. Whereas you had to spend so much money to get local, regional, national and/or international distribution, you're no longer locked in to that model. Now, thanks to modern technology, and the click of a submit button, you can go local, viral and global, without leaving the comforts of your establishment. All you need is the right idea, access to the Internet, your presentation and great follow up & engagement.
Keep these digital platforms in mind: mobile; video; blogs; micro-blogs; facebook pages; linkedin; google+; myspace; images; website; articles; groups; forums; lenses; comments & interaction; mind maps; presentations all should have a place in your arsenal of free-marketing tools to grow your business.
Now more than ever, you have the ability to take the reigns and grow your business, even when your budget is challenged. For more information pop on over to my Personal Chef Facebook business page!To your business success!