Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Everyone enjoys a good story. Stories are the best way for businesses to get their messages across to customers.
As a business journalist, I often get people calling me saying they’ve started a new business with no idea of what to say about it. I’m always interested in why someone starts a business, especially in these tough times, so I ask them what inspired them.
This simple question is often the key to unlocking the story of their business. They tell me about their life, the barriers they’ve come up against, their dreams and how they’ve pursued them, and a lot more.
Suddenly, they’ve gone from being just someone who’s opened another business to someone with an interesting story. It usually says a lot about their business too, revealing their ethos and how they operate.
Not all journalists are ready to put the work in to discover the story, so it’s good to discover your own story and tell it for yourself.
What drives you to run your business? What has happened along the way? What thoughts struck you so you decided to make your business that bit different from everyone else?
Capture the imagination of your audience as you tell the story of your journey to success.
I’ve just finished putting together a document for a local organisation, which included a number of adverts from various businesses. What struck me is how many small businesses are not equipped to promote themselves effectively.
Perhaps they think that a marketing agency will charge them the earth to design a logo or produce an advert – and some probably will – but there are many good designers around who’ll do a good job for a fair price. It’s also possible to produce clean, high resolution artwork on a PC, so that if you are going to prepare something yourself, you can make sure the lines will be smooth when printed in a glossy publication and it won’t look jagged.
The important thing with any form of marketing or promotion is to do it well, whether it’s a small black and white advert or a massive full-page colour promotion.
Like most things, it’s good to be prepared and have a high quality graphics file of your logo – at a resolution of 300 dots per inch and separated into the Cyan Magenta Yellow Key (CMYK) colour format – that can be sent to a designer or publication every time you want an advert. This, in itself, should not cost the earth and, if you do pay to have it prepared, will last you in good stead as you can use it again and again.
From the budget, we know that tough times are going to continue and it’s businesses that will lift us out of them. Just creating a good quality visual image – it doesn’t have to be complex or fancy – is a start and works for you every time someone sees your adverts, brochures, vans or other material. Once you have good basic materials, you can build on these for many other forms of marketing and promotion.