Even though your business is boring, you probably offer a great product that many consumers could benefit from. If potential customers don’t know that you exist, however, it doesn’t matter how great your products or services are, because no one will buy them.
Increasing brand awareness, especially if you happen to fall into a mundane business category (say bed mattresses or matcha tea), should be at the top of your priorities list. Here are five ways all boring businesses can improve visibility:
1- Stir Up Conversation
Surely the core values of your business relate in some way to news events happening now. Paying attention to what’s trending and contributing valuable opinions to already on-going conversations is one way of getting visibility.
Stirring up a conversation from scratch, however, is way more exciting and effective because every form of communication thereafter will ultimately point back to you – especially if your marketing team acts as host and curator of the conversation. Platforms like Quora, Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook are great places to start discussions that might entice social influencers, who can help you “go viral,” to participate.
Make sure to focus on topics that you know your audience will care about and that also align with your overall brand message. If you can, for example, get a certain hashtag (e.g. #ChangeYourPerspective) trending on social media, chances are that people will think of your business as a relevant and exciting brand that has the power to shape public opinion.
2- Viral Videos
“Going Viral” does not have to mean getting over a hundred million video views. Depending on the size of your business, even a thousand views in your local area if you are a restaurant, for example, can make a huge difference.
This is very important to consider when thinking about launching a viral video campaign. Most importantly, figure out who your target audience represents and what they might like to see. That is who you want to “go viral” with – not every person on the planet (those viral hits mostly happen by accident and cannot be planned.)
A great example for this is a video from DollarShaveClub.com, which features the CEO himself walking through a rather absurd warehouse while interacting with some interesting subjects. Razor blades are boring items; but DollarShaveClub.com was able to make it interesting with this video, which was clearly produced for young males (their target audience).
3- Stunt Marketing
Stunt marketing is mostly a carefully planned publicity event that aims to get the brand behind it wide exposure in the news. One of the best examples for this in most recent years was the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.
Unfortunately, there is nothing more boring to many people than having to listen to charities who are asking for money. So former Boston College baseball player and ALS sufferer Pete Frates decided to create a public challenge as part of which participants were asked to choose between pouring a bucket full of ice water over their heads and donating money that would go toward ALS medical research. Of course most people did both!
This marketing stunt started gaining popularity slowly before becoming one of the most-discussed topics in the summer of 2014. That’s because it had some of the most important ingredients to make it work: 1) public involvement, 2) a topic people could discuss and get behind, 3) a game and entertainment component, and 4) a simple and exciting story to tell for media outlets on- and offline.
4- Avoid Business Jargon
Words like “synergy,” “value proposition,” and “customized experience” might sound impressive, but are often times ineffective simply because no one really knows what they mean.
Instead, try to be as clear as possible about what you are selling to build trust with your target audience. Boring businesses rely on old-school marketing techniques like “shiny words.” Exciting and trustworthy businesses know that they have something great to offer and are up front about it with simple and direct language.
Think “WYSIWYG” – what you see is what you get.
5- Tell a New Story
Sometimes it is time to move on. This is especially true for older businesses who have been handed down from generation to generation. While maintaining the legacy is certainly important, telling the same old story is not.
Try to find a new perspective, a more interesting take, a fresh story that can represent the same company values just repackaged for a 21st century audience.
In any case, it is important to know who your target audience is and what they are looking for, because they could be defining the word “boring” differently than you might expect.
Author bio: Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.