Jacqueline Barleycorn, founder of The Great British Porridge Co, has found in-store sampling to be an effective way to drum up interest in her products. “We’re a fledgling company that’s been going for just over a year. Handing out samples is a fantastic way to get our brand in front of the public,” says Barleycorn. “In-store sampling is effectively free advertising – building brand recognition, driven by word of mouth, and contributing to future sales.”
Another benefit of offering samples, she adds, is that feedback received from the public can help to develop your brand and products.
5. Have a killer referral programme
Much like word of mouth can boost the profile of a food brand, referral programmes can be crucial for online and e-commerce businesses to grow their customer base.
“A referral campaign can be the best way to boost visibility,” says Tommaso Dolfi, head of marketing at career development platform Pathfinder Software. “It needs two crucial key factors to be a success: the product must be good and the campaign has to fit the business model – too many brands can get it wrong by trying to force customers to refer friends for the sake it.”
For example, Dolfi says, a referral programme where customers receive free products or discounts on a future order for referring is going to benefit one-time-purchase businesses more than it will subscription businesses that rely on repeat custom.
6. Tailor your social media content
Al Black, co-founder and production director of online-voiceover agency Voquent, says that social media has been crucial for its organic growth. Customers use the agency to cast voice actors for everything from corporate videos to video games and animations.
“We’ll soon surpass 12,000 voices on our books and we’ve now got a full-time talent manager to handle the recruitment and moderation of submissions,” says Black. “The more voices we have, the more choice customers have to choose from and the more likely they are to use the platform again.”
Voquent has amassed the number of voices it has on its books through Instagram and Twitter, only posting content that it knows voice-over artists will like and share.
“You need to know what your audience is interested in and cater to that,” says Black. “You can use all the tools in the world, but if your content isn’t tailored to your audience, you’ll be forgotten instantly.”
7. Don’t forget the local newspaper
In the age of social media, businesses can be quick to forget about the value of advertising in print.
“While people may think the print editions of local newspapers are out-of-date, sharing our news in our local paper has been beneficial in boosting our presence,” says Caroline Pegden, co-founder of TempaGoGo, a start-up aiming to simplify temporary agency recruitment.
She adds that it can be an ideal way to amplify your company’s products or services, especially if your potential customers are the same demographic as the people in the local area that the newspapers are distributed to. What’s more, compared with national print, the advertising rates are likely to be lower.