If you had to publicize your product without using social media of any kind, how would you do it?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Revert Back to Public Relations
To get the most exposure for a product without using social media, public relations is the best way to go! We would use CisionPoint to put together a list to reach out to media professionals. Prior to when we weren’t as active on social media, we received a lot of attention this way. Media coverage is a great way to generate awareness and promote your products.
2. Attend Conferences
Conferences are the physical, real-time equivalent of hashtags and LinkedIn groups. If I had a ticket, I’d bring a pile of business cards and would not be shy about introducing myself. If I didn’t have a ticket, I’d put up a lemonade stand outside the entrance and have a laptop or iPad to demonstrate. I’d also give away some schwag.
– Ryan Buckley, Scripted, Inc.
3. Produce Content
Before we even had a Twitter account, we started blogging. We wanted to become a thought leader in our industry, so we wrote posts that would provide value to potential customers rather than posts publicizing our product. The visitors slowly started coming through Google searches and would stick around to read the articles.
– Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep
4. Use Traditional Marketing Tactics
Social media is now a way of life, but just a decade ago, you had to go into the trenches and do really tactical marketing because you didn’t have these wonderful channels to use. I think we would just go back to traditional marketing and PR tactics. This might include a traditional public relations campaign, cold calling and contacting journalists.
– Rob Emrich, PaeDae
5. Use Email Marketing
We would create a newsletter showcasing the benefits and advantages of a product and get the word out. Another way would be to establish an email schedule for future postings through a website such as AWeber.
– Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
6. Try Unique Tactics
Instead of social media tactics, I would use tactics such as telemarketing and direct mail.
7. Use Fans to Spread the Word
Your customers are the best people to convince new people to try out your product. Give your fans the language to share your brand story, and enable them to be an extended mouthpiece for your company.
– Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches
8. Collaborate with Partners
The best publicity for our visual discovery platform, Blippar, comes from collaboration with partners and win-win content campaigns that create mutual buzz and awareness. We are able to drive user engagement and brand awareness, benefiting both of us in the long run. They’re the content owner, and we’re the exciting new channel through which the content can be unlocked.
9. Go to Events
There actually was life before social media, as hard as it is to imagine. People actually met face-to-face to get work done, and it is still a growing industry. Events are great to attend because your industry is there and a lot of people you are trying to get in touch with are there, too. People almost feel obligated to be more productive at events; it’s a strange phenomenon.
10. Use Grassroots Marketing
Most companies are solving a specific local problem. The value of social media is that it can scale and be super geographically relevant. Offline is the new online, and the best way to spread noise about your product is through grassroots evangelism. Paint the town with your brand, and provide opportunities, such as photo opportunities, to engage with your product marketing in an unexpected way.
11. Offer Referral Incentives
I’ve realized that offering incentives to people for referring business, which is a form of word of mouth, works really well. If we have one user who loves us and he tells five people about us and makes a percentage of the referrals, it’s a win-win. People who like us tend to write nice things about us on their blogs or Twitter. They usually list us as a tool, so it’s also transparent.
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