Tom Whalley's words slice through the noise, resonating not just with musicians but every startup in the business realm. The core message? Marketing. Allow me to share the wisdom I've gathered firsthand, navigating the music scene and kickstarting bands like Fantasy, Oracle, Exit, and Hell No... to name a few.
Forming a band and creating music? That's the thrill. The real challenge? Getting people to acknowledge our existence. Back then, securing a gig meant hauling our gear to a club or event venue, playing a few tunes for the manager or event promoter, and crossing our fingers that we'd score the gig. It was a grind, but as fun as performing living room concerts were, they weren't exactly paying the bills. We needed to get discovered outside those four walls.
As a startup, while every business recognizes the importance of investing time and resources in social media and digital marketing, emphasizing physical marketing within your own community should take center stage. I understand it can be intimidating. Much like my experience, confident in my musical skills yet grappling with the unfamiliar territory of marketing, as a new entrepreneur, you might find yourself in a similar situation.
I'm certain you are confident in the services you provide and in delivering quality products, which led you to start your business in the first place. However, marketing might be a source of dread or a realm where you lack the "know-how." Often, the fear of community engagement becomes a common hurdle for startups. As a result, it becomes tempting to retreat behind social media posts instead of embracing face-to-face interactions to effectively communicate the value of your business.
But without community marketing, waiting for customers to find your business is like hoping the music industry will show up at your door to personally hand you a contract. Here are some actions you can take that will help you get discovered:
1. Start Small with Local Events: Attend community gatherings, local markets, or town fairs to engage in face-to-face interactions with residents. Set up a booth or table to showcase your products or services, allowing for genuine conversations and meaningful connections. Consider offering exclusive promotions or discounts for event participants, creating an incentive for community interaction.
2. Collaborate with Local Influencers: Identify local influencers, and community leaders, or participate in business networks within your area. Reach out for collaboration opportunities, such as co-hosting events, featuring your business in newsletters, or joining local trade shows. Leveraging established local networks enhances your business's visibility and credibility within the community.
3. Participate in Local Networking Groups: Join local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, or business networking groups. Attend their events, workshops, or mixers to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and community members. Establishing relationships with like-minded individuals can open doors for collaborations, referrals, and long-term partnerships.
4. Host Community Events or Workshops: Organize your own local events or workshops tailored to the interests of your target audience. This provides a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction, allowing attendees to learn more about your business in a relaxed setting. Encourage participation, questions, and feedback to foster community engagement and trust.
5. Contribute to Local Charities: Support local charities or community initiatives through monetary donations or volunteering your time. Actively involve your business in charitable activities to benefit the community and establish a positive reputation. Attend charity events or organize fundraisers to connect with community members who share a passion for giving back, fostering a sense of shared values.
Getting Over the Fear of Face-to-Face Interaction:
Practice Elevator Pitch: Prepare a concise and compelling elevator pitch to introduce your business confidently. Then practice, practice, practice. In front of a mirror, in front of others.
Start with Familiar Faces: Attend local gatherings where you might encounter familiar faces first, making the initial interactions more comfortable.
Set Realistic Goals: Instead of aiming to meet everyone at once, set small, achievable goals for the number of people you'd like to connect with at each event.
Attend Networking Workshops: Join local networking events or workshops where you can practice and refine your communication skills in a supportive environment.
Remember, You're Offering Value: Focus on the value your business brings to the community. When you believe in the value you offer, the fear tends to diminish.
Continuous effort is your key. Show up, just like my bandmates and I did, lugging our gear to clubs for auditions that only lasted a few minutes. Remember, if no one knows about your business… you don’t exist!
Need help in getting your business known? Let’s talk! Give me a shout, and let’s discuss how we can work together to achieve your business goals! Fill out a contact form or email me at: Ted@TedEleftheriou.com