Savvy entrepreneurs know how important it is to make the most of every marketing opportunity. So why do many overlook one of their greatest marketing sources—the employees themselves? Of course you have a budget for traditional advertising, but your office is filled with potential brand evangelists if you only know how to make the most of them.
Here are seven ways to capitalize on the marketing possibilities of your workforce:
1. Speak their language. Take the time to figure out what motivates each individual you employ and make your business relevant to them in terms they understand. Have a customer service rep who connects with folks on an emotional level? Give that employee a personal connection—a story about why your vision is emotionally satisfying. Is another employee a logical, technical sort? Get him excited about the features and benefits of your company. Find a way to get every single employee to connect with your company in a way that’s meaningful to him or her.
2. Do good. Teach your employees that it’s not just about the bottom line, but that your company makes a difference in the world. Whether you highlight the ways in which you directly improve your clients’ lives, or whether you make sure your employees understand the good you do with the income they generate for your company, if you can connect their work to a larger purpose, they’ll feel like they’re working for a cause, rather than just for a paycheck. If your staff feels good about what they produce, they’re going to promote your brand.
3. Give them a wardrobe. If you provide your staff with cool apparel that’s branded with your logo, you have walking advertisements. The key is that your apparel has to look good. It doesn’t do you any good to have a ball cap in the back seat of your employee’s car. You want that ball cap worn proudly.
4. Exploit social media opportunities. Think about it: You don’t ever see the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile around town without a flock of people taking photos and posting them on their various social media platforms. Likewise, if you can arm your employees with conversation starters, you’ll bring attention to your brand and increase your visibility on social media. Give your staff cool gadgets—branded, of course—and let them attract attention to your business. If you can get customers to take pics of your logo and share them on Facebook or Twitter, you can create countless impressions.
5. Provide Halloween costumes. For staff members who need a costume for a party, offer to provide one that suits the spirit of your company—a company superhero, if you will. Think about Svedka vodka’s Svedka Girl. Your costume will get your brand out there and make it easy for your employees to get their party on without having to dream up their own costume.
6. Use mobile technology. Make the most of your office WiFi network as well as the mobile hotspots your staff might use. Label the network with your business name or tagline so complete strangers who check for available WiFi networks see your business name. If your sales rep stops for lunch at Panera and uses her company mobile hotspot, then every customer who wants to jack some Panera WiFi will see your business name or your website address. You can create hundreds of impressions for your business simply by seizing a tiny, often overlooked marketing opportunity.
7. Brand all your equipment. Take your sales rep at Panera. She opens her laptop to get some work done while she eats lunch. Why should her company MacBook advertise for Apple when it could be advertising for you? Like the wearables, the key here is to have a great logo that can be applied to any piece of company equipment that travels with your staff. Whether it’s a company car, a company messenger bag or a company cell phone, don’t miss these easy chances to spread the word.
You already know that your employees are the face of your company, but it’s important to ask yourself if you’re maximizing the exposure their interactions can create for your business. As your staff moves through their lives, both professional and personal, they interact with dozens of people daily. Getting your brand, your logo, your mission, your vision out there with every one of them—circulating, making impressions, creating connections—can be a key component of your marketing strategy.
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