25 Creative Ways to Bring More Attention to Your Business
Do you need more attention? Do you feel like your business isn’t top of mind in your community? People won’t buy from you if they don’t think of you. While the easiest way to increase sales is to upsell existing/current customers, the second-best way is increased exposure. These days—to stand out—you need to get creative. Here are a few ideas to help get your business the attention it deserves without breaking your budget.
- Host a contest on social media.
- Sponsor a chamber event.
- Start a Facebook group in an area that interests your ideal target market. Real estate agents, for instance, might start a group based on community happenings.
- Write an eBook showcasing your talents, special knowledge, or expertise. Give it away.
- Host a class at your local library.
- Celebrate a national day with a giveaway (like a free drink with every slice of pizza on National Pizza Day).
- Be a guest on a local podcast.
- Write a guest blog for a site that is popular with your target market.
- Set up your Google My Business page.
- If you are a service provider, look for ways to attach your company name to your work. For instance, a painter may ask the homeowner if they may place a sign in their yard while the work is completed. Some companies offer discounts for that.
- Place an advertising wrap or window cling on your car.
- Advertise in a program for a large graduation or popular community event.
- Email past customers and those who have shown interest in you. Send them deals.
- Create a VIP group that receives special benefits for a minimal investment (like free shipping).
- Pay for search results.
- Use targeting on social media ads.
- Host a party or open house at your place of business. Offer door prizes, swag, and/or free food.
- Purchase a chambertising ad or directory placement.
- Get your business added to the local tourist map.
- Ask for referrals. Answer reviews on review sites.
- Create cool swag and give it away to employees, partners, and vendors—walking billboards.
- Post to local Facebook groups. Be solutions oriented.
- Create video content showing off your business. Bonus points if you can entertain your audience, not just provide good information.
- Purchase website ads.
- Create a text offers list (with your customer’s permission, of course) and text out flash deals.
Marketing needn’t be expensive. If it provides good return on investment by bringing in more money than it costs, it’s invaluable. With these ideas you can play around with the right mix to find what works for you and provides good return and conversions.
It’s Time to Start Talking Cybersecurity
At the risk of sounding like Chicken Little (you know the one who runs around talking about the sky falling) the current global “go-ings on” are the closest we’ll ever get to advanced warning that cybersecurity is something every business needs to worry about. Big or small, selling globally or just in your tiny town, if you do anything online, your data is in (potential) jeopardy.
Here are the things you need to do now. Seriously.
Invest in Protection
While there are many articles out there that will tell you small ways businesses are at risk, it’s important to know that cybersecurity is something you will now have to consider as part of your business’ annual budget. Running updates as soon as they come out isn’t enough protection. Storing data in the cloud, isn’t enough if those cloud companies get hacked. Making sure your virus protection is in place…while all these things are good, they aren’t enough anymore.
You need to speak with a cybersecurity expert. Rest assured a good expert will offer a customized plan for your business and work within your budget. But cybersecurity is now something you will have to budget for as a line item. Move toward that now.
Don’t Ignore Warnings
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and FBI have issued warnings over the past two months about the imminent threats of destructive malware aimed at organizations with dealings in the Ukraine. However, the agencies believe it is only a matter of time before American businesses (with no connections to that area of the world) are targeted too.
The actions that CISA/FBI urge companies to act on as soon as possible (meaning today, start these things today) include:
- Set antivirus and antimalware programs to conduct regular scans.
- Enable strong spam filters to prevent phishing emails from reaching end users.
- Filter network traffic.
- Update software.
- Require multifactor authentication.
- Use strong passwords, single use only (not the same ones across every site you access), and change them often. Set your machines to require it.
- Regularly backup data offline. Yes, a few years ago we were told cloud was everything. Now we stress redundancies. Do both.
- Implement network segmentation. You don’t want to give access to everything through one “door.”
- Work with a professional to draft a recovery plan.
- Require credentials to install software.
- Configure access controls with “least privilege” in mind. If your employee doesn’t need it, don’t give them access.
- Consider a VPN. Over the last several years, it’s become increasingly easy to access machines and log in to work from home. It was essential to work during COVID. But now that easy access can cause big problems.
- Disable hyperlinks in emails.
- Train your employees on cybersecurity and potential threats. Even savvy employees can be tricked by coincidences. For instance, an email from “Federal Express” when they’re expecting a package can cause a lapse in judgment. While they may not normally click on something suspect like an attachment in an email, in this example it seemed legitimate because it fit into their world/expectations at that moment.
If you’re not sure where to turn to start working on these things—and you don’t have an IT department—check with your local chamber. They often know of resources in the area and cybersecurity experts who can walk you through what you need to know. Also, read the Cyber Essential Resources for Small Business from CISA. It will help you decide where to start and how to begin cyber security implementation to keep you and your customers safe.
Don’t wait for something terrible to befall your organization (and this goes for nonprofits, too. Your lists could be very valuable). If you conduct any sort of business online or have any lists or data on your computer or in the cloud, you need to investigate the necessary level of protection and begin a plan for implementation. Once malware strikes, even large companies with huge budgets are helpless.
This is a business threat that you need to be proactive about. Being reactive to this threat is the same as doing nothing and that just won’t do.
Buy the Basin-The Basin is Open for Business!
THE BASIN – THE BUCK STAYS HERE!
They say everything comes back around and dusting off the original “Buy the Basin” Campaign is a great example! Started in the early 1990’s, Buy the Basin was a joint campaign headed up by the Odessa and Midland Chambers of Commerce. At the time, it encouraged everyone in the Permian Basin to buy locally when possible. On-line shopping didn’t even exist at that time, but many people headed to Dallas or Lubbock to do their shopping. This awareness campaign shined a light on the importance of keeping those dollars local, resulting in increased jobs and sales tax dollars.
Fast forward to the 21st century…the message has changed a bit as we deal with Amazon and on-line shopping options from around the world. However, one thing that has stayed constant is that for every dollar that is spent in the Basin, additional jobs are created! According to The Perryman Group, a new job would be created in the Permian Basin if everyone in the area would spend as little as 49¢ at a local store or 23¢ at a local restaurant.
The Buy the Basin campaign stresses the importance of locally-owned and managed businesses and how they positively affect the local economy, adding jobs for our residents and keeping businesses open. Buying local directly impacts our economy, reinvesting those sales tax dollars back into our community in regards to healthcare, education, roads, infrastructure and more
The Odessa and Midland Chambers are grateful for the support of Medical Center Health System, Odessa Development Corporation, Midland County, City of Midland, VisitMidland and Midland Development Corporation in helping fund this campaign. Several area Chambers of Commerce are also supporting the initiative as well, including Andrews, Artesia, Big Spring, Carlsbad, Hobbs, Monahans, and Seminole.
We want the community to consider local options when shopping in stores or buying online. In fact, this may be more convenient than national online options considering the long waits for shipping right now, and many local companies are able to provide products the same day. Buy the Basin isn’t just aimed at retail consumers and restaurant goers. We also want businesses to consider purchasing from their neighbors before going out of the area for needed goods and services.
So before you click “purchase” on your computer, make sure you are buying from one of our many local businesses in Odessa or the Basin. Better yet, go visit one of these local storefronts. Afterall, these are the same sponsors of our non-profit organizations, student events and local sports teams. They are the same ones you go to when asking for a community donation. The least we can do now is support them over an out-of-town store or on-line vendor.
Help us spread the word about Buy the Basin by visiting buythebasin.today for logos and messages as well as follow us on social media. Buy the Basin…the Buck Stays Here!
Odessa Chamber of Commerce President/CEO
700 N. Grant, Suite 200
Odessa, Texas 79761 432-332-9111