Non-Gross Ways to Get Your Business The Attention it Deserves

Marketing can feel gross sometimes, can’t it?

Small businesses tend to have a marketing problem. They work hard, take care of their customers and don’t often receive the attention they deserve. It’s one of our pleasures to work with so many remarkable business owners, but they often don’t do a great job getting the word out about their brands.

Huge companies have the budgets to invest in marketing teams, ad spends, and nationwide campaigns. But sometimes those campaigns can feel gross.

Small business owners aren’t comfortable being gross in their marketing and so we put together 6 ideas to help you brainstorm and gain attention without sacrificing your authenticity.

1. Sponsor Up-And-Coming Organizations

Working with hundreds of brands has taught us that new organizations appreciate the help. Find an organization you love and sponsor their efforts. An email with “how can I help?” will usually make a big difference for a new organization. (And in our experience, young organizations typically don’t charge enough for sponsorship opportunities so you can do a lot with a small budget).

2. Collaborate to Create a Resource

Imagine this scenario: a lawyer, a business coach, and a bookkeeper are all awesome at what they do and – because of their awesomeness – they don’t have the time to put together the resources that they could.

Help coordinate or sponsor the creation of a resource that will help your audience and community.

3. Rally Around a Cause

Two years ago, I met a successful business owner who shared his political opinions online AND managed to continue a successful business. I asked him about how he managed all of that. He told me that people love to rally around a cause they align with. While most brands are afraid of saying something bold online, don’t shy away from causes you believe in. It’s a great show of support for that cause, but it will also help people see the depth of your brand. Being vocal about a political candidate, a social justice issue, or your fanaticism about the local sports team isn’t ALWAYS a smart idea but life is short, go ahead and make your voice heard.

4. Give Things Away

Christmas. Birthdays. Giveaways. Ever heard of em?

Everyone loves presents and gifts and free stuff. Here’s a business strategy: give people things.

The top 3 most viral things The Wonder Jam ever did in our first 3 years of business were buttons, stickers, and parties. We didn’t do any of these things to try to get publicity but brand recognition is a predictable side effect.

Throw a party. Give away t-shirts (or headbands). Order stickers. Host an artist to set up a gallery in your space.

Getting gifts is fun, but so is giving them.

5. People are Suckers for Pets

Allie and I were visiting Minneapolis and decided to walk into some cool men’s boutiques. We trekked to Wilson & Willy and were immediately struck by their dog, Lamont. We found out their dog has his own Instagram account and deservedly so, he’s handsome.

It’s been a year since this guy came home with us. From 20 pounds to a cool 140 in no time! ? #shopdog #bigL

A photo posted by Wilson & Willy’s (@wilsonandwillys) on


Could you benefit from a furry spokesperson?

6. Be A Community Hub

Let me step on my soapbox here for a second. In America, our communities used to be built around religious communities, workplaces, and schools. Fewer people than ever are part of religious communities. Fewer people are having children and, therefore, fewer people are plugged into a community around schools. More people than ever are contract workers and, therefore, aren’t plugged into a community of coworkers.

Our society lives in a community vacuum. Could your brand fill the void?A local coffee shop close to our studio hosts Sunday soccer matches for their regulars. They routinely host art gallery’s featuring paintings by their regulars. I watched a barista give a car ride to a regular who was about to walk to work in the rain. Your business can become a community center and it’s a beautiful thing.

Add some more.

What have you seen brands doing that you really love? Any other ideas you’d add to this list? Add examples in the comments below.

August 25, 2016
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