Reach out to peopleStrangely enough, this is called an ‘outreach' strategy and is used to directly connect with potential prospects, alliance partners and other referral contacts. It's like the 6-degrees-of-separation concept - if you reach out to enough people within the same group/market/tribe, who interact with each other on a regular basis, your outreach activities will gain momentum and your name will become increasingly known by a lot of people and potentially connect you to most of them.
Identify a group that is a target market for you, and then start contacting individuals within that group.
A few online and offline ways to reach out include:
- Asking a question to prompt discussion or do some research
- Answering a question or problem on your topic of expertise
- Providing useful information
- Sharing interesting / valuable information
- Connecting people together to benefit them
- Inviting someone to something
- Offering someone an opportunity
- Sending a personal note - great to meet you; thanks for the referral; happy birthday
Use the above ways to connect with potential clients, collaborators, connectors who can introduce you to potential prospects, and people you would like to meet.
Make a list of these and other outreach strategies you can think of, and schedule them into your diary on a monthly or weekly basis. Have your assistant help you with this to make sure it gets done on a regular basis.
Consistency of these activities will raise your profile.
Attract attentionThere are professional ways to attract attention; the sort that make people stop and take another look:
- Visual branding
Some people like to attach a type of clothing or style to their brand - for example, leopard print, black and white, always black, white pantsuits (yes...I know), designer clothes, etc. It's really all about consistency and the recognition factor with your brand. Your clothes make a statement about you and your brand; memorable style creates an impact. Carry this style through all your marketing materials.
I remember watching a very high profile Melbourne business woman give a speech at an event. It was her clothes that made me remember her so vividly - they were appalling! Her grooming and her clothes were really surprisingly inappropriate and very shabby. The flip side is what we're aiming for!
- Be controversial
Make sure you're prepared for the sort of attention that controversial views bring. Personally, it's not my style to deliberately set out to be controversial, but for others it works - think of controversial advertising campaigns. You can be controversial in the social networking space, and in any interviews you do, articles you write or live events where you express your views. Controversial could be ‘outrageous' or just going against the popular mindset.
- The company you keep
Have photos on your website or blog or Flickr stream of you with high profile people. Attending events and paying extra for the VIP seating will usually give you a photo opportunity with the guest speakers. Testimonials from high profile people adds value to your profile too.
- Your car
Interesting and unusual cars can be a great profile-raising strategy. In the case of one architect, a very noticeable part of her brand was a pale blue, immaculately maintained, vintage Porsche cabriolet with a cream interior. It was part of her brand. My neighbour owns an advertising agency and he drives an immaculately maintained bright red 1976 Lancia with a custom number plate. His car is like a work of art. I knew of him before he became my neighbour - courtesy of the car. You can also create a work of art on your car, and use signage to raise your profile in a local area.
- Pick one marketing strategy, and dominate the space
For example, become the feature writer on a specific topic for a magazine or newspaper. Become the special expert on your topic for a particular radio station (online or offline). Pick an event and sponsor it - this could be big or small and it could be a fund-raiser or a business event. What could you do to dominate as the expert on your topic in one type of marketing arena?