Are you a small Portland business, a local start-up, a one woman (or man) band with an innovative product or a new idea? You’re not alone! Learn how to get your brand noticed the old fashioned way!
The outset is familiar: Many of us who own and run small businesses are looking to connect with others and tell our story in order to solidify our brand, broaden our reach, and gain new customers. But, even if you have a great website, a killer social media presence, a professional headshot and some really neat business cards (ideally designed by us), sometimes you need to branch out a little in order to reach new customers and clients. Sometimes – heaven forbid – we need to get out of the office into the fray! Here are some fresh new ideas to help you get connected – outside of the walls that are your studio, your home office, or your production site.
1.) Meet the competition
Regardless of whether you run a niche business or have a unique take on something, there are like-minded people who work in your field – even if their approach is different. Some may be way ahead of you on their path, others might be starting out. Competition does not have to be a your bad thing, but can instead inspire you to work smarter, learn new skills, and identify both the strengths and weaknesses of your brand and your business. Check out a trade show if one exists for your area, stop by some boutiques in a different part of town or in a different city, check out the web and design projects other people have been working on. The key here is to be confident in your own abilities and not too easily discouraged, you are not there to compare, but to identify! Take notes on what you like and what you dislike as you evaluate others work – understanding yourself is the key to building an authentic brand that represents you well and connects with others. Let others know who you are and what you are working on – a great opportunity to collaborate may present itself.
2.) Connect with your personal interests
It’s not all business, nor should it be. For many of us, our motivations stem from a personal passion, interest, or identity! Being part of a community that considers you an insider will make it easier for you to approach and be approached for work. Upswept is closely connected to Roller Derby and local fashion producers – its no wonder people know us from these communities and solicit us for work based on our involvement! This can happen for you, too – make sure your communities, whatever they may be, know about your brand and your business. This can be through contributing to message board or website dedicated to certain interest, or attending conferences, events, and summits for like-minded folks. On that note: I’m super stoked to be attending the Lesbians Who Tech Summit in San Francisco this year, in fact I’ll be live blogging it while I’m there from the 26th-1st!
3.) Give back to get more
Another way to get yourself out there, to meet new people and get more attention on your brand is to consider giving back. In December of last year, I posted about how organizing a fundraiser can help generate new buzz for your business – a great example is our own Bowlful of Heart Pet Food Drive. There are many other ways to give back and strengthen your brand. You can volunteer for a local cause or event. Sponsoring a cause or sports team that resonates with you is another great option. (Upswept Creative is excited to be sponsoring the Portland Roller Derby team the High Rollers this year!), or offer your products as prizes for a benefit or fundraisers. People will be more likely to recognize you and your brand if they connect you to a positive experience! Be sure to promote your efforts on your blog and social media!
How have you been able to connect with new customers and clients in the past? If you have any tips or tricks you’d like to share, please let us know!