One of the most successful TV shows in the past decade has been “Big Brother”. The show essentially has a bunch of people with TV cameras on their lives for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The show is addictive. Used to pull in huge ratings (I haven’t watched TV for a few years now so not sure how its still doing).
The reason for its popularity:
People love to know about other people’s lives. Its safer to watch other people live while we stare at a television screen than to take risks and do things ourselves. The producers capitalized on this fact and made millions from the show. What a simple concept, yet so effective.
You can also copy this formula to help your business/talent get off the ground. Whatever you are trying to start – a bakery, a consultancy, a beauty parlor, a photography studio or an internet business – chances are that your first few customers will be either your friends or friends of friends.
A simple way to market is to start posting blog posts or pictures of your “business in the making“. Steve Jobs can afford the luxury of keeping things super secretive until the launch date – you can’t. The fact is no one cares about you (or me….sniff!). Steve Jobs pretends to keep the Apple launches secretive but their is a huge hype machine that builds up the Apple launches behind the scenes.
People usually buy something after about the fifth time they come into contact with it. So if you start marketing your venture only after the launch than you will have a few months of no revenue before your brand catches on. If on the other hand you start letting your friends “see it in the making” than they will feel more a part of your business. Imagine if you are getting a restaurant off the ground and your friends see it when you pick the location. Or buy the kitchen appliances. Hire the chef. Serve the first customer.
The negative part is that many people can see many of your ideas fall “flat on their faces”. But that’s Okay – if you get over the fact that your business won’t be perfect the first time round and the fact that you will keep going till you get it right, than it doesn’t matter if you make a few blunders along the way. Some publicity is better than no publicity. Besides people will give you feedback along the way to improve your ideas rather than you getting the feedback after everything is complete – in software development the later down the road you make changes, the more expensive it gets. People can comment for instance on why the location you are thinking for your restaurant is not right or suggest a better venue.
Business for the past few decades had become corporates. Small business owners gave up their personalities in order to give the impression of being a big business. Now though “the local shop keeper” is back. People are now “buying” from people again. They don’t just want to see a nice corporate company website with smiling happy people but they want to see YOU – the CEO/entrepreneur/person making it happen. Yes you with all your flaws and your human touches.
As a start-up you will appreciate all the publicity you can get. With the social media and internet tools available the “big brother” approach to marketing is an effective and cost effective way for you to get your word out there.