Advertising in national publications and television stations is the standard route taken by businesses, even small ones. Promotions and advertising are key to any good business. However, it is small businesses that reach out directly to their communities that gain marketshare and a solid customer base.
According to the 2001 National Consumer Water Quality Survey by the Water Quality Association, 69 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat knowledgeable about substances or contaminants in their water. Of those, 47 percent said their information comes from the media.1 With numbers like that, you can’t afford to miss out on media opportunities.
Being the first to reach out and talk about water facts, treatment and its importance in every day life will put a local face on a national topic and pave the way for you to becoming an expert source.
Traditionally, local newspapers are the first avenue to be recognized by a business. Display and classified advertisements often are the most utilized forms of publicity. However, other opportunities should be considered, and some are available to you at little or no cost. Dealers should be preparing and sending out press releases announcing new staff, products or services. Contribute unique stories surrounding your business including a unique way your business was started, how many generations the business has been passed down and which local activities your company participates in. Local papers always are looking for catchy angles that will appeal to the local public.
Don’t forget town or village newsletters. Some smaller ones may not offer advertising, but you can take the opportunity to write an article or column about water treatment. Discuss water concerns in your area and how they directly relate to the town’s health. Seasonal articles addressing water needs such as how important drinking purified water is in the summer heat also are popular. Also, don’t forget to utilize important dates such as National Drinking Water Week, May 6–12.
Take advantage of national broadcasts regarding concerns of John Q. Public such as E. coli, arsenic, lead or bottled water. While the public is hearing about these issues on national broadcasts, you can be the first to be interviewed on the local radio or television news discussing how these topics affect the local community.
Don’t be afraid to show off your expertise. Take this opportunity to speak about water treatment technologies and what they can do for homes and businesses. Discuss treatment options, contaminants, recent news and health effects. Make sure you research your topics, and be prepared to answer any questions.
Become that local expert reporters, government officials and the public can turn to for advice or information.
Here are some suggestions to consider when planning your ad.
• Pay a little extra for a larger advertisement in the Yellow Pages directory. Seventy percent of users are more likely to call a company with a larger display ad when they don’t have a specific company in mind. Also, 66 percent of Yellow Pages users view companies with larger ads as being more reputable.2
• Draw people to your ad before they look at anything else on the page. Catch their eye with elements such as white space, artwork, photos, color, bold copy or borders. Be creative when planning the layout and utilize the space allotted to its highest potential.
• Don’t forget to satisfy the customer’s need for information. Does your advertisement answer the important questions such as
- Why do I need this product/service?
- Why should I buy from this company?
- Do they service my area?
- What products and services do they provide?
• Motivate them to take action and use your products/services. List ongoing specials or “Mention this ad and receive ....”
• Most importantly, make sure your ad conveys a high-quality professional business.
Billboards and Posters
By renting a billboard — be it on the side of the road or in a mall — or hanging posters around your community, your face or business will be seen by hundreds of people each day. Your message that clearly states your business name, location and phone number will get you some calls, but don’t forget that a short, simple message addressing what you will do for the passersby to give them a better life will help generate more interest and leads.
Perform Presentations, Sponsor Events
Ideas here are limitless. By donating time and money to local charities, your name and face not only are more prominent in the community, but you also are donating to good causes.
Look into sponsoring athletic events. Even a little league team has needs. Be creative. Instead of donating money to the team for equipment, offer to donate bottled water for each game. Parents on all teams soon will become familiar with your company name.
Schedule presentations to schools, Girl and Boy Scouts, Lions clubs, county offices, etc. Discuss water basics and its importance, treatment options, health effects or contaminants in your town. An alternative to this is to schedule tours of water facilities or plants with these groups.
Sign up for a booth at a health fair, food festival or carnival. County and state fairs often have commercial buildings/tents that offer booth space for companies to promote and educate the public on their products and services. Display health effects of poor quality water, contaminants that are prominent in your area or recent news stories—particularly ones that feature you or your company — and the importance of drinking the recommended daily amount. Make water coolers available for the public, making sure there is plenty of literature near the coolers and someone to answer questions. Keep up your enthusiasm throughout the day. Ask questions about what the person’s concerns are about the water he and his family drink, what are some recent issues he has heard in the news (then localize it), how much would he spend on a water unit to keep his family drinking purified water and does he currently have water treatment devices in his home?
All of these questions could help you turn that visitor into a client.