I’m especially fond of outreach marketing. In fact, I believe it has the power to help businesses break free from the “background noise” all marketers fight against in today’s over-saturated media environment. It humanizes, connects, and encourages deep development of networks that often produce powerful results far beyond any simple SEO or content marketing plan.
I’m not saying that other forms of marketing aren’t important. Concepts like on-page optimization, content delivery, and social media marketing are a must; without them, you just can’t get the initial attention you deserve. But outreach marketing is the icing on the cake; it changes how people see you and makes you look more attractive and compelling.
In the post below, I’ll review a few of my current favorite outreach strategies. I’ve included helpful implementation tips to get you up and running before summer hits.
Hire Influencers for Special Summer Events
Summer is the perfect time to host events, and influencers can help you publicize or share them with the world. If your focus is on local brand awareness, find a local celebrity and invite them to come experience your products and services for free in exchange for a product spotlight.
If your focus is national or global, explore Instagram for someone with wider reach; give yourself bonus points if you find someone already interacting with your brand. Remember: they don’t need to be world-famous; sometimes, even mid-level influencers with audiences at around 100,000 people are remarkably effective.
As for which events work best in the summer, it depends on your brand. The scope of a marketing campaign for an HVAC company will naturally be much different than, say, the scope for a company selling fireplaces. Find a way to relate your products to summer, if possible, and then flex that influencer power with discounts, brand awareness campaigns, or giveaways to get noticed.
Re-Humanize Your Brand on Social Media
Over time, marketing campaigns can begin to feel a bit stale. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of posting the same themes, the same aesthetics, and the same remixed messages over and over again. People slowly stop paying attention.
Confusingly, summer also just happens to be prime time for a slump in many industries. This is exactly why I recommend brands dabble in a bit of creative marketing and re-humanization during the warmer months.
Your goal should be to create posts that come across not as a business, but as a real, live human sharing helpful, high-value, or high-engagement information. Ultimately, the best way to achieve this is to be natural and conversational, but it’s also about sharing sneak peaks of who you (and your employees) really are.
Post pictures of your company cookout at the beach. Upload Instagram videos from your presence at special summer events. Let people see you have fun, that you care, and that at the end of the day, you’re a business made up of humans.
More great ideas: tell a story about a time your brand didn’t get it right; outline what you learned and how you grew from it. Be funny; tell niche-appropriate jokes, share the occasional meme, and drop the constant seriousness in favor of good, clean humor. Encourage your followers to respond in kind with their own user-generated content. Then, interact with it when it rolls in. Just be sure to keep it relevant and on topic at all times.
Teach and Educate Your Followers
The second major rut I see marketers fall into is the idea that you have to constantly sell, sell, sell to be achieving results. That’s abjectly false; in fact, if all you do is push your products, eventually people will begin to see your posts and shares as little more than more spam in the sea.
Summer provides most consumers with more downtime; they’re on vacation, they’re relaxing on the weekends, they’re spending time at home with the family. Use some of your content marketing space to reach out with helpful or educational content during this time. Followers are more likely to pay attention and actually find it useful when they have enough downtime to focus on it.
Not sure what to share? Try product demonstrations, helpful tip videos, influencer reviews, or even extensive tutorials on relevant topics. “Insider secret” articles and videos breaking down complex, industry-specific concepts also work well.
Give Back to Your Community
Californians are a philanthropic bunch. For the most part, we love to give back to the community and the greater world at large. Whether it’s helping to clean up local nature areas or hosting fundraisers for important charities and non-profits, summer is the perfect time for your business to get involved in a little corporate philanthropy of its own.
Here’s something to think about: how does your business currently fit into your industry or niche? Who is your target audience – which charities do they find important? What charities do your employees support?
Using the information sourced from these questions, pick a cause and find a way to help out. Host a beach-side fundraiser, a donation drive, or a special festival. If you don’t have the resources for advanced involvement, figure out how you can donate time (either through free services or employee involvement).
Bonus points: it’s a great way to lift employee morale and encourage loyalty, too!
Break Free of the Digital Marketing Space
Major rut #3 in digital marketing: overlooking non-digital marketing channels completely, either because it’s too hard or too much work to implement. Offline channels still really matter, even in our heavily networked world. If you spend all of your time reaching out to people on social media, but no one in your target audience ever sees even a clue that you exist in the real world, it can negatively impact trust.
Summer is a great time to break free of the digital marketing space and get out there because people are much more likely to be spending time outdoors. They’re exploring, playing, eating, and adventuring under the warmth of the sun. Take advantage of this time and increased foot traffic to get your brand noticed.
What works best will depend on your business, but I can tell you this is a great time for billboards, print media, posters, signage, and radio messages. Your audience is probably spending more time downtown, outdoors, or out and about, meaning they’re much more likely to actually see and absorb that messaging in summer.
Warm weather is also a fantastic time for offline marketing campaigns using local influencers. Head down to the beach and give away products. Have specials that encourage more foot traffic directly to your business if you have a brick and mortar location. Take out a table at a local festival or fair; give away swag and get your name noticed. Or, host a local party and invite all of your best clients to come.
Outreach marketing isn’t necessarily new, but it does have the potential to take the entire marketing industry to new levels in the right hands. In fact, it’s a big part of why I chose to become a marketer in the first place.
I believe that, at the end of the day, businesses and audiences thrive on human interaction. Simply put, we all want to be treated like more than just a number. When businesses respect that desire, it creates a better marketing experience for virtually everyone at every step in the pipeline.
Need help bringing all of these strategies together? Can’t figure out which concept works best for your business? I love to help businesses discover the benefits of outreach marketing campaigns. Reach out for a consultation here.