How 1 Small Business + 1 Little Promo = 4 Figure Success
Marketing yourself or a small business is tough, but not impossible. We’ve even laid out some basis guidelines to do so in our ebook. And even though we hear of the greatest success stories (Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, etc.), we also know of or have personal experience with the failures.
But I’m here to prove to you it doesn’t take a huge team or big budget to get yourself noticed and attract the right customers. Take it from Joel Klettke, one man on a mission to ensure that business copy doesn’t continue to suck.
Joel Klettke is and always has been a passionate writer. So when he decided to take a leap of faith in 2013, leaving his job as the Lead SEO Specialist for Vovia Online Marketing to become a full-time freelance copywriter, he no longer had the luxury of working for someone else, not having to worry about budgets and exact dollars and cents. He had to do anything and everything himself in order to make his new venture, Business Casual Copywriting, work.
Joel now has to sell himself. He’s not just selling words on a page – it’s his creativity and style he has to showcase to stand out from the thousands of other writers competing for the same jobs. He has to convince people that not only can the written word sell a product or brand better than a door-to-door salesman, but that he’s the right guy for their project.
So when Joel made the commitment of going to MozCon, one of the largest digital marketing conferences in the country, last July, he wanted to find away to help himself network with the right people and get his name out there. The idea was simple, create some kick-ass stickers with a custom logo design on them and hand them out to people at the conference. But that wasn’t enough for a creative dude like Joel, he again raised the stakes and turned his giveaway into a social media contest.
Honestly, as a freelancer, marketing myself at MozCon was a natural reflex. Digital agencies are key clients for me – and what better place to market yourself than a conference where hundreds of agencies who all care about the quality of their content are present?
The idea for the stickers sort of came in bits and pieces. I wanted something more memorable than a business card (I handed some of those out, too), so I mulled on my options and thought stickers would be the perfect way to showcase a little brand personality while giving people something they’d want to hang on to. They were also incredibly easy to transport, unlike mugs or other promo items I considered.
Once I knew it was going to be stickers, I thought about how I might make a bigger splash than just handing them out and hoping for the best. I wanted to take the initiative online and get attention – which is when the idea for a contest hit. I knew that if I could give away a big enough prize ($100) for just a little bit of work (Snap a photo, tweet it with a hashtag), people would take part. That really brought it all together for me.
With thousands in attendance over the 3 day event, the stickers allowed Joel to stick out from the crowd and the contest allowed him to gain some traction on social media as well with his own hashtag #kickasscopy. People began to ask where they got the stickers, retweeting photos and asking how they could get their hands on one themselves.
I got a really positive reaction from people! People loved the idea and the comments were really encouraging – many people mentioned how they thought it was a unique approach, and I got a lot of tweets, retweets and shares from people who weren’t even at the conference. It was a really great opportunity to showcase my creativity, and I think people got that – they know I’m not just another writer – I’m the guy handing out stickers, hustling for their attention in a non-invasive way, trying to do things differently. I had to be careful to avoid inundating my followers with the contest – but nobody complained, and on the whole it was a really awesome experience.
— Eppie Vojt (@eppievojt) July 15, 2014
Joel never missed an opportunity to throw himself out there. He sat through speakers, networked during breaks and even attended #Mozcrawl (no better time to discuss business than over a few drinks). But how successful was his campaign? 324 people checked out the blog post for his contest in July and he handed out just shy of 175 stickers. But how does that equate to the business end of things?
The response was excellent, in my opinion. It’s a bit tough to run a contest like that when there are so many different things competing for people’s time and attention – and you can’t expect 100% participation.
31 people participated in the contest – which is actually pretty good. The people who got into it really got into it – I had photos of the stickers on TV sets, foreheads, car dealerships and more. Others weren’t as keen, but nobody gave me a chilly response. They loved the design of the sticker and thought it was a cool idea – and who knows what they did with the sticker? Maybe I’m on a laptop or a work fridge somewhere.
I got at least two qualified leads resulting directly out of the effort, translating into four-figure projects for Business Casual Copywriting – more than paying off my expenses.
It’s all a little tough to quantify because the impacts just keep on coming. If nothing else, the sticker gave me an easy opener for talking with people; it opened a lot of doors for genuine conversation and had people interested in what I did for a living. It accomplished everything I’d hoped it would, and I’d absolutely do it again.
A pretty dang good response from a marketing campaign that cost a little under two hundred bucks in product and another hundred dollars cash. All it takes is a creative mind, a little cash, humor and the cojones to put yourself out there.
— Amy (@amyxmarissa) August 12, 2014
And the impressions can last forever…
Now How to Take Advantage of Something Like This with Joel Klettke
Would you recommend this strategy to others?
Absolutely – but not necessarily a copycat effort. What I’d encourage is giving people a tangible thing to take home with them and, if you can, tie it into a contest to help generate some buzz. Don’t be afraid to invest a few hundred bucks into something that could generate thousands for you – and wear your brand values on your sleeve! For me, that was creativity, professionalism and innovation – and I feel like that shone through in my effort. Find a unique angle that works for your business and run with it. While others are handing out business cards, you’ll have people coming to you.
If you were to do things over again, would you do anything differently?
I’d probably announce the contest earlier and make it even easier to participate. I wound up having to write a bit.ly URL on the back of every sticker, just to explain the contest – I’d probably attach instructions beforehand next time instead of relying on the web. Other than that, I think this little DIY promo was a surprising success, and there’s not much to it to muck around with.
Do you think this would work with other types of giveaways?
Totally, it’d work with most anything. I think, though, the best giveaway is a little bit clever; it showcases a side of your business that people might not have expected or it affirms a value you want people to know you have. There are a ton of clever products you can run with – shirts, keychains, beach balls, you name it. I think these things work best in situations when your target audience is all amassed in one area, though – conferences are great for that. I don’t think this would’ve been nearly as successful had I tried to mail out stickers or something of that nature.