Question: How do you promote a business when you have to keep your clients a secret?
Answer: With Crispy Fried Chicken.
It’s not every day that a chicken shop ratings idea comes up in a brainstorming session about B2B digital marketing. Especially not for a digital outsourcing company; in day to day life, they have nothing to do with succulent fried chicken tenders.
However on this occasion, the team at We Are Star were deep in discussion about how to do the seemingly impossible: how to promote the reputation of our business when, much like KFC’s seasoning recipe, we are our client’s best-kept secret.
Instead of being able to share glowing customer reviews with potential new clients, being a white label solution means that a lot of them need to remain anonymous. Armed with the idea of a chicken shop ratings system and a clucking great marketing team, we set to work gathering five ways that you can still promote your business, when public reviews aren’t an option.
1. Press and Social Media
First up, we have a trusty, old-school method that gives power of presence and organic advertising. Having a great press release and an even better story angle, means that you can tickle the taste buds of industry journalists without having to pay for advertising. Just being spoken about online can not only do wonders for your SEO but also shows potential customers that you are worth talking about. With few client testimonials, potential clients can still see that your company is making moves, and will probably want to know more.
You don’t only have to wait for a journalist to publish your story either, getting a social media presence such as Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter makes you even more accessible to the audience you want to reach and is another way to have a presence in their eye line. Tell your social media feed what your company does and can do. If you can’t give exact examples, show your audience that you have in-depth knowledge and you know exactly what you’re talking about.
2. Blog posts
Further to social media, get a blog page for your business. Although everyone eye-rolls at yet another company blog, it is a great way to self-publish and get your audience engaged with content that you’re creating (just like right now!) While potential customers are browsing round your website, they may come across your blog page which if kept up to date and filled with current industry information, will add to the credibility of your brand. You can show your potential customers that you know your onions and that you definitely have client experience.
3. Anonymous testimonials
Although you won’t be able to have a big shiny company’s name next to a quote to display on your website, does not mean you can’t post anonymous customer quotes. Having a month and a year attached to the quote rather than their name will make it look relevant, recent and real. Having a great relationship with your customers means that you should be able to ask them for a feedback quote, providing you are not attaching their name to it.
Having a star rating system that you can ask your clients to fill in is also a good way to show the ratio of customers to satisfaction. Next to a written quote, ask them to give you a star rating – that way, it won’t look like you’ve just completely made it up.
4. Award certificates
When you’re on the road to capturing new customers, they will of course want to see examples of the work you have completed before. This can be really tricky when you’ve signed an NDA to remain anonymous. So instead, show people what you’ve done by enrolling your business for industry awards instead, such as Digital Entrepreneur and the Growing Business Award. While you are getting established, the key thing to remember is that no one cares about you, yet. Getting industry recognition early on is a great way to show potential customers that you do what you say you do – so well in fact, that you’re getting awarded for it.
There is never any problem with telling potential clients with whom you’re in conversation that you are white label and therefore cannot disclose your existing or past clients. The fact that they are having a conversation with you means they are also looking for the same service, so it should not be too much of a big deal that you can’t show them much. Create a positive reputation for your business and the customers will be receptive to that.
5. Word of Mouth
Probably the oldest (and most important) trick in the book: word of mouth referrals. There’s no way I would ever have tried Sam’s fried chicken in North West London if my friend hadn’t told me about it first. With the likes of Chicken Cottage, Zam’s and Morley’s all in competition, word of mouth brought me to Sam’s and I’m very glad it did.
The secret is not really any secret at all; if you work hard for your existing clients and make their life easier, they won’t be able to help telling their friends about you. It’s an obvious one but one that works the very best. Let them do the promo for you by doing the best you can for the clients you have.
In short: you can still shout about your business without giving your clients away. In fact, having an air of mystery about your projects can give you the upper hand; if you get enough people talking about you and your brand out there for as many people as possible to lay eyes on it, potential customers may eventually want to see what all the fuss is about.
Strategically written content, industry awards and five star ratings will speak for themselves, and there will be less need to name drop. We realise chicken may not be the answer but we would still like to weave the idea in there somehow, so any ideas would be much appreciated.