If your city is anything like mine, you’re inundated with “Best Of” ballots at some point throughout the year. Magazines and newspapers send out e-mail reminders and place ballots in their publications, urging locals to vote for their favorite restaurants, recreational activities and services. In turn, they hope to gain some advertising from the winners under the guise of promoting all that the area has to offer. Advertorial or not, “Best Of” lists are fun for me to fill out. I like to learn about new eateries and activities while appreciating publicity for my small-business favorites in the hopes they’ll get new clientele. “Best Of” winners aren’t necessarily the best, however. There’s a lot of campaigning going on. So if you sit back and just hope your customers enter your name on the ballot, think again. Business owners have been known to stoop to cutthroat tactics such as stuffing ballot boxes with fake names and launching smear campaigns against competitors. You can play fair, though, by reminding your customers new and old to vote for you. Here are three campaign strategies.
- Print and hand out postcards to your customers that urge them to vote in your local “Best Of.” Include a link to the ballot or remind them when the publication is distributed with the ballot. Be sure to include which categories are relevant to your business, and think beyond your niche. For example, I’m urging people to vote for a lunch spot I like for more than just sandwiches but also “Best Staff.”
- As soon as the “Best Of” ballot link goes live, post it on your website, again asking clients to vote for you as well as suggesting specific categories.
- Do you have a newsletter – e-mail or snail-mail? Do the same as above, and don’t hesitate to remind customers if you send another newsletter out.
When the “Best Of” winners are announced, publicize your achievement outside of the newspaper or magazine – order stickers to hand out and post on your door, print a banner proclaiming your victory and announce it on your website and through your newsletter. You worked hard to be the best – now let everyone know it. After all, a crowning achievement given by your peers is some of the best marketing you can get. Photo credit: earl53 from morguefile.com