Be the “Best”

Two common questions I am asked by small business owners are:  How can I distinguish myself from my competition?  and How can I promote my business inexpensively?  One way is to “Be the Best”.

I’m sure each of you are trying to “be the best” already but that isn’t the way I mean it.    In almost every community, there is an annual “Best Of” competition. King5 TV’s  Evening  Magazine does the “Best of Western Washington”.  Seattle Bride Magazine has one for the wedding industry. 425 Magazine is doing one right now for the Eastside.  There was just a “Best of Renton” poll in the Renton Reporter newspaper and so on.

How do you take advantage of these types of surveys and what are the advantages to your business?

First, get one of your evangelistic customers/fans to nominate you in whatever category is applicable. Make photos of your business and a jpg file of your logo available to the person nominating you in case there is a place to upload that information.

Once nominated – promote it and encourage customers to vote for your business.

The salon where I have my hair done printed “Vote for Salon Melini” cards with the web address and simple instructions for how to vote for them and put them at the front desk and each stylists’ station.  These were printed on their own printer using blank business card stock from Office Max.  Put a poster in your front window saying you are “honored to be nominated” and encourage people to add their vote.  Tweet about the nomination to your followers.  Include the information on your Facebook Fan Page of your business and your business website.  If you have a recorded message callers hear and you can easily update it; include a “Thank you for nominating XYZ business in the XYX poll.  We would appreciate your vote and look forward to serving you….”

What advantages are there for being the “Best of…”?   Usually the program, station or publication sponsoring the poll will allow use of the award within guidelines.  They also typically provide a plaque to display and perhaps more importantly, some feature of the winners is given on the air, on their website and/or in print.  This is valuable free publicity for your business.

Even if you don’t win, you can still be pubic with your “Thank you for nominating us as the Best XYX in Your Town.  We appreciate all your votes and your loyal support of our business.”

The fact that someone thought well enough of you to nominate you gives you credibility and a competitive advantage with new customers.   Do your best to deserve it – and use it wisely.

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