I hate to admit it, but I am a closet celebrity gossip fiend. I read the trashy celebrity magazines (only while standing in line at the grocery store, of course) and follow celebrity blogger extraordinaire Perez Hilton on Twitter. While it may seem like there’s nothing we can learn from celebrities like Kim Kardashian or Paris Hilton other than how to end a marriage in 72 days or how to get drunk and dance on tables, if you look closely there’s actually a lot we can learn about marketing from the most popular celebrities that will be useful when applied to your small business.
Here’s three ways you can start marketing like a celebrity:
- Make your fans feel special. It may seem obvious, but when it comes to small business marketing, your customers (your “fans”) are your biggest asset. Musician Lady Gaga probably knows this more than anyone – giving her fans a special nickname, her “Little Monsters,” and regularly buying pizza for the die-hard fans that wait in line for hours for concert tickets. So, treat your customers right. Make sure they know you appreciate them and their business. During the holidays, send them a handwritten Christmas card and a gift basket or call them just to check in and make sure they are happy with your products and services. Trust me, it’s a little thing that will go a long way with your customers.
- Don’t be afraid to take risks. Jennifer Lopez, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga are just a few celebs that come to mind that regularly get people talking with their crazy, and some would say risky, fashion sense. While I understand that taking a risk with a plunging neckline to the Academy Awards or a dress made of meat to the Video Music Awards is a little different than taking a risk with your business, the same basic principle applies. That was a while ago, and I still remember those dresses. As a small business owner, you shouldn’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone, go against the grain a bit, and get people talking. Explore some partnership opportunities with companies that you might not have considered before or give away an unusual product as a prize at a tradeshow (come on, everyone already has an Ipod anyway).
- Branch Out. It’s no secret that celebrities are anxious to put their names on anything and everything, from perfume lines to clothing lines, and even a short lived credit card thanks to the Kardashian sisters. When it comes to small business, it’s important to not get stuck in a rut. You’re making widgets and those widgets are great and they sell like hot cakes, but what if your customers also need gizmos? You’ve mastered the widgets, is there a way you could branch out into the gizmo market to give your customers what they need and expand your business offerings? Heck, even sell a widget and gizmo package deal.
So, the next time you hear everyone talking about the celebrity of the month, think about WHY everyone is talking about her – I’m guessing there is probably a good reason for it. Maybe it was a good thing I’ve read all of those celebrity magazines after all.