Successful business promotions often require more imagination and resourcefulness than money.
Consider using some of the following ideas to promote your tire dealership or service shop in your local market area.
The fall months mean football, soccer and other athletic events at local schools and universities. It also means increased school band activity as well as various scholastic competitions. It's an opportune time for you to offer your company's support for one or more school programs and activities.
Typically, schools welcome polite inquiries from local business owners so, first and foremost, ask about the specific needs of the school's activities and programs. Please don't assume that you already know its needs. Then decide if your tire dealership or service shop really can support an activity in some way.
Be sensible and open-minded. Some school activities and their needs create relatively high-profile opportunities. But other, equally needy programs may not appear high-profile enough to suit you.
Don't undervalue a school activity just because it's not the homecoming parade. Experience shows your name will be spread around the community — via word of mouth as well as social media — anytime you assist a school program.
Ultimately, this exposure is relatively inexpensive, effective local advertising for you.
Let's begin with something high-profile such as a parade. Typically, that means floats, displays, wagons, etc. Perhaps you own a high-quality trailer that students could convert into a float or wagon. Furthermore, you may have a suitable tow vehicle for that trailer — or another parade piece. Or maybe one of your dealership's customers could loan out a trailer and/or tow vehicle for the event.
If so, create appropriate banners and signage for these “courtesy” conveyances. The people watching the parade appreciate seeing who supports school activities.
A business owner may seize the opportunity to roll out his or her classic car for such a parade, draping banners on it broadcasting the company's school spirit. Sometimes, students riding in this classic car throw treats and hats to parade watchers.
Be sure someone's on the parade route taking photos and videos of your company's participation in the event. Then post those on your company website as well as on social media — more cheap advertising.
Other times, the support the school needs is important but decidedly lower profile than a parade. For example, could band members use a supply of those disposable hand warmers? Could they use blankets and pillows on the band bus? Do you think those kids would enjoy coolers of sandwiches for those long trips to games or competitions?
Don't overlook support of scholastic activities, either. For instance, there could be a spelling bee at the elementary school or a debate competition at the high school. In each event, dozens of kids have to be fed. You could ease the financial burden of these activities by sponsoring box lunches or a buffet. Perhaps one of your dealership's customers runs a restaurant or catering business. Could this person co-sponsor the lunch with your dealership or service shop?
Once again, take lots of photos of your participation and post them on your website.
Suppose your plan is box lunches. Maybe you could put a raffle ticket in each lunch box, then raffle off free maintenance work, winter safety kits, a computer tablet, etc.
Surely, this effort will make your business a household name among those kids and their parents.
Supporting local school programs shows your company's character — not to mention boosting its image in the local market. Watch for opportunities to show your “colors.”
Meantime, I invite Tire Business readers to tell me about the ways they have helped school activities in their neighborhoods.