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Making your work at home business sing

Thursday, 19 April 2012 | By Cas McCullough

Hands up if you’ve ever been in a high school musical? Now hands up if you’ve gone to one as an audience member?


Chances are, if you’ve been to high school, you’ve done one or both. So have your friends, mum, dad, grandma and even your dog.


Years ago when I was working at the Woodford Folk Festival (a large international festival in Queensland), Director Bill Hauritz told me his secret to marketing success.


He dubbed it the High School Musical Principle.


Here’s how it works


Host an event that gets a lot of people involved in some way so you have a dedicated community invested in the success of your project.


Then get them to promote the event to their family, friends and social media followers.


As it turns out, Hauritz was way ahead of his time. Now that social media marketing is becoming the norm, rather than the exception, a growing number of businesses are adopting this approach.


The reason for this is because building a loyal community that promotes your products and services for you is inherently social. People are more likely to buy based on the recommendations made by family and friends.


So, what can you do to harness the High School Musical Principle’s power and build community in your business? 


Here are three ideas for you to ponder:


1. Run competitions which require audience participation


A lot of work at home businesses tend to run giveaways (sweepstakes) rather than contests.


It’s okay to run giveaways from time to time, but running a contest that requires a small effort from entrants is far more valuable to your business.


You are more likely to attract genuine customers if you require them to do something meaningful to win the prize and if you run a contest that involves their followers and fans, you are enabling them to build their communities while also building yours.


An example would be a photo contest where they need to get their friends and followers to vote for them to win.


Loyal fans, family and friends love to vote for contestants if it’s easy for them to do so.


Make sure whatever prize you offer is valuable to your ideal customers. And make sure you clearly communicate what they need to do in order to increase their chances of winning.


2. Don’t run too many promotions


High school musicals are special annual events in the school calendar.


If you run too many events of this magnitude, your campaign won’t have the impact you would like it to have.


Keep special events special by making them annual events and piggyback your event on a seasonal event such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.


3. Keep people informed and build buzz


By establishing a mailing list where you can keep your loyal customers and potential customers informed about your upcoming promotions, you can build buzz and offer subscribers the chance to be first in when that promotion goes live.


You can build a list by adding a check box to contact forms, and competition entry forms or by adding a subscribe box to your website. Make sure you use a mailing list program like MailChimp or Aweber so that you follow anti-spam laws and be sure to stay in touch with your subscribers by offering regular product tips or news.


There are many more ways in which you can make your business sing and build community but these are just a few to inspire you.


Next time you get a letter from the P&C about a school fete or school musical, have a think about how you can apply the High School Musical Principle in your business events and promotions.


What are doing to build community around your brand or business?