A recent experience reminded me just how many businesses make it unnecessarily difficult to be found by their prospects. In a world that’s increasingly obsessed with Google ranking, let’s not overlook the basics of self promotion.

I’m in the market for an automatic driveway gate. But with hundreds of options online, I decided to take an old-fashioned walk around the block to see some gates in action. While I had found some good options on the internet, it was hard to tell exactly what I was getting.

After about 10 minutes of walking I’d found three gates that were just what I wanted. They were the right size, colour and design. I thought, “Job done”. I’ll get the name and number of the suppliers, give them a call, get a couple of quotes and I’ll be all set.

But when I investigated further I found that none of the three gates had any indication of who made them. Even the opening mechanisms that sit behind the gates had no clear branding. I was able to read the manufacturer on one, but there was no obvious website or phone number.

A small, subtle sticker or badge would have been all that was needed to turn these gates into free advertising.

Sure, customers won’t appreciate blatant advertising on their products, and some industries lend themselves to self promotion more than others, but it’s an opportunity well worth considering.

Self promotion is very common. Web designers put their link on the bottom of sites. Security companies ward off burglars and advertise themselves with bright stickers. Magazine articles often come with a self-promotional footer from the author. Coffee brands leave their mark all over cafés. Research companies add their credits to the covers of reports. The list goes on.

As a prospect, I want to be able to find quality suppliers, but I don’t want to have to knock on a stranger’s door to ask them who installed their gate.

Doing this kind of basic marketing doesn’t have to come across as tacky self-promotion, surely it’s simply smart marketing. What creative ways have you come across to leave a calling card on products or services, or indeed what self promotion tactics have you used yourself?

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