History marketing is by its very nature a form of co-marketing. No matter what the project or initiative, your history partner(s) and you will be marketing to each others’ audiences. What a terrific opportunity for you to connect with new people!
• If your business is backing a town-wide historical event such as a town anniversary, the birthday of your founder, or the commemoration of a significant historical event, you will market the event to your list, and the town will promote your business through its own outreach efforts. You could potentially reach many thousands of people with a relatively small investment! Just be sure to find out exactly how the town does its marketing, where, when, and how your business name will appear (insist on tight control of your own information), and how your business can be visible beyond just adding your logo and name somewhere. Can you serve on a committee? Write a pitch letter about your involvement to encourage others? Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about your support? Having your own town as your marketing partner is pretty powerful!
• Can you underwrite the lecture series at your historical society or public library? Or an exhibit and its opening event? Or a special lecture and book signing? Any of these kinds of events involve promotion, and you can win big here too for a modest investment on your part. But don’t just write a check! Issue a joint press release with your partner, promote the event on your website and at your place of business – and make sure your partner does the same. Write an article for their newsletter. Ask to speak at the event and make sure to have staff present. You will have the opportunity to get in front of hundreds of the “right” people, and you will be associating yourself with high status work. That’s a good thing for your reputation!
• How about backing a public history project? These are usually overseen by a nonprofit organization (your partner) and managed by a community committee. Static public history initiatives such as a mural, statue, historic site, park, memorial, or historic marker are long-term projects that usually include a permanent list of all donors. During the process, you can be visible by serving on the committee and publicizing your involvement. The committee overseeing the project, in turn, should communicate regularly with your community to update the public on the project’s progress. Your name should be attached! Have project people come speak to your staff. Have pictures of you and your staff taken at the groundbreaking. When the project is complete, ask to speak at the dedication. Again, all of these activities require massive marketing on both sides to raise funds and public approval.
Can you see how this can work? By partnering with your town and historical organizations, you can build your list, get attention, and boost business. At the same time, you will be supporting local history.
Wins all around!
2011 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
History Smiths works with service-oriented businesses to use history — their own and their community's — to achieve customer loyalty, referrals, and high status. Subscribe (above, right) to our free Ezine, Connections, where we share ideas and examples of businesses embracing history to achieve business goals.