I was chatting up the owner of one of my favorite LA yoga studios last week, when our convo turned to marketing. Actually, to losing.
She was bummed because her amazing little studio (seriously, it's a gem) only landed a runners-up spot in a coveted "Best Businesses of the City" contest. Like many business owners, she pours her heart into what she does and knows that winning 1st place would have been a great marketing opportunity.
Runner up, though? not so much.
"What's the point?" she asked me. "Why would I advertise to the world that we're a runner up to some other studio? No way."
"Why do it?? Because the losing AWESOME!" I said.
Follow me here: No matter what business you're in, there'll be moments when you don't "win." You'll get second on the list, or you won't make the list at all. Knowing how to leverage those moments can be serious marketing gold for your biz.
To help you out, here are 3 steal-worthy plays you can use the next time you LOSE:
1. The "We're In This Together" Play: Losing can be a great opportunity to build a loyal tribe and play up the "us against the world" mentality. Launch a special promotion. Be fun/funny about it. Ex: "For those of you still love us best, we love you back. To show it: here's a coupon for 20% OFF your next membership." or, "Share your experience at our studio on social media for a chance to win a month free! Use #almostthebestyogastudio."
2. The "Can We Be Better, Or Were We Robbed?" Play: A simple but effective strategy that helps you get honest with your customers and raise your game. Ex: "Is it just us, or were we robbed? No seriously...think we can do better? Tell us how." or "WHY didn't you vote for us!?!? No really, how can we improve our biz? We want to hear from you."
3. The "We're Still Winners" Play: Finally, consider turning your "loss" into a sale and repositioning yourself as a winner. There are a million ways to spin this one, but here's an example: "We made the Best of the City list!! Mention the contest and get one class free! (DON'T mention which place we got, and get a bonus high-five ;)"
See what I'm doing, here?
Shouting from the rooftops that you didn't win 1) shows your customers how real you are (and thus makes your brand more likable), 2) is yet another opportunity to get in front of customers, and 3) shows that you're so extremely rad, that whether you win or lose, it doesn't matter. Your amazingness is untouchable and you know it.
PS. this applies to everything, not just losing big fancy contests.
The next time something less-than-great happens, think about sending it out to your email list. Here are a few examples to get your creativity flowing: "Check out this article rejected by the HuffPost - is it really that bad?" or, "Hungry? Come in and try the worst ____ one guy on Yelp ever had in his life." or, "Almost nobody visited our website last month. Could this be why?? PS. Please visit our website."
Whatever approach you take, the key is to have fun and be lighthearted. Just think of the type of email or message or promotion you'd like to get, and maybe share with your friends. Then do that.
Good luck, losers! You've got this. XO