Getting people to hear about your business is arguably one of the toughest things when starting out as a new business as it can be expensive and targeting the right people can be difficult. We have asked some of our recent Shell Grand Ideas Award winners what different marketing strategies they have used and whether they have been successful or not.

Daniel Sutherland of the Daniel Sutherland Design Studio stated he has used “a lot of free PR since beginning trading in newspapers and magazines which has been a major advantage.” To supplement this free coverage he has been getting Daniel also paid to market to his specific target industry by advertising “in various trade show magazines” and he also “exhibited at the biggest trade show in Europe to launch the product.”

Appearing at trade shows also appealed to Craig Harrison of Aquaread: ‘We exhibited at trade shows in the past which have also proved a success.’ Shira Rubin of Learn2Lingo, winner of a December 2009/January 2010 Grand Ideas Award, also found that trade shows proved invaluable for her business: “We exhibited at the Language Show at the ExCel Centre, that was excellent, we signed up 300 teachers.” Trade shows are not only a great way to meet your customers and other stakeholders but also a great chance to network with like minded individuals.

Brothers Cameron and Struan Smith of Coastal Connection who won a Grand Ideas Award in 2009 have found traditional advertising has worked best to promote their west of Scotland based boating company. On the matter the brothers said: “We got leaflets printed and went round the local bed and breakfasts and hotels. This year we got an A1 poster board in Oban, which has helped a lot. We have adverts in local tourist magazine which seems to work.”

Entering the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a great way of gaining publicity for nothing for your business. Don’t just take our word for it either: “the LiveWIRE award this came at the beginning of the business and we got a massive amount of press around it which went on TV, Radio, business papers and news papers this helped spread the word a little further. If you do something special you need to get the local press to pick up on it as they love to tell a good news story!” – Nicky Gray of Kiki's Kabin, she won 2007 Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the North East.

Edwin Broni-Mensah of GiveMeTap, winner of a March 2010 Grand Ideas Award also hails the difference a Shell LiveWIRE Award made to his ability to promote his company: “Since the Shell LiveWIRE award I was made aware of the true benefits of PR. Since then GiveMeTap has been featured in several leading newspapers, include The Independent, The Manchester Evening News, and in the online blog Springwise.”