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How to Promote Your Business with a Glass of Water

| Friday August 7th, 2009 | 5 Comments

ban-startup-friday

Tapit water network

Now that carrying a water bottle has long passed being the domain of the crunchy crowd, there’s another hurdle to address: Where to get good water once you’re done with that first filling you did in the morning, when you’re out there in the world. What do you do? Get it from potentially dodgy tap water? Buy another, bigger bottle of water to fill it with, defeating the original purpose?

Tapit has come up with a solution that is both supportive to those that carry bottles, and businesses we may never have found were it not for Tapit.

It’s simple: You the water seeker look up on their site or via their iPhone app where there are businesses that have water, then go on in and fill up, free. On the other side, you as a business sign up to be a Tapit partner, specify how people can get the water (ie from the counter staff, from a wait staff, or self service) and what kind of water it is (room temperature/chilled, filtered/unfiltered)

For a business that largely depends on either word of mouth, reviews, or advertising, this simple, low/no impact gesture brings people in your door, who may either make a purchase at that visit, come back later, or refer friends there. All for the cost of a glass of water.

While this was started in and still remains a primarily New York City thing, a visit to their Twitter page quickly shows you they are slowly expanding to other cities, primarily it seems from people reading about and taking the initiative to enter their business on the database. With distinctive store signage, idea spreading conversations are likely to ensue when someone unaware of the Tapit network asks about it at their neighborhood cafe.

Bridging water into a greater context involvin the rest of the world they have a lively blog that covers current water issues, and in one case, a stylish Italian counterpart to TapIt.

Readers: Where have you seen simple innovations like these, helping people live more sustainably, and businesses a way to connect with customers?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media. Who he has and wants to work with includes consumer, media, clean tech, NGOs, social ventures, and museums.


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  • Soulo

    This is pretty ingenious, but what the heck happend to public water fountains? They used to be everywhere. Have we really gotten that uncivilized?

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

      Good point. I wonder how many of the listings are actually water fountains? Could be many. But even so, is water straight from the tap the best thing? In some places, yes, but others, highly processed, not so good a choice.

  • Pingback: An easy way to promote your store/office–with the power of water()

  • http://www.sustainabilityconsult.com Kathryn Sheridan

    Interestingly I travelled on the Eurostar from London to Brussels today. Eurostar heavily promotes its carbon neutral status. I asked at the information desk if there was a water fountain. The French lady behind the desk looked confused then helpfully suggested the toilets (where the water is warm only – no thanks) or that I could buy a bottle of water.

    These kind of initiatives are welcome and just by asking we can bring about change.

    • http://www.greensmithconsulting.com Paul Smith

      That last bit is so true, in so many arenas. People just get used to what’s “the norm” that it doesn’t even occur to them that there’s another option to consider. Then someone like yourself comes along, and jostles their mind a bit with your question, and a seed gets planted. Maybe nothing happens in the short term, or ever, but there is that possibility

    • Nick Aster

      This is deliberate at places like concert venues where they try to bilk you out of every last dime. The cheesier places more so than the nice ones. I recall a few years ago asking for water at a bar, being handed a bottle, then after a bit of an argument being flat-out refused tap water. I went to the bathroom and stuck my head in the sink.