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PR Can Make Your Small Business Grow

A good press release can expand your consumer base.

A good press release can expand your consumer base.

One of the most cost effective ways a company can advertise itself is through good public relations. Unfortunately, many small businesses fail to include public relations in their business plan or in their advertising budget. For many, it’s simply because traditional advertising is front and center every day and public relations may only be a thought when needed to boost reputation, do some sort of damage control or risk management or when launching something that is new to consumers.
PRNEWSWIRE offers some advice about how to use public relations to grow your small business if you are weighing your options between advertising and public relations.
The first thing they point out is that it doesn’t always have to be an “either/or” situation. If done right, you can take advantage of free advertising or free public relations if money is a major concern. You may have to do some research or bartering to make it happen, but it is possible. An example would be reaching out to local bloggers and news outlets and asking if they would be willing to feature your business in exchange for a contest giveaway or some other sponsorship. Maybe they have a favorite charity and you could help out with that charity. This garners more free publicity for you and gives them a partner in the community. This is good for their public relations, too.
When it comes to advertising versus public relations, consumers can be wary of direct advertising because they know the whole goal of advertising is to sell something. Advertisers point out all of the benefits of a product, business or service. They may use language that seems or feels exaggerated or make claims that consumers may be suspicious of. With public relations, a consumer is more likely to believe a business’s statements to be more authentic and genuine if coming from a media outlet or another company/person like themselves. How many times have you, as a consumer, purchased something because the reviews from the consumers told you more about a product than the company did?
PR may also reach a broader audience than advertising. If your small company can send press releases and/or articles to the major players online (Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc.), you can maximize search engine results and increase your lead generation by thousands, depending on your keywords and tags.
For budgeting purposes, PR is less expensive than advertising and your small business enjoys more bang for the buck. Consumers are interested in stories. Advertising definitely can tell a story but the story has to be short and push a certain message, leaving the consumer no room to become invested in the business or make their own decisions about the business. Public relations can draw the consumer into your story and they become interested in knowing more, wanting more and wanting to be part of your success.
No matter what your goal is, public relations may seem daunting if you’ve never done it before. That’s where we come in – we can help you weigh the pros and cons of advertising versus public relations, look at your budget and formulate the plan that will help you and offer advice along the way.
Contact us today and ask about our special offer that will help you maximize your advertising budget!

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5 Angles to Pitch to Media

news_reporterWith so much emphasis these days on social media and the Internet as sources of news and information, many small business owners overlook the local news reporter as a potential platform for public relations. Reporters need stories to fill up their time slots, whether it be 30 seconds on the news or a recorded video for a website, social media page or other form of communication. Most news outlets are allocated approximately 6-7 hours a day of television programming, not including commercial teasers. That is a huge opportunity to pass by.

The Snyder Group Inc. offers some pointers on how to capitalize on the media.

Find something new or innovative that you want to announce. People seem to love the word “new” and are always on the lookout for the latest and greatest thing. So, if your small business is offering a new product, service or some change to what you have done in the past, get the local reporter involved. Push the “human interest” aspect of how this is going to be great for the economy, the community and for those who seek you out.

Offer your area of expertise in conjunction with another story they are featuring. Has a certain event been front and center on the news? Do you have some knowledge on that topic? Reach out to the local news station or newspaper and offer to share your insight. Let’s say you operate a child care center and are well-versed in children’s safety. During the summer months, you can offer tips on water safety or outdoor play or avoiding bee stings. Something that is relevant. Parents watching that story will remember your center’s name. The news reporter doesn’t have to hunt down an expert. The story writes itself.

Does one of your employees go beyond the call of duty on a regular basis? Perhaps you would like to recognize that employee for his/her service to you and others. You could ask the local news outlets if they would help you “surprise” the person with an award or recognition. Again, the positive actions of you and your employee make a great human interest story for the reporter and you get some valuable face time on the news.

Are you hiring? Are you thinking about hiring in the future? With so many people looking for work these days, asking the local media if they can feature your company shines light on you and your company. Get their buy in for how this will make the neighborhood better and how you are looking for people who care as much about the community as you do, people who are avid readers or watchers of the news station or newspaper that you love. This works well if there are competing news outlets in your neighborhood.

Is your company partnering with another company to do a charitable work? Or complete a project? If it’s local, it’s news. Let’s say you are a realtor who has helped a home buyer link up with a lender who specializes in a certain kind of loan. Let’s say that lender did an awesome job and your home buyer was impressed by you making the connection and by the lender making the loan. Tell someone about it. Tell the news you’d like to commend the lender publicly for helping a local family so quickly. Sure, you are putting the light on someone else, but you are also putting the light on yourself.

Public relations and publicity can come from a variety of sources once the imagination gets flowing.

If you need help brainstorming ways to reach out to the media in a genuine and authentic way that will make them just as invested in your business as you are, we can help.

Contact us today and ask about our special offer that will help you reach the media and the public in meaningful ways.

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PR Ideas for a New Product Launch

product launchMost consumers expect a flood of new products in the fall, in preparation for Black Friday and the kick off of the holiday season. Marketing opportunities are around every corner, from traditional advertisements in the newspaper to infomercials on television. Planning for these new product launches begins months in advance.

As a business owner, you need to think outside the box when it comes to getting your share of attention in the midst of everyone else trying to get consumers’ attention.

Cision.com offers some tips for being a little more creative with your PR and marketing strategy for your new products or services.

Don’t overlook the impact of a trade show. Yes, you will be surrounded by other people with similar ideas, but it is the quickest way to get the attention of the largest number of people in one place without investing your entire advertising budget. Your audience will consist of reporters, bloggers, consumers, critics, buyers for large retailers, buyers for online marketplaces, and a whole host of other curiosity-seekers who may see your product and spread the word.

Create something consumers didn’t know they needed until they saw it. This comes with some trepidation as you don’t want to be the product that ends up in the close outs section of some store a year from now; however, if you can think of something so ingenious that people will wonder why they didn’t think of it, you have a foot in the door. You can create some buzz, some anticipation. People will be curious to try it out and you’ll get some valuable PR and advertising. If you can give away some free samples of the product and have product testers provide reviews of the item, you can feature real world feedback about the usefulness of the product.

Something Old. Something New. Maybe you are not in a position to develop a brand new risky product, hire testers and then collect feedback data. Perhaps your business just isn’t in the business to take a chance on risky innovative things. You can breathe new life into something that already exists.  Perhaps your business is selling men’s fashion ties. You may think that there is no way to re-launch that and get some new interest. Ties are ties. People either buy them or they don’t. But… what if you found another use for those ties in fashion? What if you featured a different demographic? What if you jazzed up your patterns and styles? Then, you could have a contest for the most creative non-tie use of the tie as a fashion accessory. Buzz created. Minimal risk and effort on your part.

Take advantage of the consumer’s interest in videos. Short, impactful, creative. People spend hours trending and hashtagging their favorite videos, which could be as short as a few seconds or as long as a few minutes, as long as you have something to say. Once upon a time, people waited until the Superbowl to see innovative commercials, but now, thanks to YouTube and other video hosting sites, you can search for new product videos all the time. People share fun videos. Aside from the production cost of the video, your advertising dollar can be stretched in ways you probably hadn’t thought of.

Think about rebranding. If the reaction to your products and services just aren’t catching the eye of the consumer, perhaps it’s time for a little bit of tweaking. A new logo. New colors. Updated website. Value added content on your website. A virtual storefront for your products. This can be a time-consuming endeavor and may require some capital, but if done right, the rewards in buzzworthy public relations and marketing will be worth it. “Have you seen the new site for XYZ? Amazing!”

We can help you think outside the box and think of ways to launch your products and services. We have proven success in helping others with Public Relations and can help you, too.

Contact us today and ask about our PR special offer.

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Visual Trends in PR

lightbox imageHow many times have you been looking at something online or in a printed document and an image caught your attention and made you stop and read what was going on or what the image was about? How many times have you skipped something completely because it didn’t have an image to break up the words or because there just wasn’t anything to really catch your interest?

If you aren’t using visuals in your marketing and public relations, then, unfortunately, you are missing an opportunity to catch the attention of a potential customer.

We have become a visually stimulated society. Brighter images. Bigger images. Large numbers of images. We love them. Infographics on Pinterest are very popular because they sum up an entire topic and/or pages of research into a concise and often entertaining visual.

PR NEWS advises that using visuals in PR is a growing trend for 2015. In a recent article on their website, they state that press releases, which are usually free of images unless it is a business logo, will evolve to include visual content to be more stimulating. The same article also goes on to state that video budgets will increase in 2015 as professionals strive to get their message across in ways that are more visual, like educational and informative videos. Many marketing agencies are producing quick value-added videos and clips to help their businesses promote services and products.

Meltwater.com chimes in with their own take on using the visual in PR – specifically, social media PR. They advise that adding attractive, relevant and compelling images to your social media campaigns will increase your exposure. Think of the routine status update on Facebook. You could post that you were launching a new product, all-text, and possibly get a few likes. However, if you post a photo of the new product along with the text, interest will increase and you have the possibility of more likes. Photos in a newsfeed make people stop and look. Words… not so much.

If you are unsure as to how to boost your public relations presence using visuals, we can help. How many is too many? How do you pick the right image to convey a message? When and where do you use them?

Contact us and we will help you create a visually stunning public relations plan that will make heads turn.

Ask us about our special offer that will help boost your overall PR.

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Benefits of Public Relations

folded-newspaperWhether you are a small company or a large, well-known corporation, the number one way to get the word out about whom you are and what you do is through public relations. You may have an entire team dedicated to PR or maybe you’ve included it in your marketing plan. Either way, you know that it has value. By definition, it means establishing a relationship with the public – through advertising, press releases, marketing, word of mouth, online reviews, etc. A business needs some form of PR to flourish and grow.

According to Bitesize PR, there are several benefits to Public Relations.

Credibility. You want to be believable. You want to be trusted. Consumers are becoming less trusting and more skeptical about businesses. Advertising’s job is to sell. PR usually comes from free sources which lends to your credibility. A consumer is more apt to buy something that someone else gave an unsolicited 5 Star Review than something that is heavily advertised to be the greatest thing ever.

Target Market. We hear all the time in advertising and marketing that you need to know your audience. This is crucial with PR. Your PR plan can work with the right media sources to present your business and your products in front of the right people at the right time. If you are trying to launch a new financial product, buying advertising in a sports magazine may not be the best bet; however, having someone make an insightful statement about the benefits of your product during an economics or financial segment will earn you some attention.

Leads. Most small business owners do not have the time to canvass the neighborhood looking for consumers or calling people to spread the news about a new product. PR can help you gather some quick leads in a short period of time. A blurb about your new promotion shows up during the 6:00 news with information to call you, email you, visit your website, etc. People will remember that and jump on it. Even better if the media outlet also has a link on their website or social media feed. People can click and share. You get the leads.

Image. PR takes your business and puts it front and center for everyone to look at and admire. You do want to be seen and liked, right? A good PR program will create an image of your company and present it to the public. If your image is interesting and engaging, consumers will check you out. That’s a good thing.

Contact us today and we can help you enjoy the benefits of a good PR plan. Ask about our special offer to help you customize your PR plan.

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Using DISC in the Sales Process

Personality assessments have become an increasingly important tool in businesses. In the past, such assessments were usually introduced in an academic setting or after someone has already begun their jobs as a training tool or an ice-breaker of sorts. More and more companies are using them as a screening device prior to hiring as well.

In sales, you will interact with a wide variety of personalities and unique individuals. Having a skill set to manage these personalities effectively becomes crucial because cookie cutter sales people are a thing of the past. If you want to succeed as a sales manager, you cannot expect your sales team to do and think as you do. You have to develop techniques that help you manage them based on their traits and habits.

DISC can help with that. One of the most used assessment tools, it is a fun and interesting way to learn more about your team and yourself. It also provides useful information as to how to interact, communicate and manage people based on their DISC styles.

What exactly is DISC? DISC Insights provides an overview. A DISC Profile uses a method for understanding behavior, temperament, and personality and provides a detailed overview of the way that people think, act, and interact. The assessment evaluates traits based on dominance, influence, steadiness, and conscientiousness.

DISC-Personality-Breakdown

Within each of us, these 4 items exist in some degree, some more than others.   Each characteristic lends to our ability to be active and outgoing, people oriented, task oriented, or passive and reserved. Most people are dominant in one style; however, it is not unusual to have people overlap in styles. This is usually attributed to growth and personal and professional development over time. For example, a person may take the assessment and be more task-oriented and a bit passive. Then, they become involved in a career like sales, education, management, etc. that requires them to become more outgoing and more people oriented. In business, we are often required to be chameleons.

By knowing a person’s style, a sales team leader or manager can identify best practices for coaching the sales team in the areas of communication, leadership, conflict resolution, goal setting, motivation, teamwork, critical thinking and decision making.

Even further, your sales team then can use what they learn from the assessment to help in the field. Now, they won’t be able to assess their customers to determine their styles. They will, however, be able to get a feel for how the person is presenting themselves and be able to adapt. We’ve all had the customer who was “all about business” who didn’t respond well to the overly friendly and talkative salesperson. The analytical customer wants facts and information to make their decision not a lot of talk and traditional sales technique. In fact, an analytical customer tends to lose trust and feel like they are being manipulated by the overly friendly and “Hey, this is the most wonderful thing for you” type sales person. By being aware of the characteristics of these styles, a sales person will be able to take a step back and say, “Oh, wait, they are not responding well to me. Let me regroup.” Being adaptable leads to more sales and more success in the field.

If you are unfamiliar with administering and interpreting personality assessments such as DISC, we can help. Our sales coaching program guarantees success for you and your sales team. We can help you develop an assessment strategy and then use what you learn to guide your sales team to success.

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Improving Ramp Up Time for Sales Reps

Business Presentation

The success of a business may rely on how quickly sales team members are fully trained and ready to do their job. Even the most experienced sales person will have some sort of learning curve or acclimation period when he/she joins a new company.

A lot of businesses hire new sales representatives with the thought in mind that it’s going to take at least 6 months to get them up to speed. What if your company doesn’t have that kind of time and needs a sales force that is ready to go much quicker?

Amanda Wilson of Qvidian offers suggestions as to how to ramp up the sales force a little quicker. In a 2014 article she stated that twenty-nine percent of companies expect to expand their sales organizations between 10%-30% in the coming year, with over 6% expecting to grow over 30%.

With anticipated growth in sales organizations, onboarding and ramping new sales staff as quickly as possible becomes paramount to sales leaders.

Leaving traditional training programs behind, creative and innovative sales leaders are looking to other approaches to get the sales force ready sooner.

Streamlining – Sales leaders are scrutinizing their systems, techniques and materials that have been used for training to see what they can pull together into one place or one strategy. Can the sales reps access all of their materials in one place? Do they have a designated “go-to” for finding the data they need? The quicker a sales rep can become familiar with where to find things and who to contact for information, the quicker they can be generating leads and sales.

Best Practices – Newer sales reps may bring fresh ideas and/or try to bring techniques that worked at other companies with them to their new job. While initiative is often appreciated by a sales leader, it’s also important for the new sales reps to understand what the company’s best practices are for getting sales and keeping customers happy. Sales leaders will need to run through all of the acceptable and non-acceptable practices of the business so that sales reps are armed with the best way to handle certain situations.

Information Push – Communication is key to any business’s success and even more so when it comes to sales. Sales Reps who have to dig for information or ask around about what is going on is going to set the business and the sales rep back. A good sales leader will give the sales rep the tools he/she needs to be successful and information is worth its weight in gold. Lee Salz advises that companies need to identify all of the things a sales person needs to know and write it down. All of it. Then, once you have the list of things, categorize it based on when the rep needs to know it and if they already know it.   By giving the sales rep the information they need in an organized and timely fashion, there is less confusion and less of a chance of a delay because they don’t know what they don’t know and seek answers from people who may or may not give the correct information.

Einstein Marketing Group can help you formulate a plan to get your sales reps informed, trained and ready to go quicker. Let our Sales Coaching program help you and your business.