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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.

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Excuses Sales Managers Buy

Businessman Making Excuses

Making Excuses

 

Although we’re a month into the New Year, a lot of sales managers are still reviewing results from last year and setting goals for the New Year. As they reflect on what worked and didn’t work so well last year, one area that will undoubtedly come under scrutiny is the sales team.

According to bizjournals.com writer Colleen Stanley, there are three excuses that the sales team gives for less than stellar performance.

Time – Sales team members often complain about a lack of time to search out new leads. They cite managing current clients and/or handling unexpected issues. If these are true conditions within a business, then the sales manager may need to revamp the sales model and team structure to identify if there is a need for specialized roles to handle leads, client relations, and account management.

If time management is the real reason why the sales team is unable to multi-task, then some coaching may be needed. A good time study and calendar review during the coaching session may identify missed opportunities or poor use of time.

Leads – Sales and marketing both have input when it comes to leads. Sales may say that they are not getting enough “good” or qualified leads; however, the marketing team will insist that they generated plenty of valuable leads and that the sales team just didn’t know how to close the deal.

Ms. Stanley suggests that instead of getting caught in the middle of this debate, involve the marketing team in sales and involve sales in marketing. Invite someone from marketing to shadow a sales call to get a better understanding. Encourage the sales team to provide suggestions and ideas to marketing.

Price – Sales team members may state that the cost of a product or service is not allowing them to find customers. The sales manager may adjust the pricing and yet the customers are still not buying. It becomes a question of maybe it’s the product or the sales person and not the price.

A solution for this is to identify common themes among those who do buy the product or service and find out why and then apply that reasoning to get new customers. Perhaps you offer a unique customer service experience that is priceless to the buyer. Market that. Sell that. The sales team will be able to use features over price to sell the product or service and then this excuse can be eliminated.

Sales Managers should strive to get out of the business of buying the excuses the sales team is selling them. There’s a saying that when someone wants to do something, they will find a way and when they don’t, they’ll find an excuse.

During sales coaching sessions, the Sales Managers will need to make sure that they listen to what their sales team is saying and then make sure that they make it clear that they want to be focused on end results and not the excuses.

Einstein Marketing Group can help you begin the conversation about managing your sales team for maximum results. Contact us today!

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Using Your Newsletter to Generate Leads

The visit counter on your website indicates that people are coming to your site; however, the number of clients and new customers are not increasing.

How do you get those people who stop by your site to become a consumer base for your business to tap into for future clients?

Your newsletter.

Since the invention of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites, the newsletter is often overlooked as a tool for generating leads. Those avenues are not to be overlooked or ignored, but the newsletter is still a valuable source of information about your company, your products, your goals and your mission. It is an incredible tool for gathering names, email addresses and other contact information as well.

How many times have you read a newsletter and then entered your email address into the “Subscribe” box? You were someone’s lead. It’s that simple. It can be that simple for you as well.

Subscribe

Writing a newsletter may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. That’s where Einstein Marketing Group can help you.

We can write the newsletter for you, upload it to your site on your schedule and then perform the behind the scenes maintenance such as:

  • Tracking opens, views, opt-outs and bounces
  • Make follow up calls after each e-newsletter is sent
  • Include a coupon

Contact Einstein Marketing Group today to start tapping into a new pool of potential customers.

 

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Are Social Media Lawsuits Going to Catch Fire?

The first Twitter defamation case ever to make it to trial is about to get underway, and many social media strategists are wondering how the outcome will impact the future of our industry.

While many similar libel cases have been filed, none have gone to trial…yet. But singer Courtney Love will become the first person to battle a Twitter defamation lawsuit in a court.

The lawsuit stems from an incident that occurred nearly four years ago, in which Love accused her former attorney of bribery via a tweet. In less than 140 characters, she tweeted the attorney’s full name and used language to suggest that he had been bribed to not represent her for a case. The tweet has since been deleted, but she’s still going to have to answer for it in front of a judge and jury.

Part of Love’s defense is that the tweet was only an opinion, and therefore should not be considered to be reputation damaging or slanderous by the definition of the law.

It will be interesting to see how this case unfolds for several reasons. Will the number of Love’s followers affect the decision of how slanderous a Tweet really can be? How will the courts rule if a person is considered Public or Private? What types of tweets will constitute defamation in the context of the law? How will the courts determine damages in cases where they find defamation has occurred?

Businesses and users of social media alike should watch this case closely to see how it affects the way in which we share our opinions on the web.

For this and more information about social media management, please contact Einstein Marketing Group today!

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Marketing on Pinterest

What started off as a social media site for sharing ideas in the form of pictures has now become a must-have marketing tool for businesses. Pinterest is now the single fastest-growing social network and boasts over 70 million users.

 

You should know that a 2012 study by Bizrate Insights found the site is now more effective at driving sales than the world’s largest social network, Facebook. How much more effective? Well, a jewelry company named Bottica found users visiting their site from Pinterest spent an average of $180, as compared to visitors from Facebook spent an average of only $85.

Pinterest

Here’s what you also need to know about using the site as a marketing tool: 

Image is everything.

Even if your business is more service than product-based, you still need to create interesting visuals that will generate traffic and increase brand awareness.

 

So, what are images you can use that will help you create interesting pins and generate interest in your company?

 

First, look at your logos. If your company offers coaching or email marketing, you should have a colorful logo attached to that service.

 

Secondly, think about turning what you do into an infographic. Email marketing provider Constant Contact has a pinboard dedicated solely to infographics.  These types of images are extremely popular on Pinterest. The more useful and interesting, the more likely to get “liked” and “repinned.”

 

Other ideas for pin-able content include: humorous cartoons illustrating something about your industry, photos linked to blog posts, graphs showing market research, inspirational quotes, or funny memes.

 

Check out some of the images we’ve used to pin our own blog posts here.

 

Adding a pin description and link description is also a critical marketing component on the site. Pinterest works with searchable hashtags and keywords, so label accordingly.

 

So, take advantage of the powerhouse that is Pinterest by creating multiple boards of visually pleasing pins that will extend the reach of your company today. The site also offers page analytics for businesses to help you determine which content is driving the most traffic to your site. Experiment with different ideas, and then figure out which content is working the best.

 

For this and more information about marketing your business on Pinterest, please contact the experts at Einstein Marketing Group today!