This article originally appears in a regional business journal in June of 2010, and though some of it is somewhat dated, a lot of it still holds true… enjoy!
PR on the Cheap – with Professional Results, an Attainable Goal!
As a marketing professional, I spend a lot of time analyzing the way clients have spent their money in the past, and how best to maximize every cent in the future. One of the prime resources clients have is their innate ability to sell their product or service, yet remarkably few understand how to do this well.
Integrated public relations tactics are your least expensive and most advantageous method of “getting the word out”. You don’t have to spend a penny to get your business exposure, but you have to put forth the effort. Here are some examples of successful, free means of increasing your client base without the help of a professional:
Your reputation precedes you. Remember that your customers can either love you or loathe you. If they love you, encourage them to spread the word, and maybe even offer a referral gift if you make a sale. Everyone likes to be appreciated.
Press the media for coverage. Both new businesses and established alike miss valuable exposure opportunities daily. If you have something going on, make sure the media knows about it. The tricky part: don’t saturate. The local paper doesn’t want to know about your daily sandwich special (for the business page, anyway) but they would love to know about your fundraiser, donating $1 from each purchase to Juvenile Diabetes research. Here is a great blog post about press release writing, if you can use some pointers.
Socializing pays. This is a two-part tip.
First, networking is your friend. If you aren’t a member of any organizations like the Chamber, you can still get their calendars and attend events at a higher rate. Get out there and make your business personal to people. Meet and mingle so you are the first person they think of when they need your particular good or service.
Second, the web offers vast opportunities to both pique your current clients into a sale, but also to acquaint yourself with new customers. Join social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and keep your clients abreast of your offers. Then ask them to spread the word a la “your reputation precedes you.” It’s fast, efficient and requires no printing charges on your part!
As our economy begins its steady climb back to normalcy, remember that even when you can afford help, you should always have an understanding and awareness of your marketing and your brand. No one sells your business like you; no one knows it better or cares for it more. Take a vested interest in how your company is presented and how you connect with your clients.