Tired of advertising and marketing that creates work, cost and NO results?
The Cranberry Country Chamber of Commerce and Rockland Trust are sponsoring a workshop that outlines, step by step, how to create an on-going public relations (PR) campaign that generates a steady, predictable stream of new customers. Set for Tuesday, October, 21, 8 a.m. – 9 a.m., the Direct Public Relations – Show Me the Money workshop will be led by Steven V. Dubin, founder of Plymouth, MA-based PR Works and veteran journalists and marketer.
The seminar is free and will be held at Massasoit Community College’s Middleboro campus located at 49 Union Street, Middleboro Center, 02346. Seating is limited and reservations can be made at www.CranberryCountry.org, or by calling the Chamber at (508) 947-1499.
Dubin is a contributing author to “Get Slightly Famous”, a book about becoming a celebrity in your field and attracting more business with less effort and “Tricks of the Trade”, the complete guide to succeeding in the advice business.
The workshop outlines how PR is the most cost effective marketing tool available to small to mid-market businesses. But what are the strategies and tactics to maximize PR? If you are a solopreneur or a mid-sized company, you HAVE to make your budget work extra hard. How do your harness that power?
This workshop will give participants the keys to unlock FREE media coverage from both regional and trade/niche press; leverage LinkedIn discussion groups to motivate targeted, massive audiences; create Constant Contact E-newsletters that entice prospects to “take the next step”; fully use newly revitalized Facebook advertising platform to flush out new business; blog to boost search engine optimization (SEO) and drive the right traffic to your website; and wake up your website to turn visitors into customers.
PR Works has coined the phrase “Direct Public Relations”. Previously seen as largely an unquantifiable “image” tool, PR Works has launched a new approach to PR that emphasizes direct response. What are the techniques in making eliciting a response from PR? What are examples of this approach? How do you measure results?
PR Works was founded 24 years ago as a traditional public relations firm and has since evolved into a full slate of PR and marketing services to help small to mid-sized companies maintain visibility and expand sales. The company provides a wide expanse of public relations services, including strategic PR planning, social media strategy involving LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, web development, e-newsletters, video and sales collateral development.
As mentioned in a previous PR Pointer, PR Works Account Manager Joe D’Eramo is riding in the Pan Mass Challenge. To date, he’s raised more than $2,000 towards his ride to raise money for the Jimmy Fund/Dana Farber (his goal is $3,800, you can ask him why).
While there are many ways to raise money for causes, the formula Joe is using can be easily duplicated for your fundraiser, even to market your business.
“What sells for fundraising is what sells for businesses–stories,” said Joe. “Everybody knows somebody with cancer, which is what the Pan Mass Challenge is raising money for. So it really is just a matter of telling those stories that people can relate to and sharing them using several different tools.”
On a weekly basis, Joe drafts a 300-500 word blog telling a personal story regarding the ride or a cancer survivor he knows. That story is then shared via:
- Blog on Plymouth Patch
- Personal blog
- LinkedIn Discussion groups
- Constant Contact e-mail to business and personal friends, family and acquaintances
- E-mail signature (with link and image)
These efforts are supplemented by Joe’s networking efforts with My Pinnacle Network (he runs the MPN groups in Westborough, Plymouth and Bourne), attending networking events and word-of-mouth (mentioning to family and friends). He also posts updates to Facebook and Twitter on fundraising milestones and training rides (each ride is dedicated to someone who has or has succumbed to cancer).
In addition to the weekly ritual, Joe has made a special offer to PR Works clients in the area. Donate $100 or more and he will visit your company in full cycling attire to take a photo of the check presentation. That photo can then be used for promotional purposes, social media content, etc.
So, what’s been the most successful of these tools?
“By far the weekly e-mail. Some might think that’s excessive but it’s necessary,” said Joe. “People have the best intentions when it comes to giving but most of us have so many things going on that we lose track. A weekly e-mail reminds those folks who want to give.”
Adds Joe, “Not so coincidentally, the e-newsletter is also one of the most effective tools we use in marketing clients. While clients would like to see a direct lead/response from their e-mail newsletter, there is tremendous value in prospects and clients hearing from you on a regular basis.”
If you would like to make a donation to Joe’s Pan Mass Challenge ride, you can visit his page by clicking here.For information how these techniques and tools can be implemented into your PR and marketing, please call 781-582-1061 or drop us a line.
So, a disgruntled customer/client takes their aggravation out on your company in an online forum. Justified or not, that requires action. You counter by encouraging customers and clients who have benefitted from your products or services to post positive reviews to the same forum. Several do but nowhere do you see those posts, just that glaring negative one. What gives?
That’s a scenario several business owners have reported lately. Seems that there’s one online directory (it rhymes with the word help) that objects to positive comments in response to a negative one if those commenters have not posted before. While it’s difficult to understand this online directory’s policy, it leaves the business owner without a very important tool in defusing a toxic online comment. That’s why your online reputation strategy should always have a PR component.
Typically, we advise clients who have been victimized by a negative comment to issue a series of press releases with positive news about their company. Part of the distribution of said news release involves posting to online newsrooms, which spider quite nicely in Google. This may or may not knock the negative comment off the front page of a Google search. It will, however, will give that negative comment plenty of company–company that carries some third-party credibility.
Does this tactic prevent the bad comment from discouraging new business or prospects? It’s difficult to say the bad comment will have zero effect. Yet most consumers savvy enough to research reviews will go to more than one site for information. Chances are multiple positive news stories will be enough to trump one bad review and enhance your online reputation in the process.
When business owners say “it’s been a little hairy lately”, typically that’s a reference to workload or the frenetic pace of taking care of business. Things were a little hairy, but it had nothing to do with business as PR Works Principal Steve Dubin and Account Manager Joe D’Eramo grew mustaches and raise money as part of Movember, an international fundraiser for prostate cancer awareness. The duo raised $910 for the cause.
Movember involves men growing a “mo” or mustache during the month of November as a rallying point for raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer health and other men’s cancer-related issues via Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG. In addition to collecting funds, we also spread the word about this worthy cause by posting regular updates on our blog and Facebook pages.
According to the Movember website:
- One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
- A man is diagnosed with prostate cancer every 2.2 minutes.
- One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
- 24 percent of men are less likely to go the doctor compared to women.
In 2010, Movember generated $80.7 million globally, $38.4 million in the US. Eighty three percent of the funds were allocated to programs supporting prostate cancer and other cancers affecting men. Seventy percent of that went to Movember’s men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation (35%) and LIVESTRONG (35%) and 13% funded Movember’s awareness and education program.
“It’s been a fun fundraiser and besides increasing my awareness of prostate cancer and other male-related cancers, it increased my awareness of the number of friends and colleagues who have had prostate cancer and beat it,” said D’Eramo.
There’s still time to donate to Movember. You can find out more about the type of work you’d be helping to fund by visiting the Movember website: http://us.movember.com/about. Movember is a registered 501 (c)(3) charity; donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
For a final look at the mustache efforts of PR Works, you can visit www.facebook.com/PRWorkZone.
We live in a day and age when what celebrities and athletes post or tweet grabs more attention than what they do in their respective industries. But if you’re a regular joe like a small business owner, how do social media sites affect what it is you do? More importantly, how do they impact your bottom line? A survey issued to attendees at the recent South Shore Ad Club business expo revealed that local small businesses are just beginning to embrace social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
“The small business owner has a different challenge when it comes to social media than celebrities like Chad Ochocinco or Kim Kardashian,” said Steve Dubin, owner of PR Works and former president of the South Shore Ad Club. “For small business owners, they realize social media is a force that needs to be part of their marketing arsenal. The question is how much.”
People who took the survey were asked five questions. There were 64 total respondents and the results of their responses are as follows:
- 84% were small business owners.
- 47% regularly post/update their business’ Facebook or Twitter.
- 6% contract a third-party to post or Tweet on their behalf.
- 17% noticed an increase in sales since using social media.
- 39% look for deals, respond to offers, ‘fan’ or follow their favorite companies using their personal Facebook or Twitter account.
“Granted, it is a fairly small sampling but it’s safe to say small business owners who use social media on a personal basis are more likely to use it for their business,” said Dubin.
Adds Dubin, “That only 17 percent have noticed an increase in sales and a mere 6 percent hired a third-party to handle their social media is also telling. Does that mean small business owners are not yet convinced of the power of social media? Or is it because they are handling it in-house and not letting experts conduct their social media that they are not having more success with it?”
Based in Kingston, Massachusetts, PR Works does offer a social media package as part of its Small Business Survival plan. Small business owners can find out more by visiting www.prworkzone.com or calling 781-582-1061.
PR Works offering The Works
For 20 years, PR Works has been providing a wide expanse of public relations services including strategic PR planning, news releases, feature story development, media placement, media coaching, newsletters, case studies, grand opening management, product and service launch management, press tours, and press conference management. In addition to public relations, PR Works provides complete marketing services such as brochure development, advertising campaigns, direct mail, and telemarketing.
For more information, you can visit our new website at http://www.prworkzone.com or become a fan of PR Works at http://www.Facebook.com/PRWorkzone. For FREE brochures entitled “How to Talk to the Press”, “Making Newsletters Noteworthy”, and “Seminars Lead to Motivated Prospects”, please contact Steve Dubin at (781) 582-1061, email@example.com, 51 Lot Phillips Road, Kingston, MA.
The first question we are often asked? What SHOULD I be spending on advertising and marketing?
The truth is marketing budgets vary by industry and business size.
Your budget is also based on how much you want to grow, and how fast. And don’t get caught thinking you are saving money by having a stingy marketing budget. You could also WALK to work to save on gas, but that may not be the most efficient approach.
Both the Counselors to America’s Small Business (SCORE) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) define a proper marketing budget to be between 2% and 10% of gross sales, noting that B2C (business to consumer) retail and pharmaceuticals can exceed 20% during peak brand-building years.
As for size and spending, companies less than $5 million typically allocate 7-8%, less than $10 million firms budget 6-7%, less than 100 million ventures spend 5-6%, $100-300 million behemoths come in at 3-5% and more than $300 million monsters set aside 3-4% for marketing.
This budget covers the full range of marketing tools – from sales materials to online presence to social media to mass advertising to public relations.
Sure you try to grow by “word of mouth”. Direct referrals from customers and friends are “gold”, but you risk losing revenue from business you did not get because a large percentage of very targeted prospects have never heard of you.
Marketing is a critical ingredient – as are human resources, finance and operations. It is an on-going effort to remain relevant, top of mind and entice new customers.
Having too small of an advertising budget is like planting a seed, but not giving it water or light.
Budget 45 minutes for a marketing audit and we’ll provide you with both a marketing budget and a comprehensive marketing outline to grow your business.
Editors and reporters are looking for subjects that entertain, educate and entice their audience. These media gatekeepers are NOT drawn to self-promotion, self-aggrandizement or self-indulgence.
So, how do you “package” news that will be acceptable to the gatekeeper? First, add a human element. How does your story impact upon people. The more the better. An Ice Cream Scooper Bowl that raises money for a good charity and feeds thousands is of more interest to the press than an isolated incident or promotion.
Second, make the reader part of the story. When is the Scooper Bowl and what is the best time to avoid big lines? How can the reader contribute to the good cause even if he can’t make it to the event?
Third, bring the story close to home. What is the hometown of the Scooper Bowl sponsor? What local little league will be helping out as the scooper duper helpers? What business and community leaders will act as “celebrity” scoopers.
Fourth, say something memorable. “This Scooper Bowl will help lick this tragic problem,” you might suggest. Or, “This Sunday your ice cream sundae will help whip this difficult condition.” Offer pithy quotes and the press will come back for more — not only for this story, but future opportunities as well.
Fifth, be unusual. The Scooper Bowl, if faced with rival events, could feature only homemade ice cream and farm fresh toppings. Or perhaps the ice cream is served in miniature trophy cups.
Now you can scream about your proverbial ice cream. Enjoy the works.
The new “normal” is higher cost for fuel, health insurance and supplies and less revenue due to a snail’s pace economy. Business owners are already wearing too many hats. What can they do keep their head above water?
Business owners often have good marketing ideas, they just don’t know how to prioritize them or have the capable hands to get things done. In recognition of the critical economic situation and the ever expanding complexity of marketing choices, PR Works, a full service public relations and advertising company based in Kingston, MA, is introducing a Small Business Survival Package to help solve the marketing riddle.
Small Business Survival Package addresses the critical public relations and marketing efforts that should occur on a monthly basis. The service includes:-
- Free PR/Marketing audit to review current activities and new opportunities.
- Organize database of customers – especially email and snail mail.
- Develop campaign to harvest customer/visitor email and snail mail.
- Constant Contact (E-newsletter) – Review options. Set up account.
- Facebook – Review options. Set up account.
- Twitter – Review options. Set up account.
- Texting campaign – Review options. Set up account.
- Update and refresh website copy. Add short video intros, newsroom, E-newsletter opt-in box.
- Blog – Arrange for addition to website.
- Monthly news release – Also repurpose for blog, e-newsletter, Twitter, Facebook.
- Includes 5 hours of consultation per month.
“Small businesses are hurting and need to find new customers and expand sales to existing customers,” said Steve Dubin founder and president of PR Works. He added, “Persuasive, compelling advertising and marketing is even more critical in tough times. The challenge has gotten more difficult. There are even more complex choices and fewer dollars to go around. Although there is no silver bullet, a consistent message delivered to a consistent, targeted audience on a consistent basis will yield strong, positive results.
Prudent choices must be made and implemented.”
PR Works offering The Works
For 20 years, PR Works has been providing a wide expanse of public relations and advertising services including strategic PR planning, news releases, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, newsletters, E-newsletters, website makeovers, case studies, grand opening management, product and service launch management, brochure/collateral materials, advertising campaigns, direct mail, and telemarketing.
For more information, visit the PR Works website at www.prworkzone.com or become a fan of PR Works at http://www.Facebook.com/PRWorkzone. For FREE brochures entitled “Making E-Newsletters Effective”, “Social Media Myths Removed”, and “Video to Web is a Blockbuster”, please contact Steve Dubin at
(781) 582-1061, firstname.lastname@example.org, 51 Lot Phillips Road, Kingston, MA.