One of my clients has decided to focus his marketing budget into fewer channels in order to get a larger response from this concentrated spend. So he asked me “Why should I continue to use my Public Relations agency? Why should I invest in PR next year?"
Well, I see PR as a cost-effective way to place your name in your chosen media and get them to advertise your business. On the back of a good business story, if you can also get editorials written about you, the power and authority of the newspaper, radio station or TV channel will influence and sway your market more cheaply than a paid-for full-page spread or 1 minute ad.
Be visible to prospects and your existing customers
Prospective customers need a positive perception of you and your products and services before you can sell to them - if they do not believe your benefits proposition, they will not buy. When they hear or read about a third party speaking well of your business activities, they are encouraged to believe in you.
Existing customers are always interested to see you involved in local or national affairs. When they see you raising money for a Disaster Appeal, picking litter off the beach, or running a marathon for breast cancer, they connect you with a positive caring and helping image, re-inforcing their belief that they made the right decision to buy from you.
Re-introduce yourself to lapsed and forgotten customers
Lapsed customers also need to be reminded how they used to enjoy buying from your business. Seeing you open a new office or launch an innovative service reminds them of the good service you gave them a while ago, and the quality of the products they used to buy from you. Following up your PR by re-contacting previous customers can be a mine of easy business.
Give your employees and work contacts something to talk about
Your suppliers and employees also benefit from an interesting news coverage: they can say to their friends and relatives ‘I work for them’. An interesting story can ripple out through their pubs, gyms or social clubs, giving you a viral word-of-mouth referral to many new customers. Your work team will also gain morale from being associated with a newsworthy business, so their sales technique will be more effective.
Focus your efforts on getting the message out
As with all marketing, you need to plan the response you expect from your investment and then measure your actual response.
If you focus how you place your PR, you will find that quality is more important than quantity - news editors are swamped with mundane stories so they select for the most interesting news material.
Using a results-driven PR agency means that your fresh ideas can be projected in an interesting format to build the idea that your business is fresh and interesting too.
And you do not need to manufacture stories about your company because there are probably lots available for you. All you have to do is to tap your staff for the positive stories that they would love to tell.
Adrian Pepper specialises in helping small business to sharpen their marketing, increase their sales and grow their income. You can contact him through his website at http://www.help4you.ltd.uk or by phone +44-7773-380133. At http://feeds.feedburner.com/help4you , you can listen to his podcast for small businesses.