How to use publicity to increase sales

The first thing you probably thought I was going to say was creating a series of articles, or press releases, right? Wrong.

The most profitable way to increase sales is to develop an in-house publicity programemail marketing designed for your current clients/customers. Most publicity professionals will have these in-house programs for their pr clients. Sounds simple, but this is one of the most overlooked areas of publicity. Think about it. Just because you have a customer base, or just sold that new account, doesn’t mean they will continue buying your service or products. Many other competitors are constantly after your customers. The best way to retain and grow your sales is with your existing customers. This should be part of your company’s pr marketing strategy. Whether you are a local orange county publicity company, or a national hardware store, this is something all companies should practice.

Here are a few tips:

• Develop a follow up program. When a customer purchases a service or product, be sure to contact them within a week after the purchase to see if everything is ok. You may find that this can be very rewarding. You might find that the delivery was delayed, or the product was not working properly or had some problems when arrived. When you follow up the customer feels that they are important and will be confident in purchasing more from your company.

• Thank you note. Again, this is not brain surgery, but how often do you receive any thank you notes from a company that you made a purchase? If you did, you probably would consider them more often than their competitor. Thank you notes, or thank you emails are very powerful publicity  gestures.

• Send a gift that relates to their industry. Depending on the purchases, one example would be a book. There are dozens of books on all business situations. Consider something that deals with communication, leadership or customer service. Or a bio on a leader in their industry. Make sure you include a short note with the gift telling them “thank you” for purchasing your product/service.

• eNewsletters. I have written about this several times on how a company newsletter is a sure way to keep your name in front of existing customers. It is good practice to mention these good customers in your newsletter, but make sure they are willing to be recognized as doing business with your company. Some customers prefer to not have others know whom they do business with.

If you company needs an in-house publicity program, call George Carson at Carson Marketing, 949-477-9400. He will show you how to retain and increase sales with a publicity program.

Is your social network campaign working for you?

A good pr marketing strategy is to keep current and use new technology when it is hot. Just like online social networking. But are you using it? If so, are your pr marketing strategies in place? Do you use banner ads, or is it a place you visit once in a while?

If your pr marketing campaign consists of only placing banner ads on these social networks, then it’ssocial media networks time to re-think your pr marketing strategy. I have written several articles about using this hot media, to help pr clients. For example, banner ads on social networks only benefit the media, such asMySpace, or Linked-In, or even Facebook. Unless you have a very generic product or service, your wasting money. The first rule in marketing is to understand and know your audience.

A recent article in iMedia Connection by Michael Estrin speaks about this. I share a lot of his views about using social media web sites. This can be a productive media source when understood and planned correctly. One example in Mr. Estrin’s article is how Visa worked with Facebook, not using banners, but for downloading an application. The deal was worth $2 million to Facebook. This is one way to gain maximum exposure and get your customer to react to your product/service.

In last week’s newspaper, an article about Linked-In told how the company grew rapidly with advertisers (banners, etc). This is great for the company and it’s founder, Reid Hoffman, who is making money, but are the advertisers? Again, this is fine for the few major companies. It is best to target your audience, and get them involved. That’s the way to establish a strong branding image for pr clients. All professional publicity companies know the power of marketing and connecting to your audience. But are these professional publicity people really using the media or are the media buyers at the ad agencies just rushing in on this trend? I feel most ad agencies and many publicity professionals do not understand the social network market.

If you are a pr client or publicity professional, don’t just launch into this media, be sure that you, guide clients by learning how to utilize social network to the max.

Do You Have A Blogger On Staff?

More and more major corporations are hiring staff bloggers, now being titled Chief Bloggers. This is proof that blogging is making a serious impact on corporations as well as small to mid-size companies.

No longer considered a trend but now part of the business daily activity, business blogging is a mainstay for pr clients as well as any company that has a pr marketing strategy. Publicity professionals have seen the positive results that blogging has and are finally asking pr clients to add daily business blogging to their pr marketing campaign. Several high profile corporations see the need to blog. A few of these corporations are Coca-Cola, Kodak, and Marriott to mention a few. According to a recent article in Advertising Age, over 11% of the Fortune 500 companies have corporate blogs. Smart publicity professionals know how critical a publicity campaign with blogging can have on a company’s branded image. It is now more important than before to get the word out and the best way to do this is having your own business blog site.

More aggressive business blogs are from Kodak. An article in Blog Herald, dated April 3, 2008, describes that Kodak has two business blog sites and hired chief bloggers to maintain them. Blogging should be part of your pr client’s business tools. No longer can it be taken as a part-time or as a pass-time project. Just ask CEO-President Jonathan Schwartz on Sun Microsystems. He has helped direct the company and improved the image with his business blogging. This doesn’t mean that the CEO, or owner needs to do the blogging. But many of the top executives direct their chief bloggers on the topics or give approval before a blog is posted. This may seem staged in some ways, but as I said before, it is a pr marketing strategy that is making a strong impact on business. Make sure your pr client, or company is using their blog site to keep that branded name in front of customers.

Useful Web Sites

If you are like a lot of media research people, or a publicity professional who is always trying to find useful web sites for your pr marketing strategy project, I have something of great value. First, realize the Internet is pack full of information that makes it difficult to find what you are looking for. Google has done an excellent job in allowing more than keywords, butlooking for web sites allows you to use key phrases for a finer method of narrowing your search. Ever feel lost in the Internet? Im sure you have.

Publicity professionals, pr clients and all advertising companies use the web to gather information for creating marketing plans, or developing a pr marketing strategy. Knowing where to start can be a great help. But how do you do that? Is there a place that actually has grouped, or categorized sites for all us web surfers to find “stuff”?. The answer is yes. Ok, your saying, get to the point…here is a useful web site that has a good listing of subjects: PINAKES, A Subject Launchpad. The site has an array of topics to find most anything from Music, to high tech to arts and humanities to biotech and many more categories.

It may not be the super list of all lists, but as I said, you need a place to start and this is just one of the many useful sites that can get you pointed in the right direction. So the next time your pr client, or publicity professional has a research project, or you need more information to make that next presentation, check out PINAKES.

If you are really ambitious and want to dig deeper for information on a specific topic, then consider sites like DMOZ, the Open Directory, or, or intute. Each has resources that will get you surfing. But beware, this can get habit forming. You might just find yourself spending hours looking and not doing the research project your had started out to do. Put a time limit on your research, and bookmark sites that could be of value. Then go back and make notes on those sites that can help complete your project. For more information on web site listings, call Carson Marketing, Inc. Ask for George Carson.

What Advertising Marketing Strategies Are You Using?

Advertising agencies and publicity professionals use different advertising marketingPR Marketing Strategy strategies to promote a pr clients products or services. Do you know what marketing strategies are being developed for your company? If you are not sure, then use this information as a guide to get a better understanding of what marketing strategies are about.

First, if you Google the term “advertising marketing strategies“, you will see that Wikipedia defines it into three main areas. They are:

1-Weak Strategies

2-Middle Strength Strategies

3-Strong Strategies

I want to concentrate on the strong strategies in this blog. When you see an ad campaign, or even a publicity campaign, and you feel good about it. That’s what strong strategies are about. It gets to the inner feelings of someone. An example would be, in wikipedia, the Geico commercial. Although it does have the qualities of a strong marketing strategy, I do not feel it is the best example. Not everyone feels good about or relates favorably to that the little Geico character.

Think of yourself when buying something that you really liked, such as a new car, or when you booked that vacation to Hawaii. It made you feel good. And why did you buy that specific car, or plan that special location for your trip? It is because you felt good about it when you were first exposed to the campaign. It was the creative marketing, or pr marketing strategy, or the special publicity surrounding the product that started to give you these great feelings.

As the definition says, creative strategies promote great publicity campaigns and sales promotions. So now that you, as a pr client, or even a publicity professional, know what the advertising marketing strategies are, start using them to improve your campaign. It can only make it better.

Newsletter Writing For Business

It seems like everyone is writing something. Either in a blog, or a social media site, personal web sites, and of course business newsletters. Does this mean that companies, or businesses should not have a newsletter because there is too much to read? Simple answer-NO. Whether you are a pr client, a local publicity agency in Orange County, or a national food manufacturer, you need to have a company newsletter. Not just a newsletter, but one that your clients, customers, or prospects can read because it has value.

That is the keyword. Your business newsletter (sometimes referred to as a companywriting a newsletter newsletter) should become a must-read publication. Using the Internet, this is a cost effective and affordable way to promote your company. PR Clients as well as professional publicity people know that writing to their industry can be rewarding. Your newsletter needs to have rich content. Make the newsletter entertaining. Possibly consider having a questionnaire, or take a poll about a topic that relates to your industry. This gets clients and customers involved. And it is one of the best publicity programs that any pr client can produce in-house.

If you are a pr client, or a publicity professional and are not comfortable in writing newsletters, just Google the words “how to write a newsletter’ and see all the resources. One site in particular is called right-writing. You can start with any of these sites as a guide to get the process going for your company. Having a newsletter available for download is much easier than writing a blog everyday. It may not be as strong of a marketing tool for pr clients as a blog site, but it is better to have one rather than nothing.

For those publicity professionals who are creating pr marketing strategies for pr clients, then consider writing a monthly business newsletter for your pr clients. I also recommend that all clients begin with a business newsletter, and then develop a blog site. This can be an internal, or external site. Remember, if you are unable to produce your own in-house publicity newsletter campaign, then give us a call. We will get you noticed.

Are Media Buyers Spending More On Internet?

With all the hype and interest of the Internet, you would think it has the lion share of media dollars. Instead it seems that pr clients, media buyers, and pr marketing strategies are still embracing old habits of media—broadcast (TV and radio).

It surprised me a little since I see a lot of pr clients, as well as ad agencies placing millions of dollars into the Internet with ads, keywords, social media money, etc. But I think you need to evaluate what is really happening. First, we are in an election year. And actually last year had many legislative issues that the people voted on which fuels the media in the strongest markets through TV and radio. That could be why these past 18 months have shown a surge in traditional broadcast media buying. There is a great article in iMedia Connection that has a graph and explains further, by the author, his viewpoint on this topic. The title of his article is “Get more relevant with niche media

If you are seeking different ways to grow your business, then maybe this is the time to get noticed. Start developing a social network, a company blog site, or begin using your web site to attract more customers. When one segment of an industry such as TV or radio are scarce with ads of your competitors, then switch back. But keep in mind that timing is everything. If you are a B2B company, or a retailer, or a manufacturer, then check to make sure you are not promoting, advertising your company in a down time. Such as Christmas, unless you are selling hi-tech stuff, or toys.

We are now entering a heavy media buying season for political campaign advertising, re-think where you spend your marketing and advertising dollars. I would recommend that you look into establishing an online campaign. These are much less costly than a TV campaign. And it will generate a lot of customers, as well as create a branding position for your company or products. PR Clients need to be more sensitive to this as do media buying agencies, media buyers and advertising agencies. This goes for publicity professionals as well. PR Agencies need to better understand how to use online publicity as a means to be visible for pr clients. While the broadcast media gets hammered with political campaigns, then immediately following is the holiday season, promotions now can be the best time to develop that needed online campaign.

Take advantage of the next six months by establishing your company to be positioned on the first page of all the major search engines. Even at the top, maybe the top three positions. And it is possible to do this without purchasing a lot of keywords. I can’t go into how to do that in this short blog, but I will be more than happy to explain how to do this effectively and get results. Just call me, George Carson, at 949-477-9400.

looking For A Good PR Angle?

Look inside the company for possible new articles

It is the job of the publicity professional to find that special slant, or angle to get an article visibility in the media. Without going into controversial issues, you can find lots of potential publicity articles by looking at your own company closer than normal.

Most of the media will accept these as possible articles, but it only takes one publisher to run the article to make this a successful campaign. It will also keep the company name visible to editors, writers and other media, so when you send other releases, you will be a familiar name to them.

There’s and article titled "What’s Your Backstory?" that hits my point home. For years I have tried to get clients to think outside of the publicity box. This isn’t always easy, because new ideas tend to scare pr clients into thinking, "who wants to read that?". But that isn’t always true. A publicity expert can transform a good story into an interesting article, without adding false or misleading information.

An example the article gave was for a doctor. Here is a short list of topics for a doctor:

  • What experience led the doctor to enter the medicine field?
  • What was or is the most difficult case ever faced
  • Humorous situations the doctor encountered
  • Try an angle on interns, the doctor mentored

I am sure you see how digging deeper into a company can uncover other publicity angles. When your publicity agency begins to develop the pr campaign, the best public relations service you can do is to provide something in the "backstory" or a human interest on a specific executive. Try it, you can only gain more exposure with the press by doing this.

See Also

Make Your Web Site Visitor Friendly

Some call it Microcontent

What good is having a strong publicity campaign if your web site is poorly designed, or difficult to navigate.

Even a good publicity professional can do only so much to generate traffic to a pr clients web site. It is then up to your business web site to make customers feel good about the product or service.

What makes your site better than your competitor’s?
Several things. It can be the graphics, the text, the images, and the ease of navigation, among other things.

For this lesson, I want to discuss the content of the site. One writer, Ann Wylie, has an article that explains the "Microcontent" of a web site. Basically she divides the topic into several sections:

  • What is Microcontent and what it includes

  • Why it is important

Ann gives some good advice on what to do, and not do when building the content. When you use these tips, it will be helpful to your existing customers, potential customers, and above all, the media will praise it. Editors and writers will find things easily. This will bring a positive view because the good content will be easily understood.

In the article, advice includes these areas that are needed for Microcontent, such as:

  • Page Titles
  • Navigation Bars
  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Highlighted Text
  • and many other sections

A good example of why illustrates when you do a “search, find and save” and it is now in your bookmark. Then when you want to go back a few days or weeks later, the bookmark reads “Welcome to XYZ Corporation”, or “Untitled Page”. I’m sure you experienced this and clicked several bookmarks before finding the site you were looking for. And if you are like me, you can’t find it quickly, and decide to do another search.

So think about making your site more pleasing to visitors. It is good publicity for you and your company.

See Also