As an Entrepreneur one of our primary concerns is to keep costs down and increase revenue. But to increase revenue does NOT mean we have to put all of our money into marketing our firm and hiring the best PR firm out there. Mark Cuban sums it up perfectly – “The first problem with hiring a PR firm is cost. Cash is always in short supply in startups. Given all the potential places that you need cash in a startup, is the company better served having that cash available to potentially keep the company alive another day, week or month ? Or hiring a PR person ? I would rather have the cash.”
Therefore, as you build your business plan, the focus should be on how best to sell your product or service without breaking the bank you currently have. Marketing your firm in the most effective and efficient way possible is one key ingredient to succeeding in your business. Whether your forte is in marketing or not, you are frankly, the best person for the job because you are the closest person to your product emotionally, financially, and physically. Therefore, you can sell the emotion behind your product or service just as well as you can sell how it works or how it can best serve your customer. You can sell the story, the image, the brand the best way possible to allow your potential customers to feel the experience of your product or service.
Here are a few tips to get you started in being your own PR representative to sell your product or service!
At least 30 minutes to an hour should be blocked out on your schedule each day so that you can build a PR Strategy and implement that strategy. It’s important to stick to this as much as possible so that it becomes part of our routine. If you do a little each day you can chip away at a big project, and you can get a lot done in an hour. You can create a media list, make several phone calls, send out important emails, or write blogs. Perhaps even write an advice column.
Overtime your daily routine will become a habit. Not only will that make promoting your company part of your regular routine, it will create the consistency that is essential to any PR effort. “If you do it consistently, soon enough you will see that the people you’re trying to gain exposure with will start calling you. Then that hour won’t even be necessary because you’ll already have these relationships. It tends to feed on itself.”
2. Touch on the emotion of your customers with a Personal Story.
Too many entrepreneurs focus only on their businesses when they pitch themselves to the media. That’s a mistake. “Especially with a small business, being personal is a key component and is what will connect you directly with your customers. If you want your customers or potential customers to remember your company name, product or service, give them an experience they won’t forget. Get personal with them and give them a story they can relate to or associate with your product or service.
For example, when you learn that the small coffee shop in your neighborhood was started with the life savings of the owners who moved to this country to build their dream, suddenly ordering coffee from there has a whole new meaning to it. Another example is the experience your customers have using your product or receiving your services. You want them to remember how your product or service made them feel.
Many business owners are intimidated at the thought of writing, whether it is or a press release, or a blog. Formal press releases don’t really accomplish much. Chances are, they will get missed because people don’t really read most of their email, or “junk” email.
Instead, spend one of your PR hours focusing on one paragraph that is compelling or different and will make you stand out from the crowd. Then write another paragraph the following day so that you have two great paragraphs. Then send it directly to a media person for a press release in their newspaper, magazine, or wherever you can…..”for free.” After the press release you can also look into writing weekly or monthly advice columns.
4. Give Presentations or Have Company Booths whenever and wherever possible
Meeting and sharing with the public who you are and the product or service you provide can never be a bad thing. This is such an opportunity for the community (your potential customers) to meet the person behind the company name, the company brand, the company image. Take advantage of your powerful presence, knowledge, and passion for our product or service and give presentations whenever possible. Think of topics you believe your potential customers want to hear…that would benefit them and have a conversation with them about it. Educate them and show them your passion to help improve their lives with your product or service. Do the same thing with signing up for booth space at chamber of commerce functions where it seems reasonable.
5. Social Media Social Media Social Media
Making time to post on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is so invaluable for the primary reason that you can reach an insurmountable number of people for FREE! You cannot beat that. Use each one of these as your platform, your stage to connect with your potential customers and, have fun doing it. Get the community to engage with you by showing them how you will improve their lives and their business. For more information on how to use social media to network and sell your business, see my blog – How to Network Effectively.