Sunday, December 16, 2007

What is PR?

It is very common for people to confuse marketing with public relations. The term marketing is used broadly to define all the activities involved with reaching your target audience and converting them into sales. Public Relations is a form of marketing used to get exposure from various media outlets and/or events that cater to your target audience. Have you ever wondered how a local business got featured on the morning news show? Well, most likely they, or their publicist, sent a press release to the TV station and pitched a great story around that business. With PR, you typically do not pay to get the exposure unlike another form of marketing called advertising. Typical public relations activities include, getting articles written about you or your product in a publication or website, being asked to be an expert guest on a show, hosting an event, or sponsoring a non-profit organization.

As I mentioned, marketing involves various activities; for example, paying for advertising to promote your products, developing a website to increase sales and traffic to your store, establishing a customer loyalty program to retain existing customers, sales promotion on items, and sending surveys to get feedback on how your product is performing to name a few. To determine which activity is best for you think about the goal you want to achieve. Do you want people to be aware that your store exists, prompt people to take action and buy, or generate revenue? List your top three marketing goals for the holiday season and then review some of the marketing activities I mentioned. Determine which activities will help you achieve these goals. For example, if your goal is to generate revenue during the holiday season you might consider some advertising and sales promotion. If you want to get some free media attention you could set up an Angel Tree in your store and offer a discount to those who purchase an item from your store for the Angel Tree.

The challenges of finding the right mix of marketing activities can be overwhelming and confusing. Most business owners have questions about how to implement marketing programs, but can't find the answers they need without paying a consultant. Now, you have a chance to ask a marketing expert those burning marketing questions and receive free advice. The Marketing Lady provides her free expert advice and opinions for you. You can email your questions to tmarketinglady@yahoo.com or simply post them to this blog.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Self Promotion

Getting noticed among thousands of customers can be difficult when hundreds of competitors are going after the same target audience. But, some can make sure they stand out from the crowd by doing "self-promoting". Establishing a strong brand is the first step to making self-promotion a lot easier and more effective. Your brand consists of the key marketing message you want your target audience to hear and the image (logo, symbol, personal image) you want portrayed.

While creating a buzz for yourself through public speaking, your brand must be communicated effectively so that customers think of your products first when they need your type of service. You are promoting the fact that you can deliver an experience better than anyone else. When promoting by developing partnerships, they should know what your product stands for through your words, symbols, messages, or concepts. It makes it easier for them to refer business to you and spread the word about your products. During self-promotion, you should deliver a powerful message and shape the customer’s perception. Customers should be able to quickly identify with your brand. Tell them why your products and services are right for their needs.

Other ways to promote yourself is through your accomplishments. Be sure to list any awards or nominations you have received. If you have not received any, ask your best customer to nominate you when the time comes. List any success stories you can share on your website and newsletter; this helps to establish creditability and shows off your experience. Don't be afraid to call yourself an expert. If you have the knowledge, skills, and experience, you are an expert - so let everyone know. Establishing a strong brand for your company or product by communicating a clear message and image you want to promote is key to effective self-promotion.

The Marketing Lady offers more strategies on self-promoting and branding on her website at www.themarketinglady.com. Click on free resources and download a copy.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Low Cost Ways to Promote Your Business

Low Cost Ways to Promote Your Business

Promoting involves: all the tools available to communicate that your product or service exists. There are tons of methods you can use, some require a lot of money, but you don't have to break the bank to get the word out about your company.

Develop A Promotional Plan

Define objectives
To support sales increases
To encourage trial
To create awareness
To inform about a feature or benefit
To remind
To create an image
To change attitudes

Evaluate the different low cost tools

Business Cards/Flyers/Brochures
Use when you have special offer, pass out during events, post to bulletin boards, etc. Be sure they all have your logo, tag line, website, phone number.

News Releases
The media only want releases that have a clever angle or a hot topic. For example, if your salon just opened and you want the media to cover your grand opening, come up with an a catchy angle like, "New Salon Gives Makeovers to
Make You Look 10 Years Younger."

Networking
Networking is your opportunity to build relationships, and promote what you have to offer. Attend events or organizations where your target audience will be.

Public Speaking
Contact local organizations offer to speak about a topic you are knowledgeable in. If you'd rather jump out of an airplane than speak publicly, then join your local Toastmasters. Toastmasters will help you get over that fear and become a polished speaker. The cost to join Toastmasters varies with chapters, but you can expect to pay under $50.00 per year.

Discount coupons and giveaways
Discount coupons or giveaways can be used as incentives to get potential customers to try your services.

Online
1. Can't afford a website yet? Get a Myspace page.
It's free and a great way to showcase pictures of hairstyles, post tips, share information, and get potential clients from invited friends.
2. Blogging, forums and pod casting. More free tools to communicate your brand and connect with your target audience. Give advice and/or post comments.
3. List your website in free directories.

Email marketing and articles
Add a sign up link on your website or a sign up card near your reception area. Write articles on your areas of expertise and contact the editor of the local paper
and pitch your article.

Car advertising
For under $100 bucks you can purchase a magnetic plate to advertise your business on your vehicle.

Your business will likely show significant revenue increases in just a few months time with minimal effort and budget to promote. Without exposure, growth is limited.

For more "Low Cost Promotional Ideas" call The Marketing Lady at 469-287-1127 or visit her website.