Many people think of PR as getting your product or service mentioned in a particular publication, and while this should be a large part of any PR strategy, there are many other tactics which can be equally effective at increasing awareness of your products/services and generating a favorable impression of your company. Below are just a few ways that you can influence the way people think about your business.
Direct mail may not be cost-effective for many new businesses, but with email use being a popular form of communication, a monthly email newsletter can stimulate one-time customers to return to your store or re-evaluate your products. There are many programs such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact which can make the process as simple as 1-2-3. Make sure that you use an email newsletter sign-up sheet at any events you attend to keep your mailing list growing.
An event is a great way to get new customers interested in your product/service. Many small businesses may be unable to host their own events but by partnering with an event hosted by a larger, non-competing or complementary business you may be able to pick up a few new customers. Charity events are great for offering pro bono services while gaining exposure to an audience which may not have been familiar with your business.
Winning an industry award gives an obvious boost to the status of your product or service. In turn, the receipt of an award is often viewed as newsworthy and can subsequently garner media exposure for your company. There are legitimate awards for everything from pet products to products that have the most societal impact. Go for it.
Review sites like Yelp and CitySearch allow customers to rate their experience with your service business. By reviewing and responding (within limits) to customer feedback, you can potentially attract new business. Customers tend to have a favorable impression of a business that is willing to respond to their grievances and will be likely to do business with you again if their concern is addressed directly.
Speaking engagements allow you to represent your company and share your expertise on your industry at the same time. Many community organizations and churches organize educational series for their members which are great places to meet potential customers. Social media may allow you to reach potential customers that may never have known about you or your fabulous cupcakes but speaking to people about your passion for baking and how you followed your dream of opening a cupcake catering company can go a long way toward having a strong impact on people who hear you and who may go on to share their knowledge with others.
Do you know of an organization that is having a raffle or other contest? Why not offer your products/services as a prize? People will often hop online to find out more about the prize they could win and even if they don’t, they are at the very least now aware of your product which is the first step to a sale.
So as you develop a plan for gaining more exposure for your new business, remember that there are many other non-media related PR tactics which can be employed to reach your objective. The key to success in developing your PR strategy is drawing upon your creativity and finding new ways to generate positive images of your company.
Khaila Edward is a publicist at Amira Shiraz Inc, a sports & entertainment PR company located in Philadelphia which uses several of the above tactics to engage fans of their sports clients.