LI Press special sections

The Long Island Press has a great opportunity for Long Island’s professional business community to advertise in their February 24th issue. The issue will feature two special sections to motivate business as we spring toward the month of March.

“The Professional Guide for Your Life and Finances” will highlight everything from Insurance, Law, Accounting, Banking, investments and more. The guide will feature informative editorial content regarding the financial issues in the daily life of The Long Island Press readers. The Professional guide will also include the ALL NEW Business Card Tweets! Just $114 will get your business card printed in full color with a description consisting of 25 words or less.
The second part of this particular issue is the all new special insert “Pet Press” . . . The Long Press will be the official media sponsor of the upcoming Pet Expo at Suffolk County Community College. This special sized booklet has LOWER RATES and it will double as the official program guide for the 2011 Pet Expo coming to Suffolk County Community College on March 5th and 6th. It will be distributed both in the Press and at the show.
This is great chance for you and your business to advertise to specific demographics.  Contact us at The PRMG for details and more information.

Networking Magazine

Networking Magazine, an events-centered publication read by successful business owners, CEOs, senior-level executives, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, is offering a once-a-year special reduced rate in honor of March, Women’s History Month. This is a perfect opportunity if you have an upcoming event and a small budget. For more information and details contact PRMG.

Shop and Dine Shore to Shore

Newsday is offering a fantastic advertising opportunity for Restaurants and Retailers in the following zones: Northern Nassau, Southern Nassau, Northern Suffolk and Southern Suffolk which combined reaches over 960,00 Homes and Businesses. The rates are as followed: A Front Cover premium position advertisement is $5,485.50 for a county, a Full Page advertisement for a county is $4,623, a Half Page advertisement per county is $2,760 and a quarter page advertisement is $1,656. All advertisments include 4-color, final deadline is Monday, February 14th. Contact PRMG for details and more information.

“If You Build It,” They Won’t Necessarily Come…2/3

Collateral Marketing Materials

Now that your website is up, you can now turn to putting together some marketing materials. Using your logo, set up and print business cards with your website, e-mail and other contact information on them. You’ll also need to set up letterhead, but more and more businesses are using Word documents and color laser printers to print letters as needed. You will also need to print envelopes; however, considering the difficulty some laser printers have with printing envelopes, you may consider purchasing envelopes. Use an online printer such as Vistaprint or PrintPlace. You should also consider putting together a brochure at this point. You can place it on your site as a PDF download, e-mail it and use it during your initial marketing programs. You may also want to consider purchasing presentation folders. These are good to use when providing proposals and other information to prospective clients or to provide to clients to hold your information in.

Contacts

One of the first steps you want to take when starting a business is to pull your relevant contact information together. In fact, many entrepreneurs begin collecting contact information about prospective clients and customers long before they go out on their own. You’ll need to do some research to determine the best system for you. Will Microsoft Outlook and Access be sufficient to create your databases when used in conjunction with an e-mail program such as Constant Contact or StreamSend? Will you use your Point of Sale software? Do you need an online system such as Salesforce.com? The contacts you have made are likely going to be your first customers or clients and your best referral sources. You want to create an easy system from which to mail, fax, e-mail, and engage them. Especially for those engaged in a business to business (B2B) field, you’ll need to consider what types of databases and e-mail lists you want to purchase and how you will work with that information.

 

Social Media

Which social media platforms are best for you? Key in on the big three: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. As a rule of thumb, if you are a retailer or have a business that provides services that anyone can use, then make Facebook your first priority. If you are primarily involved in B2B or provide professional services relying on referrals, then start with LinkedIn. Twitter can be very effective for restaurants and retailers to communicate microblogs to followers and to re-distribute e-newsletters to wider audiences. Upload your contacts with LinkedIn to invite others to connect with you and use the search function on Facebook to make friends and on Twitter to follow others, who will often then follow you.

 

Press Release on Business Launch and Grand Opening

Once you open your doors and are ready to do business and have built your online presence with your website, blog and social media, it’s time to do a press release announcing your new business. The press release should draw upon your branding strategy, describe its uniqueness and the customer needs it seeks to address. It should be targeted to business reporters, trade publications, local newspapers and online sites that allow you to post press releases, such as PRLog. The release should be optimized with keywords linking back to your website and your domain included. As the release gets published online, this will help to build backlinks, usually with sites with high authority, helping to build page ranking. If you have a retail establishment, restaurant or sizable space in an office building, consider a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. It is often better for restaurants to be open for a period of time, at least a month or two, so that staff can be adequately trained and the kinks worked out before sending out a press release and holding a grand opening, as these will also often invite reviews which you will want to score well on. Use a PR firm or a service such as Marketwire to distribute your release.

 

Low-Cost Initial Marketing Strategies

You are now doing business. To this point, depending on how much your website cost and whether you had a grand opening, you probably spent between $5,000 and $10,000 on marketing. Now it’s time to be proactive and start getting the word out. For new businesses especially, you want to go after the lowest hanging fruit, bringing the greatest return on your investment at first.
Look at your contacts and prospect lists that you may have pulled together or purchased. Start by sending an introductory letter with your brochure or another direct mail piece to your contacts and prospects. You can do the same using e-mail and include links to your website and a link to download the brochure. By using an e-mail program such as StreamSend, you’ll be able to track who opened and clicked through to your site, or downloaded your brochure. You’ll be able to use this information to prioritize follow up.

After your introductory mail and e-mail has been sent out, you’ll want to regularly communicate via e-mail using e-newsletters. Use the content you develop to update your website and communicate via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Consider purchasing additional contact lists or using Chamber of Commerce, published association and other prospect lists. Continue to track your click-through activity and develop materials to send to prospects. For professionals, consider making follow-up phone calls, e-mails or further engage using social media. Unfortunately, not everyone will get your e-mails or open them. Consider supplementing e-mails with regular direct mail or newsletters to your current customers and prospects.

At this point, you are probably also doing some traditional networking at appropriate venues that put you in front of prospective customers. For this, it is often more effective to go to their events, conferences, etc. in your targets rather than general chamber or other public events. Consider taking tables at conferences and sponsoring lectures. You may also want to develop a lecture or webinar for your prospective clients. Some professionals require continuing education. Look into whether your lecture can get accreditation. You may even be able to charge for attendance.

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come: Part 1

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come: Part 3

“If You Build It,” They Won’t Necessarily Come…3/3

Implementing an Advertising Strategy

You are doing everything low cost that you are supposed to do. However, it may not be enough. It may be time to start advertising. For all forms of advertising, it is helpful to ask these questions when developing an advertising campaign:
• Who are our current customers or clients?• What percentage of our customers/clients lives within a certain geographic areas?
• What percentage of our customers/clients falls into our various business areas?
• What is their age range?
• Are they male or female?
• Where do most of our current clients come from?
o Do they come from ads?
o Do they come from referrals?
o Do they come from street traffic?
o Do they come from the web?
• Who is our targeted audiences?
• Who should be our customers/clients but aren’t?
• How much money do we have to spend?
• What form(s) of advertising are our targets most likely to be exposed to?

Once you answered these questions, here are some strategic considerations
If your customers or clients come primarily from referrals, then consider:
• Trade publications
• Direct marketing to membership lists
• Participation in professional organizations and their events.

If your clients come from a wide geographic area, then consider TV or radio advertising. If from a narrower geographic area, then consider local newspaper advertising, direct mail, D-Cards, ad word and social media advertising.

One of the best places to start advertising is on the Web. Use Google AdWords and other search engines to create an advertising campaign at a budget level you are comfortable with. Create landing pages corresponding with your ads that include a method, such as downloadable content or a coupon, to collect e-mail addresses. Set this form to dump the contact information into your e-mail distribution program. You can set up triggers to provide automatic follow-up to these new prospects and begin to send them your regular e-mails and e-newsletters.
If you are in the restaurant or retail business, you may also consider advertising on Facebook to build more contacts. Like Google AdWords, Facebook ads only require the advertiser to pay for the number of times an ad is clicked-through. (On Facebook, you can pay for impressions or clicks. However, we recommend only paying for click-throughs.) In order to purchase Facebook ads, your organization must have a Facebook business page, which is different than a personal page and is entitled to different privileges, while operating under different limitations. It is crucial to familiarize yourself or your dedicated staff member with Facebook’s terms of use so that you are not found to have violated the terms, which could result in your page being taken down and your email address banned from the site.

You may also want to consider “take over” e-mails or prominent ads on other organizations’ e-mail blasts that link to your landing pages. While these are more expensive than ad word campaigns, they more closely target your audience and provide faster results.

OK, we’ve done the web-based lower cost advertising; it may also make sense to engage in some targeted traditional advertising. Here are some strategies tailored for your business type:

Retail

• D-Cards, front page advertising in local Pennysavers and advertising papers. It is better to have a less frequent, more prominent ad.
• Direct mail to your demographic group in your geographic proximity. You may be able to send the same pieces to your current customers.
• Print advertising in specialty publications specific for your demographic, as well as web-based display advertising on sites that provide significant traffic and can show click-through statistics for other advertisers.
• Prominent ads in daily newspapers in sections read by your targeted audience. It’s better to have a less frequent, more prominent ad in a daily newspaper. The dailies still get better results than weekly or monthly publications that have low readership.
• TV – While requiring a bigger budget, we have found TV to still be one of the most cost-effective advertising vehicles, over newspapers, magazines and radio.
• Radio – Most radio stations have gift certificate programs, providing trade opportunities. Consider radio to help promote a grand opening event.

Restaurants

• Use D-Cards, front covers and other prominent ads in shopper publications.
• Advertise to your demographic in Facebook.
• Constantly work to build your local contact list, collect comment cards, business cards, e-mails. Send out weekly specials. Use “take-over” e-mails and consider prominent ads in other’s e-mails.
• Put a high priority on press releases and be sure to register with all the online restaurant directories.
• If you can limit your target audiences more closely, then consider direct mail.
• Send catering and lunch specials information to local businesses. Consider going door to door with cookies and coupons or gift certificates to bring in the local business community.

 

Professionals

• As described above, professionals should concentrate on referral sources, B2B direct mail and e-mail, and follow up based on click-through activity, along with traditional and social media networking.
• Professionals should put a high priority on article writing and using this content to publish in trade publications, mail to prospects and include in e-mails. Use this content to engage others in forums and on blogs.
• If you are a professional that services the general public, then consider specialty publications and television advertising. If you serve a smaller geographic area, then consider D-Cards and other prominent local advertising.

If You Built It, They Won’t Necessarily Come: Part 1

If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come: Part 2

Five Steps to Generating New Business through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails

At the Public Relations and Marketing Group, we pride ourselves in providing integrated services to our clients. With this in mind, I wanted to share with you how we have been doing this through content creation, Web advertising, landing pages and email marketing to develop and nurture leads for clients leading to new business. While these techniques are highly applicable to any professional service organization, they are adaptable to just about every business.

Step 1 – Create Your Content

The first step is to create compelling content. For professionals, this often takes the form of a free report or guidebook that will provide the reader with valuable information, which they will be willing to give up an email address for. The content should be mostly informational and not a sales pitch. There should be very little mention of the organization, perhaps with the exceptions of authorship and contact information at the end of the piece. Very often, this takes on the form of a downloadable brochure, white paper or eBook. The material should be written with the end-user in mind and not be overly technical (unless of course this is your target market). Some examples: for attorneys, it could be a guidebook on “What I Need to Know before I Purchase a Home”; for an ophthalmologist, “Will I Benefit from Laser Eye Surgery?”; for a home health care provider, “The Advantages of Using a Home Health Agency”; for a retailer or restaurant, you could just offer a coupon.

Step 2 – Set up Your Landing Page

A landing page is little more than a Web page that contains specific content. Landing pages can be built into websites, but they can also be used as part of Web advertising campaigns. When used in a Web advertising campaign, it is suggested that they provide access to your entire Website, but the goal is for the visitor to interact with the content on the page. To accomplish this, we suggest not having navigation links, but instead a text link in the body of the text inviting the visitor to visit your site. The landing page should also include brief descriptions of the downloadable content and the services of your organization, as well as an image of the content and a short form. You may also want to include a video, such as a TV commercial. The contact should be kept to a minimum and ask for just a name, company (if B to B), email address and phone number. It should also have a check box asking if the visitor wants to be contacted to set up a free consultation or meeting. However, we recommend that the only required fields be the email address, perhaps also a phone number if the visitor requests a meeting.

Step 3 – Advertise on the Web and Monitor

Use Google, Bing or Yahoo! AdWords or Facebook to bring traffic to the landing page. Target your demographics and keywords like you would for any other AdWords campaign. However, in this case, the ad should promote the availability of the free download. Monitor the ad’s performance using the advertising platform and Google Analytics. Test different offers to achieve the best results and to maximize your costs per click.

Step 4 – Integrate with Your Email Program

As visitors interact with your landing page, you will receive a form indicating that someone has downloaded the content or requested a consultation or meeting. You should then contact anyone requesting a meeting immediately. For the most efficiency, you want to program your contact form to dump information into an email program. (Our firm uses StreamSend.) You can also do this manually. We would then recommend that you set up Triggers. Triggers are e-mails that can be programmed to send automatically based on a database field, such as the date/time when an entry is created. This allows you to send out an email to a lead 24 or 48 hours after they have downloaded your content, providing them, for instance, additional content they may be interested in or a sales offer. Multiple Triggers can be set up.

Step 5 – Nurture Your Leads

Not everyone makes buying decisions at the same pace. Someone may have visited your site very early in their buying process for the purpose of researching the problem they have. Other visitors make buying decisions very quickly. The goal is to interact and nurture your contacts over time. For instance, on the initial landing page, we provide an opportunity for someone to contact you by phone or email to request a meeting. We use Trigger emails to provide automatic follow-up shortly thereafter. We also recommend that you develop an e-newsletter that you send out to clients and prospects at least on a monthly basis. This will help you to ensure that your leads are nurtured over time. You can invite these leads to connect with you using social media.

We hope this article was useful to you. As always, if you have any questions or would like to see samples of our work in this area, email johnzaher@theprmg.com or call us at (631) 207-1057.

The Suffolk Parent Magazine Camp Issues

For over 20 years, parents have turned to NYMETROPARENTS for all things parenting, including advice, tips, community news, and the most comprehensive calendar of local family events.

The Suffolk Parent is offering a great opportunity to help you generate awareness about your camp and drive inquires about your programs. Don’t miss this opportunity to be listed where parents research first.

The Suffolk Parents March issue features a Camp Guide that focuses on how parents and kids make the transition from one specialty camp to the next. Their April issue features Camps and Camp Directors and a “ask the Expert” special. Please contact us for details and more information!

PARENTGUIDE News

PARENTGUIDE News declares 2011 “the Year of Giving Back.” They will be giving back to camps and summer programs with unprecedented discounts and to campers with tuition scholarships!

Don’t miss out on this amazing package designed to jump-start your camp season. Beginning February 2011, PARENTGUIDE News and parentguidenews.com will be asking their 850,000 readers to submit their child’s name along with the camp or summer program their child would like to attend in 2011. They will then post each entry and ask readers to vote for their favorite. The ten entries with the most votes will each receive $250 to go towards the camp or program they selected. Please contact us for details and more information!