Top 10 PR & Marketing Techniques For Businesses & Non-Profits

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The growth of the Internet has made it both tougher and easier to reach your potential clients. While it has increased competition by leveling the playing field, it has also provided a channel for marketing your services on a low-cost budget and reach many more people than was possible earlier.

As these new marketing techniques proliferate, it is no longer enough for corporations or organizations to rely only on referrals or word-of-mouth publicity to earn new business. At The Public Relations and Marketing Group, we recommend that clients tap into a mix of both traditional and new marketing methods to promote themselves and their business.

This article outlines PRMG’s top 10 PR and marketing techniques that will help both businesses and non-profit organizations build their brand, demonstrate their expertise and attract many more clients or a community of supporters.

1. Media Availabilities

Is there an important issue (relating to your area of business) in the news you can comment on? Do you have an opinion on a prominent public policy issue that may affect your business? Making yourself available to speak to the media is an excellent strategy that will not only help you display your leadership and expertise, but also help you build professional credibility. Once you establish yourself as a reliable, useful source, the media will want to write about you. A great way to attract media attention is to ensure that your press release has a strong news angle and targets the right publications and beat reporters. Pitching a local angle in your press release will help to secure coverage in local media outlets.

2. Monthly Columns

Writing monthly columns for your local merchant chamber or trade association’s newsletter or for a mainstream publication will help increase your visibility and establish your reputation in your area of business and can often serve as the backbone of your marketing strategy.

In particular, advice columns can be highly effective in attracting potential clients and may be well worth the time spent in answering queries and giving out advice for free. If getting your article published in mainstream publications is difficult, you can submit them to popular article directories such as ArticleBase and EzineArticles.

3. Seminars/Lectures/Networking Events

Speaking at seminars and offering lectures or workshops will also help you expand your professional network, increase your visibility and build your personal brand. Attending professional or business networking events will help you connect with prospects. Despite the growth of social networking and virtual communication, building relationships through face-to-face networking is one traditional marketing technique that will never go out of style.

4. Traditional Advertising

Among traditional advertising tools, you could also consider advertising in daily newspapers and specialty publications but in general, print advertising has been providing diminishing returns. Through television advertising, especially cable television, you can target niche markets or demographics with special programming. This offers you the advantage of reaching a larger audience at a lower production cost and is increasingly becoming an attractive option for smaller, local businesses. In the long run, nothing beats television advertising in establishing a brand that people will remember.

5. Online Advertising

With an increase in the amount of time people spend surfing the Web, online advertising offers great opportunities for reaching your target audience. Google AdWords, a pay-per-click advertising program, allows you to target your ad based on keywords people type in the Google search engine. You pay Google a certain cost per click whenever people click on your ad and visit your Web site – and not how often your ad is shown. Pay-per-click ads are easy to create and allow you to reach an audience that is looking for information on the services you provide. 
You can also buy pay-per-click ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, targeting your ad based on demographic criteria such as age, gender, education, profession, geographic area and other select keywords (such as your audience’s interests).

6. Web Marketing

Since your Web site is often one of the first impressions people will get of your business or organization, it’s important to plan carefully for your site’s design and content, keeping in mind your target audience and the message you want to communicate. While most organizations and even small businesses now have Web sites, many ignore the importance of using search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that their site is easily found when people look for them online. Using on-page and off-page SEO techniques, you can improve the volume or quality of traffic to your Web site from search engines; the higher a site ranks in search results, the more traffic it usually receives from search engines.

7. Social Media Marketing

Before the growth of social media, most businesses needed to either buy expensive advertising or receive media coverage to attract the attention of their customers. Using social media tools like blogs, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you can easily network and connect directly with potential clients and deliver information about your services. Social media can also be useful for driving people back to your Web site by posting your latest events, company news or even informative articles on issues that may serve as a useful resource for your target audience. Think of social media as a tool for two-way communication with your potential clients and for displaying your professional expertise.

8. Newsletters

Newsletters – whether printed or sent through email in an HTML format – can be useful for delivering relevant information to your target audience and keeping them updated on your organization’s services or recent events. E-newsletters are especially helpful for generating leads through e-mail programs such as Streamsend and Constant Contact. Using these programs, you can identify and track recipients who click on your e-newsletter. To convert these leads into prospects, you can then follow up with them by sending a brochure and making a follow-up phone call about your services.

9. Booklets

Creating a printed booklet or an e-book with informative articles or whitepapers on relevant issues that may be of interest and of use to your target audience is a great way to start engaging with your prospects and create an image of being a leader in your field. E-books can be easily sent in a PDF through e-mail or social media channels or they can be printed and distributed to your current clients and prospects or the media. You can also make them available for download on your Web site through a contact form that your prospects can fill. This will allow you to follow up with them and keep them informed about your services.

10. Direct Mail and D-Cards

Direct mail can be quite effective for localized businesses, especially if you purchase highly targeted mailing lists. If you are targeting a specific demographic profile in a particular geographic area, consider direct mail.

Another recommended option for direct mail is to use detached address cards or D-cards with your advertisement printed at the back. D-cards can be distributed through weekly publications in your local area at a very low cost of less than five cents each. If you want to saturate a zip code, and are not concerned that all residents will receive your mailer, you can use D-cards.

Are You LinkedIn?

 

PRMG's LinkedIn Profile
PRMG’s LinkedIn profile

Whether you are the CEO of a large organization or the owner of a small business start-up, you are certainly well aware of the benefits of professional networking or “knowing the right people.” Not only can it help you win new business, it can also help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your industry and build partnerships for exchanging knowledge and resources more effectively.

In today’s uncertain economic times, building and sustaining a professional network becomes even more important. Though nothing can replace the authenticity and effectiveness of face-to-face networking, for small business owners who don’t have the time to attend conferences or other business networking events, LinkedIn can be a great way to connect and build professional contacts virtually.

 What is LinkedIn and How Do You Get Started?

LinkedIn is a professional network with over 50 million members worldwide. LinkedIn allows you to build your resume online and to connect with colleagues, friends and other professionals in your industry. LinkedIn profiles rank high in search results, which allows you to control one of the first impressions that people get when they search for you online.

You can create a profile by entering your name and e-mail address on the LinkedIn registration page. Once you have created a LinkedIn account, you can start creating your professional profile by entering your work experience, education and other accomplishments. LinkedIn now allows you to add your Web site or a link to an online portfolio and even your blog or Twitter profile. You can also update your status and tell others in your network what you are working on. Unlike Facebook, LinkedIn status updates are usually work-related rather than personal.

While creating a profile, use appropriate keywords that will help optimize your profile and ensure that you can be found easily by potential customers or contacts when they search for you online. Next, start searching for people you know and would like to add in your professional network by typing their name in the search box. You can also upload your e-mail contacts to invite people to connect or use Web Mail imports to automatically find those whom you know on LinkedIn’s network. For more information on getting started, see LinkedIn’s new user guide.

How Do You Grow Your Network On LinkedIn and Make The Most Of Your Profile?

Introductions: Once you’ve set up your profile and connected with those who you already know, use your existing network to get virtual introductions to those who are in your friends’ networks and whom you would like to connect or interact with for business purposes.

Groups: You can also join groups relevant to your industry or in your geographic location. For instance, if you are a communications professional, you can join The International Association of Business Communicators Group, The Public Relations and Communications Professionals or the NYC Public Relations Group. Joining a group on LinkedIn helps you discover connections in your geographic area and industry, participate in online discussions on various topics and also keep an eye out for latest job postings.

Q&A: LinkedIn’s Q&A feature allows you to post questions to those in your existing network, group or anyone else on LinkedIn, giving you a chance to solicit expert opinions on various topics and also to connect with others and share resources and knowledge.

Recommendations: LinkedIn recommendations are a great way to add strength to your professional resume and have people vouch for your skills or your ability to work as a team player. Invite former or present colleagues and supervisors to write you a short recommendation you can post on your profile.

Business Meetings: Before going for an important business meeting, you can use LinkedIn to quickly learn about your client’s background and even find out if you have any common connections over LinkedIn.

Jobs & Other Applications: Many companies advertise jobs on LinkedIn to take advantage of referrals by their employees or others in their network. Other great applications you can use on LinkedIn include Slideshare, where you can share PowerPoint presentations with the rest of your network. You can also update your reading list, post events to share with your network or stream your blog posts to your LinkedIn profile using the BlogLink or WordPress LinkedIn application.

View PRMG’s company profile on LinkedIn. Click here to connect with PRMG’s President and CEO, John Zaher, on LinkedIn.