A targeted public relations campaign is a great way to boost awareness of your brand. It’s also an excellent tool for building appreciation for your product or service among your target audiences. Public relations is most effective when used in combination with social media, marketing and advertising tactics to achieve the same end goal. If your end goal is to increase sales, a good public relations strategy can significantly boost your bottom line. Here are five ways you can use public relations to grow your profit margins.
- Drive Traffic to Your Website.
If you have an e-commerce site that allows customers to make purchases from you via the web, you want to take every possible opportunity to drive traffic to your website. Most importantly, you must include your website address on every tool you use to promote your business, from signage and company apparel to brochures and customer giveaways like pens and notepads.
When you are issuing a press release, always include your company’s website as a source for more information. Journalists can use your website to collect information for the stories they will write, but they also like to include website addresses in articles as a resource for their readers. If you are giving an interview to a journalist directly, it’s O.K. to ask them to include your website address.
Populating your website with content that gives readers valuable tips and information related to your product or service is another way to boost the number of visitors to your site. Regularly adding new resource information will encourage those visitors to return again and again. For example, a custom home builder might post a series of tips on how to choose the right home builder, how to stay on budget when building a house, and how to choose a home design to match your lifestyle. The company could then write a press release noting that the resource information is available, and send it out to targeted media while also promoting the content on social media and in its e-newsletter.
- Secure a Feature on Your Product or Service.
There are many ways to generate media relations on products. During the holidays (Mother’s Day, Christmas, the Fourth of July, etc.) many media outlets – television, online and print included – run gift guides and are looking for products to feature. Research the editorial calendars of your most wanted media outlets and then send along a profile of your product or products, with good photography, to the appropriate media contact, suggesting inclusion in the gift guide.If your product or service meets an immediate need, it is newsworthy. For example, if the weatherman is predicting a particularly harsh winter in your area, media outlets will likely be doing features on generators, snow removal services, winter gear, and other things that will help their readers, viewers and listeners better deal with the ice, cold and snow. A significant change in tax regulations will have the media scrambling for experts to discuss the change. If you are a tax attorney or accountant, be sure to offer yourself up as a source. A new product or service with a unique feature can attract a great deal of media interest. If what you offer falls into that category, take full advantage of it. Think of the media excitement every time Apple releases the newest version of its iPhone. While you might not attract the same level of attention, you can use the unique benefits of your own product or service to generate media coverage in the outlets your customers follow and trust. Depending on what your product or service is, you might consider giving desk-side demos to top-tier media contacts.
- Make a Special Offer.
The Chipotle restaurant chain marked their 20th birthday by giving away two decades of free burritos to 20 winners who participated in a 20-day treasure hunt. Making a great offer like this and telling the press about it can bring many new customers to your door. On a smaller scale, you might consider hosting a contest on Pinterest or Facebook with a creative hook or giving a special gift to all fathers who come into your location on Father’s Day. If your market is business-to-business, you might launch a special no-interest financing program for small businesses or offer a free hour of consulting to all new businesses. The possibilities are endless.
- Create Interest and Awareness.
The primary objectives of most public relations campaigns are to create interest and awareness. Interest and awareness generate sales. Think proactively and creatively about newsworthy angles that can generate media coverage about you and your company, and pitch them to journalists that write about topics related to those angles. We already discussed generating publicity for products and services, but your media relations efforts should not be exclusively sales related. People like to buy from companies they like and trust. They want to know a little bit about you before they commit to buying from you, particularly if becoming your customer requires a significant financial commitment. Donate strategically to local charities, and notify the media of your community support with a press release and relevant photography. Work to secure a feature on the history of your company as it reaches an important milestone like a 20th anniversary. Apply for awards that will convey the excellence of your business and publicize them when you win.Beyond media relations, you can purchase booth space at trade shows, special events, conferences and festivals that your target audience will attend. The Fancy Food Show, for example, is held in New York and San Francisco each year. Together, they attract more than 25,000 attendees from more than 20 countries. These people are die-hard foodies, or they represent important retail chains that can help make a product an overnight success by placing it on their shelves. If you’ve got a new food product with national appeal, you definitely want to have a presence at the Fancy Food Show.
- Generate Reviews
First, identify the journalists and bloggers your potential customers follow. Then, send them samples of your product and ask them to do a review. The positive third-party endorsement product reviews can generate will give target audiences the confidence they need to try what you are selling.Online product reviews, generated by customers, are another way to spread the good word about what you are offering, whether it is a product or service. If you operate a cleaning service, for example, you might ask customers who you know are very satisfied with the job you are doing to review you on Yelp! or Angie’s List. We’ve also stayed in hotels and eaten in restaurants that ask customers to submit reviews on sites like TripAdvisor or Zomato right on the customer bill or in a follow-up email.What you do have to keep in mind when you court online reviews is that there are bound to be some negative ones. Not everyone is going to have a positive experience all the time, and there are, frankly, some people that get enjoyment out of writing negative reviews. You can take the constructive criticism as useful information that can be used to improve your business. Responding to all negative reviews in a positive manner is also a good idea. This lets the reviewer and all others who will read what they have written know that you care about your customers. This can significantly mitigate any damage that may have been done by the negative review itself.
I hope you have found our tips for boosting sales through public relations inspiring and helpful. For more information on how you can use public relations and marketing to meet your business development or organizational goals, please explore our website.