Monday, January 19, 2009

Be Your Own Public Relations Rep

Putting the “Public” back in Public relations is your vital key to setting yourself apart from your competition.

A mistake commonly made, often without even noticing, is confusing social media with online marketing.
Social media is anything that uses the internet to facilitate conversation between people- that is not the practice of social marketing. Social marketing seeks to benefit your target markets, which is the secret to success. the primary focus is on the consumer--on learning what people want and need rather than trying to persuade them to buy what we happen to be producing.

Marketing talks to the consumer, not about the product.

Think about any common, overplayed, commercial. One that comes to mind for me is of a well known laundry detergent. Elegantly portrayed, it shows a woman going about the business of her life as time passes. Throughout the commercial the clothes washed in an off brand detergent are strategically compared to those washed in this advertised detergent. We come to find out, through visual encouragement, just how much our clothes fade when this particular detergent is not used.
The genius marketing skill behind all this is how we are benefited from this seller. We will not only be choosing yet another soap out of the, oh so many choices, we will be stretching our wallet and improving our lives in several different ways.

With that being said, find your niche in how you can improve your customer’s lives in what “you do” rather than pushing another product on them. Think like a customer and not so much as a seller. Try not to get hung up on the $$ signs and think more about how you would like to benefit as a buyer.
It’s time to put the “Public” back into public relations. In order to have a viable product, people must first perceive that they have a genuine problem, and that the product offering is a good solution for that problem

Promotion: Get yourself seen, in a positive light. Don’t get caught up with crashing in on all the well known spots online that are over saturated with sellers just like you. Remember the goal is to stand out, not blend with what’s popular now.

There is a big world outside of the internet. Only about ½ to 2/3 of the United States Population is online. Broken down in any given area these stats could be very similar (of course give or take based on the size of your area) here are a few ideas on how to get noticed in your own area:

Newspaper: Contact your local newspaper by mail, phone or in person. (Emails are a low priority for reporters) Press releases are free and a story could get you seen by locals who otherwise don’t shop on places that you may currently be visible

Phone Book: Get in the phone book if your budget allows it. One word of warning is that you do your research to get under the appropriate heading. I was under the wrong heading when I got started and it was wasted money. To find out what heading you should choose have someone you trust search for similar items that you sell in their phone book and have them tell you what listings they searched.

Piggy Back: It’s important to attract your specific target market. (For help finding your target market search here: I happen to share a target market with Photographers, wedding/event planners and bridal shops with the portion of my business in which I create custom wedding(and other) invitations. I have contacted many of these type businesses to offer them 10% of each sale that is brought in due to their advertising of my services. Tip: plan this out before you contact to ensure you come across as professional, trustworthy and know your stuff. If they promote you their image is on the line as well.

Trunk Show: Otherwise known as a type of “Tupperware party” invite others over to see your work and learn from your own success. Or have a “how to” night to allow yourself to be known as a guru in your field.

With all this local promoting don’t forget to cover the social marketing aspect of your online business life by offering a need to your customers that only you can fulfill. You have something to offer weather you think you do or not.

Sewer? I don’t know to how to sew and would greatly benefit from anything from “how to sew” video tutorials to a simple checklist on the “ABC’s” while sewing. Tip: I recently bought a few patterns because I would love to make my own clothes, however I am more of a visual learner and found myself confused by the instructions...In steps you!

Soap maker? I don’t know anything about the harms or benefits of what is in our soaps opposed to store bought. There are a lot of medicinal benefits to some of the ingredients in your creations as well, aren’t there? Let’s hear about them.

Jeweler? What are the benefits to buying your jewelry as opposed to store bought?

I know there are so many more types of expertise’s out there, but my point being; concentrate more on educating your customers about the benefits in how your products can help improve their lives and not so much on pushing your products just to get them seen. I have been guilty of that as well and my sales are just mediocre….if that sounds like you, join me in breaking through this plateau of stagnant business.

Right now, the main thing that stands between you and success is getting those customers – and the good press builds the bridge between you and them.
Questions: Please Ask! :)


Art Whims by JS said...

great blog! Very informative and well written!

Art Whims - Jeananne

Cams said...

I think you have some GREAT points here.
Thank you for sharing, this ultimately helps my business point of view also.
Bears and More...

cindy said...

Great article, I will be returning to it.
Thank you!

Emily of Ella-Bear Bowtique said...

Fantastic advice!

Renee toeNja said...

Thanks for the great tips. You make a compelling point.

Amy said...

Lots of good points. Thanks

Cat (darklingwoods) said...

great tips! Thanks so much!

Pop Art Diva! said...

Got your link from Cindy over at Devine Designs and was interested in the reference to PR.

I do use the social media online as a way to promote my products and art but I always keep in mind that I'm dealing with people and try to make my connections personal and helpful too. All my blogs and websites provide info and free stuff - you gotta give to get, right?

Good post and thanks for the info.