Are you looking for effective ways to connect your product or service with the customers who need it? Of course you are; otherwise, you wouldn’t be in business! Many small business owners rely on tried-and-true marketing techniques, but this is only one piece of the puzzle. To truly solve the challenge of increasing sales and building a successful business, you need to develop a public relations strategy.
Public relations is not as mysterious as some may have you believe. It’s really just a matter of communicating effectively with your audience. Fortunately, developing a powerful PR strategy is easily within your reach if you follow a few simple tips.
Develop a unique personality for your brand
The number one rule when promoting your business is integrity. Consumers today are savvy. They want to know and trust the companies they patronize, and they don’t respond well to pressure and hyperbole.
Think about how you want people to perceive your business and then develop a personality for your brand. Your voice should be consistent throughout every form of communication, from a sales email to a guest appearance on a local TV show.
Create awareness of your business
Hopefully, you’ve already laid the groundwork for the successful marketing of your products through an attractive, easily navigable website. Now take it a step further with a PR strategy to drive potential customers to your site by generating interest in your business. One of the best ways to do this is to position yourself as an expert in your field.
To stand out from your competitors, spend some time finding and refining your niche within your industry. Once you can clearly articulate what makes your business unique, capitalize on it by actively seeking opportunities to share your expertise. Keep up with the news and offer your perspective to the media when your business has a logical tie-in with current events.
You can also leverage your knowledge while also solidifying your reputation as an expert by writing informative and helpful blog posts and articles on your own and others’ platforms. Use your social media channels to engage with the public in a friendly, supportive way that is not aimed strictly at sales. Remember that PR efforts aim to communicate effectively; sales follow later, once your customers trust your words.
Lead with your principles
Research shows that today’s consumers, especially younger people just coming into purchasing power, care deeply about a company’s sustainability and social consciousness. In fact, most people say they are willing to pay more for products that minimize harm to the environment and vulnerable communities.
Think about ways to reduce your carbon footprint, such as installing solar panels on your building or implementing an aggressive company-wide recycling campaign. Be sure to tout the ways your business is greener in order to reassure eco-conscious consumers that you share their priorities.
If possible, find a social cause or campaign related to your industry, whether local or global, and support it wholeheartedly. You might donate a percentage of sales or use your website and social media platforms to advocate for the movement. For example, if you sell pet-related products, you might support your local animal shelter and the World Wildlife Federation.
Involve others in the conversation
Keeping in mind that PR is really about communication, why not let others join the discussion? Word of mouth is arguably the most effective advertising, so encouraging satisfied customers to help spread the word is a great strategy. You can send free samples to bloggers and journalists who write about your industry and ask them to write a review, or you can follow up with your existing customers to gather their feedback. Even if you don’t get the glowing reviews you were hoping for, you can use the input to make your business even better.
Growing a prosperous business is a big undertaking. Putting the power of public relations to work for you is one of the most effective ways to achieve success.