In the public relations business, clients are the name of the game. In order to be successful in this field, you need to find, attract and keep your clients.
Whether you are a new or existing PR firm, you need to figure out how to find the right clients who will benefit from your services. It may sound intimidating for some public relations consultants, but it is not as overwhelming as it seems if you know the basics.
Here are the fundamentals of getting the clients that your PR business needs:
1. Update your marketing materials
Have you updated your company’s mission statement, about page, or your logo in the last several years? How about your website? Does it look more 2007 than 2017? It can be easy to forget to update your marketing materials when you’re busy making everyone else look great. However, you might be turning potential clients away with your outdated copy, website, Facebook page, etc. Do you think clients will trust you to handle their branding efforts if your PR business itself is poorly branded? Not likely.
2. Write a ‘master’ letter and send it to potential clients
Create a letter that outlines the services you are offering. Remember to focus on selling results and not the actual services. Clients want to invest in results. Show them how your services have helped other businesses in the past. Then make a separate list of companies or individuals that you think would benefit most from having you as their PR consultant. Send a copy of your master letter to each prospect on your list. While the majority of the text will be the same in all cases, don’t forget to add specific details to personalize the letter for each client whenever possible.
3. Research your prospects and determine their preferred pitch method
Learn everything you can about a prospective client before making a pitch. Check out their website and monitor their social accounts and other relevant news. This will help you identify your prospect’s pain points and needs as well as their position in their industry. Then craft your pitch using this information. Some companies may prefer a formal competitive process while others favor a series of informal exploration meetings. Whatever way the client wants is the way it should be done.
4. Use social media
Social media has taken the world by storm. If you still aren’t using social media to showcase your expertise, you’re missing tons of wonderful opportunities. Spend time initiating intelligent discussions on major social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to engage people in your social media circle on a regular basis.
5. Advertise online
Running an ad campaign is also a great way to find PR clients. Try running Bing ads, Facebook ads or Google ads to reach your prospective clients. You can find a lot of useful resources to learn how to manage and run effective campaigns online. You can also try retargeting services that can help track who visits your site, and lets you later serve ads to them via Facebook and other online marketing channels.
6. Network both online and offline
Online networking is important. That’s why you need to complete a LinkedIn profile with current information and work samples, join groups online where your target clients post, and offer useful content to further grow your connections. However, sitting behind the computer all week is not the only way to get in front of prospective clients. For instance, if your ideal customers are designers, you need to go to design oriented events and conferences. If your ideal clients are authors, then check out author groups, literary conferences, and book expos. And don’t forget to bring your business card. Make sure it is high quality as it is a reflection of your brand.
7. Write about public relations for major business publications
Doing this will expand your thought leadership and build your firm’s reputation with new prospects. Find out what your prospective clients are reading and who they deem as credible. You can also contribute a guest post to some PR and marketing blogs and blogs for major business publications.
8. Participate in industry events and accept speaking engagements
Prove to your prospects that you are an expert. People want to work with experts, especially in terms of helping their business grow and gain more exposure. While attending conferences is great, speaking at them will help establish you as a credible PR professional. Reach out to event organizers about speaking. Discuss the topics you’d like to speak about, and back it up with your expertise, experience, and more.
9. Ask for referrals and offer incentives
Most of the time, satisfied clients will want to give you referrals. Reach out to your happy customers and share with them your ideal client profile. Also, you can offer some incentives for every successful referral to make it more worth their while.
10. Follow up
Following up with clients is super important, so make sure you don’t forget to follow up with the leads you get from networking events, conferences, social media, referrals, and more.
11. Establish strategic partnerships
Join a group of professionals who agree to refer each other’s businesses. Find companies that are relevant to your firm, but aren’t direct competitors. For example, you could work with event management companies, design companies, and marketing agencies that you trust. You can refer your clients to them, and in return they can offer your service as an extension of their business. This is great for building relationships and expanding your network.
12. Volunteer your services to a non-profit
If you have yet to have any experience working with big clients, working with a legitimate non-profit organization can help you get you a valuable paying client. Be professional and treat the organization like a real paying client. You’ll naturally build relationships with the people there that might be involved with other companies that need your services. Plus, you’ll now have great examples of your work to show prospective clients.
13. Capture leads
Establish trust with your website visitors so they are likely to leave their email address and contact details. You can try giving something away like an eBook or a free 15-minute consultation. By employing pop-ups or forms on your pages, you create more opportunities for one-time website visitors to turn into paying customers.
Obtaining new clients can be quite challenging for PR businesses. Take the time to identify your prospective client’s needs through careful research and then take the extra steps to demonstrate how you can help them achieve their goals. In time, they’ll recognize your value and entrust their businesses’ PR matters to you.
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