By: Sonia Prashar, @soniaprashar Founder & Principal, spPR Inc.
Public relations (PR) is a great, and inexpensive, tool to generate awareness for your product or service, especially when your company is just starting out. In fact, PR is less expensive than advertising and depending on the amount of personal effort you want to put in, PR can even be free. Yet, many small business owners remain unaware of the benefits of PR and how it can help to increase sales leads. As moms, our lives are hectic enough juggling the everyday work-life pressures and being a mom in business can be even more challenging.
The good news is that you don’t need to be superwoman to grow your business while also managing a healthy work-life balance. Here are four ways small business owners and moms in business with limited budgets can use PR to market their products or services and engage customers with their brands:
1) Develop a catchy elevator pitch
Have you ever asked someone “So, what do you do?” only to get a less than enthusiastic response that abruptly ends that conversation trail? The best elevator pitches are short and sweet and hook your audience with a compelling fact or offer. Since you should be ready to promote your business at any given opportunity, it’s important that you spend the time to devise a convincing pitch.
2) Exhaust the local client base
There are so many opportunities to increase your sales locally, so before you consider market expansion, ask yourself, “Have I done everything I can to tap into the local customer base?”
Consider reaching out to local media to have your business featured, as they are always interested in the unique stories of small businesses. Let them try your product or service for free, too. For instance, if you are being featured on a TV morning show, provide audience members with free samples, or offer it as a contest prize to radio stations.
Also, look for opportunities to showcase your brand at local events. Are you in food service? Consider a booth or food truck during a summer concert series or popular county fair to help promote your company. Are you a new tech firm looking to grow your business by recruiting the top local talent? Why not sponsor a competition challenging students at local post-secondary institutions to develop an app that solves a particular real-world issue?
3) Get social…online
When done right, social media has the power to help create paths to new customers – even new markets – for your business. The problem is that business owners don’t often have the necessary time to invest in creating an effective social media plan. So instead, we are presented with irregular blog posts, random status updates, limited content and no responses to our questions posed online.
The fact is, content is king in social media. It’s what incites conversations, encourages sharing and ultimately, helps to grow your audience. That’s why a content marketing strategy is essential to an effective social marketing plan.The key is to know who your target audience is before developing a content plan.
4) Start talking by securing speaking opportunities
One way to gain credibility within a field and to ultimately be seen as a thought leader is through public speaking opportunities. You don’t need to be Steve Jobs to give an effective presentation, but you do need compelling content and unique insights to share. Start by connecting with local business organizations, the board of trade and executive programs offered at post-secondary schools to find out what speaking opportunities are available.
These four tips are simply a taste of how PR can be used to generate new business leads. Based on your company’s objectives, having a solid PR plan in place can help open the doors to a slew of new ideas and exciting opportunities to grow your business. Get started today by determining what it is that you want to accomplish through PR efforts so that you can develop an effective PR plan.
Tweet your PR questions to Sonia at: @soniaprashar
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