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Public Relations Campaign to Help Improve a New Business
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A poor marketing strategy is one of the leading reasons why most businesses fail. It is no wonder that many new enterprises resort to establishing a strong public relations campaign in order to actively advertise and promote their businesses. Public relations are a vital necessity for a company’s success. Without it, entrepreneurs have no outlet to effectively sell their products and services.

Public relations can encompass many different channels, including print and broadcasting media as well as in-store promotional offers. Depending on the type of business, the entrepreneur can decide which public relations outlet will be most useful in establishing the company’s success. Here are a few steps entrepreneurs should follow in order to determine the most efficient manner to promote their company.

1. Define your audience
Every public relations campaign for a new business should first develop a good idea of who their target audience will be. Depending on their products and services, a company can tailor their marketing approach according to the demographical information of their prospective customers. For example, a children’s clothing store can easily target grade school children (ages 8-12) by selling the latest school fashions and accessories. Their newspaper and television ads can primarily focus on contemporary casual school wear with a friendly “back-to-school” theme.

2. Define your competition
The next important step is to identify the competition. Every business has competitors, and it is extremely important for new business owners to thoroughly study their opposition so they can work aggressively to “outdo” them. Such information can be obtained by visiting their opponent’s websites and by studying their different marketing materials and pricings. For example, a car wash that is located two blocks away offers new customers 15% off their deluxe wash. Entrepreneurs can have a competitive edge by offering their existing customers 20% off as an incentive to stay loyal, and they can recruit new customers by advertising large posters at local gas stations.

3. Determine your advertising budget
After identifying the target audience and any major competitors, entrepreneurs are now faced with determining the most effective way to publicize their business. Advertising a new business is not a cheap endeavor. The entrepreneur should establish how aggressive their approach will be in winning over potential customers and how much they can afford to pay for their marketing strategy. For example, if an entrepreneur of a small flower shop can only afford to use print media, they can use their advertising budget towards posters and fliers that can be distributed locally and then use a portion of the budget towards newspaper and magazine ads. If one large ad is too expensive, they may opt to place smaller ads in newspapers and magazines more frequently.

4. Self vs. hired professionals
Once an advertising budget is determined, the entrepreneur can now decide whether they will need the help of a public relations specialist to promote their company. There are many “cheaper” alternatives rather than hiring a public relations specialist, including the use of newspaper advertisements, posters, direct-mail notices, blogs, etc. to lure prospective customers.

On the other hand, a skilled public relations specialist can easily provide more aggressive methods of publicity. Since they will most likely have proven experience in the given field of industry, they can effectively convey accurate information to the target audience through more outlets, including local and national television commercials, in-store item positioning and sales, and various packaging styles and techniques in order to gain new and repeated customers. A public relations firm can also help devise many suitable topics for public relation statements, including announcements, communicating a change, stating an opinion, or revealing a finding.

The following ideas can be used to develop effective public relations for a new business:

1. Media outlets
There are different kinds of media outlets which business owners depend on to promote their enterprises. Print media refers to any image or text that can be produced on paper or on objects. Posters, brochures, catalogs, daily newspapers, business journals, fliers, and newsletters are some forms of print media. It can also comprise of billboard advertisements and items which contain company letterhead and promotions (i.e. pens, key chains, etc.). For example, a jewelry store can rent billboard space and place their billboard advertisements along busy highways to lure customers, while a local bank can advertise their grand-opening on promotional key chains and pens.

Common broadcasting media include television and radio markets. It is common for many businesses, small or large, to resort to this form of public relations since it provides a fast and efficient method to gain local, regional, and national recognition. Entrepreneurs also like to use this broadcasting approach since it repeatedly reminds listeners of any grand openings or up-coming sales during their normally scheduled television viewing and radio listening times. For example, a department store can choose to advertise their television commercial during the evening news. Throughout that timeslot, many people who are watching the news can also be aware of any sales and in-store promotions the department store chooses to broadcast at that time.

2. Bartering or trade-out
Another successful method of public relations for a new business is the use of bartering. When a company practices bartering (trade-out), they simply exchange their products and services for free radio airtime. Many radio stations benefit from bartering since the products and services can be used for their on-air contest prizes. In the same respect, companies can use this trade-out as a platform to aggressively advertise their company. For example, when a local fitness center barters with a radio station, they can exchange several free three-month memberships to their gyms for every 5 commercials that the radio station plays. Bartering is certainly an effective means of advertising for both parties involved.

3. Get the management team involved
A company’s management team can play a very vital role in the success of a business. They, too, should be part of a company’s public relations campaign. Entrepreneurs are encouraged to inform their management team of the progress of their company’s sales and even get them involved when brainstorming different ideas to increase overall transactions of their offered products and services. The management team can greet customers when they enter the store and inform them of any free trial periods currently offered. Management can even pass out different sample products in the storefront in order to entice potential customers. A perfect example of the management approach to marketing can be found in any local mall. On a typical weekend, one may discover that their local mall ice cream shop has a new flavor. To promote this new ice cream flavor, the company’s staff members can simply offer free edible samples to different people passing by and even give discounts to those who purchase a cone or sundae of the new flavor.

4. Network through existing customers
Existing customers serve as an essential component for a company’s success. If a customer is pleased with the products and services offered, they can simply converse with others about their delight in a company. This positive word of mouth is transferable and a good way to gain prospective customers. Companies can also offer their existing customers promotions or rewards for helping them recruit new patrons to their business. For example, a residential management team can offer monthly rent discounts to new tenants who agree to sign a one year lease with them. Not only do the new residents save money, but existing customers who refer family members and friends can also receive continual rent discounts.

5. Always position yourself as an expert
Customers always feel a degree of satisfaction and comfort in knowing their inquiries were addressed by an expert. Therefore, it is vital for business owners, their management team, and staff to establish themselves as specialists in their chosen field. They should know everything about their products and services and be ready to answer even the most detailed inquiry with confidence. For example, a college-aged, health conscious customer went to three different health food stores looking for a particular grain that is high in protein and fiber (called quinoa). In all three stores, the staff had no idea what she was referring to or had never heard of the word before. Discouraged, she went to a final location to find this product. She was amazed to learn from the sales clerk that not only did they carry this product, but that he was also able to provide background information about the product and of the different varieties available. This customer was so pleased by her encounter that she not only referred her friends to shop at this store but she also remained a loyal repeat customer for many years.

6. Website development
Another way new businesses can gain customers is through the use of their website. A professional-looking, user-friendly company website can have a competitive edge among others since many people enjoy the convenience of shopping online. Many companies can further raise their profile by employing the help of a professional webmaster for search engine optimization and affiliate posting to increase the flow of online traffic to their company website. For example, if someone is looking to buy fine silverware and dishware, they can simply type “fine silverware and china” during a web search and will instantly find sites that exclusively sell these products. In addition, there is great marketing value when a company decides to post their advertisements on affiliate sites and vice versa. By linking different sponsors and associates on a company’s website, entrepreneurs can easily raise their recognition since they can be listed on many different sites.

7. Community involvement and public speaking
A new company can boost their profile by participating in several non-profit organizations and community-related services. First, a business owner should identify some local causes they may find worthwhile and promote their business in the process. For example, the owner of a trendy women’s boutique can decide to become involved in breast cancer awareness and research. Through active participation of high-profile community marathons, bake sales, and events, the entrepreneur can gain recognition, especially if they advertise they are a sponsor. In the same respect, the entrepreneur can also speak out during public events about breast cancer awareness as well as donate a portion of any item that was bought in their boutique towards breast cancer research. This type of public relations can be beneficial for both parties since community involvement was an effective way to raise money and awareness for the company and for cancer research.

Public relations are extremely important for a company’s success. They can include everything from networking through existing customers to active participation of community-related activities as well as targeting the assistance of television and radio to advertise their company. If a company decides that the broadcast media is the most effective outlet to improve their business, they can write a press release to a local newspaper to make an announcement. They can also seek the assistance of a public relations firm who can conjure different topics for all public relations statements. If done properly, a public relations campaign can add to the popularity, profitability, and trustworthiness of a new business.

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