Smart Marketing Basics


How Social Media Can Improve Small Business Marketing

Need a few tips on how social media can improve entrepreneurship?  Well, I can point you to 98 of them! 

I recently contributed to another article put together by Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, which collected quick tips from several small business marketing experts to create an article titled, “How Social Media Can Improve Entrepreneurship“.  Be sure to check out this article; my contributed tip is #60 out of the 98 total (read tip below).

#60.  Combine Blogging and Twitter for a Double-Whammy
Entrepreneurs must market their expertise, and a great way to do this is with a blog.  Blogs get found by search engines, driving traffice to your site.  each post can easily be broadcast via Twitter earning you more followers and business leads.

Remember, a “must-do” small business marketing strategy is to leverage your own content and industry expertise to build awareness for what you do, and the value  you can provide.  Tactical examples include creating customer case studies, hosting educational webinars, and speaking at industry events (see my previous blog post about this).  Each of these events is worthy of writing and issuing a press release.

Writing press releases doesn’t have to difficult or costly, as there are many good templates available to help you get started.  What is important is to get the message right – your press release must be written in a professional manner to be clear, concise and compelling.  For more help on the topic of press release templates, check out my previous blog post, Five Fast Tips, and check out our templates available at SMBmarketer.com.


Five Fast Tips for Writing Press Releases

In today’s world of fast, instant communication, the effective writing of press releases seems to becoming a lost art!  The new communication tools found in social media tools, such as Facebook and Twitter, certainly encourage more sharing of information, but  they don’t necessarily encourage thoughtful message strategy before your start writing your latest tweet or post. 

Whenever I  work with small businesses, they easily acknowledge that they should be using press releases to market their small business (see my previous post on this topic), but it is hard for them to get started.  Without an easy-to-follow blueprint or press release template, as well as simple inertia, and then competing demands of running their business, small business marketers can find it hard to make fast progress. 

Here are 5 fast and easy tips for any business manager or entrepreneur that is trying to get started:

1) Templates:  Don’t reinvent the wheel, or try to become a PR expert overnight.  The trick is to find some basic templates that will walk you step-by-step through the press release writing process.  If a small business marketer can get 80% of the way there in drafting a release, they will be successful.  There are lots of free and low-cost templates, both available that can help any marketer get started.  Simply do a google search on “sample press release” or “press release templates” and lots of resources will come up. 

2) Newsy, Meaty Headlines:  Be sure you feature the news of your announcement in your headline.  Your headline must identify with the reader fast, and provide a “so what” factor, or explain why this is news.  Your headline should be short and sweet, and convince the reader to continue on.

3) Sticky Introduction:  Make sure your 1st paragraph is a short, to the point summary of your news, in 50 words or less.  Your first paragraph should succinctly state exactly what you are announcing (don’t pussy-foot around, or you will lose readers’ interest).   Follow it up with who should care about this (your target audience) and why should they care (your value proposition), and how this will improve your readers’ lives (the business problem that you are solving for them). 

4) Call to Action:  Rather than try to tell the entire story, your press release should provide just enough information to get the reader interested, and then offer a “next step”.  This is called the call-to-action.  You should feature the call to action early on in the release, and later on as a wrap up.  Remember, tell your readers what they should do next.  For example, “ACME Corporation announces a new version of its Office Manager software that helps office managers and payroll specialists to track and manage time cards online, saving them time over paper-based payroll time cards.  Sign up for our free demonstration webinar by going to […insert your URL here..].”

5) Customer or Industry Quotes:  Give your news credibility by including customer quotes or thoughts from an industry analyst.  Readers shouldn’t just take your word for it, so back up your value statements and claims by getting a customer to comment on how appealing your product or service is, or by getting a subject matter expert from your industry to validate that the problem you are solving is an important one.

These are just a few tips to help you get started writing press releases.  More free small business marketing insights are available in our educational Smart Marketing Playbook article series at SMBmarketer.com. 

BTW, SMBmarketer.com offers the Press Release Tutor templates, which provide an interactive method that asks basic questions about your business, then takes your answers, and turns them into professional releases instantly.  You define your company messaging, and the Press Release Tutor walks you through how to create a press release in 5 easy steps. You can check it out at SMBmarketer.com.


Boost Your Small Business Brand with a Promotion or Community Program

I was recently asked by Toilet Paper Enterpreneur to contribute to a collaborative blog article that sought to collect a variety of quick tips on how to give your brand a boost.  Here’s the quick tip that I submitted:

Run A Promotion Or Fun ContestIf you want to bring some fun and excitement to your brand fast, then run a creative promotion or host a contest. You can ask your customers to name your next product, or provide a new product idea, or submit a case study. Result = loyal customers!

You can see the complete list of tips, 86 in total, by going to the complete blog post lcoated at:  http://www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com/branding/tips-for-branding-your-business.  My tip is number 79.

Launching a special promotion or community program is a great way to market your small business, and an excellent opportunity to issue a press release.  Whether you are a small business offering a special promotion, or a local public agency announcing a new community assistance program, announcing this news will drive customers or end users to respond to your offer.

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on a fancy promotion with advertising slicks and expensive give-aways.  Rather, focus on offering up your business expertise or a trial service offering.  Not only will a promotional program boost your company’s brand, but it can drive sales as well. 

Any special promotion or community program press release should talk to who the promotion is targeted to and the value that your promotion provides.  Your press release should also include specific details such as eligibility requirements if any, and timeframe for the offer.  Always conclude your release by highlighting a compelling call-to-action, or “the next step” that your readers should take after reading your news announcement.

There are many low-cost press release templates available that can help you to easily write a professional release to announce your promotional program.  The Press Release Tutor online template series, from SMBmarketer.com, features 5 different types of press releases, including the “Special Promotion Press Release Template”.  The Press Release Tutor templates reference example press release content for each type of release, to make it easy for you to follow along.

For example, Dander-Mufflin, our fictitious technology software company used in the Press Release Tutor templates, could use a press release to promote a free software training class to customers that purchase a new software license in the next 30 days.  This is a good example of how a company can leverage an existing offering to create a compelling promotion that drives sales.  See the image below for what this press release might look like.

Hope these tips help you in your quest to market your small business!


Press Releases – How to Convince Your Colleagues to use Press Release Marketing

The goal of SMBmarketer.com is to provide simple marketing plans and templates to small business marketers and entrepreneurs who need simple, actionable tools to help them get started in marketing.  Smart Marketing Basics, our blog discusses simple strategies to help small business owners grow their business, while our featured articles provide more insight into the ten smart marketing plays that can help make your business successful.

Previously, our we featured a post called “Press Release Tips for Small Business Marketers” which recommended some free articles on the subjects of common “do’s and don’ts” of pitching your small business to a reporter, and how to use press releases to market your small business.  These are great resources available at no cost to you.  Be sure to check out this post if you have not seen it yet.

I have heard from other marketing professionals that often times they need help convincing their colleagues, business partners, value-added resellers and other key stakeholders they work with, of the importance of Press Release marketing.  While writing press releases to promote your small business is a “no brainer” strategy to many professional marketers, they often times have to influence their corporate peers to support this activity.

To address this request, SMBmarketer.com has introduced a new, low -cost marketing template, a ready-to-use presentation slide deck available today for only $4.95 from our Marketing Templates Library:

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business – A PowerPoint Presentation

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business - PowerPoint Presentation

Using Press Releases to Market Your Small Business

Download this 15-slide presentation on how to use press releases to promote your small business. It talks about how the press release has evolved from being a simple news communication device, to a broader tool that supports your marketing, sales, and search engine optimization efforts.  It illustrates when to use press releases and how they can be used in a variety of ways, in an easy to follow format. 

Get your partners and stakeholders on board immediately to support your press release marketing efforts by downloading and presenting this presentation at your next sales meeting, or online marketing event.  Visit our Marketing Templates Page at: https://www.smbmarketer.com/marketing-plans-and-templates/


Writing Press Releases to Market Your Small Business

Throughout my career as a technology marketing professional, I have spent a lot of time counseling small businesses on effective marketing, and helping them to justify investments in marketing.  Often times, they have tried a tactic or two, without understanding what their overall strategy should be, or how different types of campaigns are designed to bring different types of results.

As a small business owner or marketer, it is key to invest in marketing to promote your product or service.  This does not have to be an overwhelming or costly endeavor, and there are many smart marketing plays that are proven for small business.  You can start by downloading our free “Smart Marketing Playbook” article, Using Press Releases to Promote Your Small Business

Writing press releases to promote each of your business successes is a easy, actionable strategy that can fits any marketing budget.  What results can you expect you ask?  Issuing press releases regularly helps to keep your company top of mind with prospective customers; it builds awareness for what you do, and the value you provide; and it is a “smart marketing play” that can get your company known.

The press release has also evolved, from a simple news announcement sent only to journalists and media outlets, into a powerful marketing tool for organizations of all sizes.  With the Internet and social media venues as prominent communication vehicles for both business and consumer audiences, readers can come across your news in several places, and can take multiple actions after viewing your announcement.  For example:

  1. Press releases can be indexed by Yahoo and Google, and shown in search engine results. 
  2. Press releases can be posted to your company website and optimized with your keyword phrases to improve your search rankings. 
  3. Press releases can be re-tweeted by readers to their followers on Twitter, who share the same interests. 
  4. Press releases can be used by your sales teams as conversation starters on cold calls. 
  5. Press releases can be pushed out to mobile phones, through RSS feeds, and redistributed to news syndication and aggregator sites.
Small business owners and marketers should invest some time each month or each quarter to identify a pipeline of potential news announcements, such as a new customer win, product launch, case study release, speaking or training event, or even a special promotion or community program. 
 
While there are many things to you can talk about, creating the right messaging is essential to a well-written announcement.  You know your business best, but creating a clear and compelling message can be challenging, especially for “non-marketing” professionals.
 
The answer to this dilemma is to find some easy to use press release templates – there are many available, so be sure to do some research to find some tools that are right for your you.   At SMBmarketer.com, we provide a variety of templates to help small business marketers to get started marketing fast.  If you need more help or resources in this regard, you can:
  1. Check out our marketing templates downloads page
  2. Access our Press Release Tutor interactive templates, and
  3. Subscribe to the Smart Marketing Basics blog for continual marketing tips and help.
I invite readers of this post to also share their comments on how press releases have helped them to market their small business.
 
Thanks for reading!
 


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