Smart Marketing Basics


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Add a “Call to Action” When Writing Your Small Business Press Release

Got News?  Then you better be sure to share it with your prospective customers by issuing a press release.  Using public relations and press releases is a smart marketing basic strategy for any small business that needs to increase exposure for its organization, products and services.

Don’t be shy about talking up your montly business wins, including new customers you have brought on board,  new product or service offerings, or special events or trainings you are doing.  There are some key basic ingredients you want to use when it comes to writing press releases – these include:

  • A compelling headline that provides the “so what” value of your news.
  • A clear, concise introductory paragraph that identifies who you are, and provides a quick summary of your news release.
  • A specific value statement or short sentence that states who do you help and how, and why are you better than alternative solutions.
  • A call to action or a next step – what do you want readers to do after reading your announcement.

Let’s focus on that last one – a “call to action”.  This is a critical component of any press release that you write.  Why?  Because the goal of your press release is to get readers interested in what you do, and then take the next step.  Think of it as dating. 

With a potential new prospect, your communications should focus on a specific piece of value.  If you try to tell your entire value proposition all at once, you risk losing your reader’s attention.  You want prospects to get to know you step-by-step.  Your press release content should be clear and concise, so that you get readers interested in knowing more.  Next, you incentivize them with a compelling call to action to keep the dialogue going.

Your call to action can take many forms and does not have cost a lot of money.  By offering up your expertise in a variety of formats, you can get readers to take the next step.  For press releases, some effective examples include:

  • Free webinar or demo – include a link in your press release to a 1-hour webinar to get deeper insights into your solution. 
  • Customer case studies – offer up a case study that readers can download that illustrates how organizations are utilizing your products and services.
  • Whitepaper or solution collateral – provide educational pieces such as whitepapers, brochures or research articles that help to educate your prospects on your offerings.  
  • Survey results – conduct a quick poll or short online survey of your customers on a particular topic, and then share the results for free.
  • Free consultation – schedule 30-minute consultation phone calls for prospects and your sales team or product experts to talk through preliminary questions.

These are just a few examples.  Take a few minutes to brainstorm potential call to action offers that support your business or sales cycle. We would love to hear your ideas in our comments section!

For more help on how to write professional press releases, you can visit our website at www.SMBmarketer.com to view our free smart marketing article series and our low-cost press release templates.

 

 

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Press Release Templates for your Small Business Promotional Campaign

Despite a tough economic climate, it is important that small business marketers continue to invest in promotional activities to create constant demand for their offerings. It is a proven fact that those companies that continue to market themselves while competitors fall to the wayside, do better once the economy recovers.

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. Running a contest is also a great way to bring some fun and excitement to your brand. You can ask your customers to name your next product, or provide a new product idea, or submit a case study.

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.

In the press release example below, we use the fictitious technology software company Dander-Mufflin, to create a press release promoting a free software training class to customers that purchase a new software license within 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 within a concentrated period of time.

See the image below for what this press release might look like.

 The Press Release headline clearly articulates the offer (a free training class) and the specific audience (law firms challenged with records management costs) that the promotion is targeted to. By mentioning the 30-day window in the subhead, you create a sense of urgency with your readers to act right away. Using quotes from company spokespersons also helps to reiterate key points. In this case, company executive, Scott Michael, highlights the retail value of Dander-Mufflin’s free class, which makes the promotional offer more compelling.

There are many free and low-cost press release templates available online 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, and provide step-by-step instructions on how to put your press release messaging together, making it easy for you to follow along.

Remember that marketing your small business must be a continual investment to be effective, and press releases are an easy and affordable part of your ongoing small business marketing plan. For more information on small business marketing, check out our free Smart Marketing Playbook article series.


Advertising Tips for Small Business Marketers

The practice of advertising can seem overwhelming to small business marketers, viewed by most as appropriate only for large corporations with big ad budgets.  Actually, when used properly and in a targeted fashion, advertising can be a powerful tool in the small business marketer’s tool box.  Advertising is designed to build awareness for a particular product or service, and is a cost-effective way to get a consistent message communicated out to a large group of people.  The first step, before pursuing any type of advertising investment, is to define the marketing objectives for your company, and then determine whether advertising is a good fit or not.

A key marketing objective for any small business to promote their thought leadership, or business expertise.  Many small businesses overlook marketing what they do on a daily basis, when in fact, sharing some of their knowledge in a webinar event, or speaking at an industry trade show, can be a great way to showcase the value they provide.  This can be done by hosting and promoting an educational-themed event where company executives or subject matter experts share their industry perspectives.  Another idea is to share a company’s best practices, or customer research findings. 

It does not cost much money to hire a local graphic designer and copy writer to craft a simple, professional ad layout around your “business expertise” content.  Advertising your expertise works well, because readers will respond positively to offers of educational value because, especially when researching new solutions.  Featured ads in targeted publications and websites can be very effective in branding your company as a thought-leader.  Running fractional ads in local business sections of newspapers, or in industry association newsletters, can provide any small business marketer with a lot traction among prospective customers.   

As part of your advertising strategy, be sure to include a compelling “call-to-action” or next step that your prospects can take to get more information.  For example, a link to a recorded event, or an offer for a free white paper, or case study on a topic important to your customers.  Again, targeting print ads in vertical industry magazines or conference programs, or local business journals, as well as online banner ads in those same venues, can be an economical way to get started in advertising.  Just remember to stay focused, and avoid the mass media outlets that reach a broad user profile, such as TV or radio, because those can be very expensive and not very targeted to your audience.

For more information on smart marketing basics, download my free article, Ten Marketing Basics for Your Small Business, located on the SMBmarketer.com website.


10 Tips for Small Businesses Marketers – Keep Press Releases Top of Mind

Hello Small Business Marketers and Entrepreneurs! 

I came across a quick read article from Entrepreneur magazine with features some good basic “to do’s” for any small business trying to navigate through these tough times.  Be sure to check it out at:

A 10-Step Double-Dip Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide http://www.entrepreneur.com/blog/220205

I particularly endorse and recommend Tip #6, Ramp Up Your Marketing.  While other companies might be hunkering down during times of economic uncertainty, you stand to gain a lot by keeping marketing top of mind.  This doesn’t have to be expensive.  I always counsel the small businesses that I speak to that investing regularly in public relations, specifically writing and issuing your own press releases, can pay huge dividends. 

By promoting your daily business activities, including new products and services, special offers, new customer wins, training events, or open houses, you will be able to successfully build your brand and drive traffic to your website.  It’s important to stay active, while your competition sits on the sidelines!

If you would like more information on marketing your small business using press releases, check out this previous blog post, “Three Press Releases to Grown Your Small Business”, http://wp.me/pOYsX-5s


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!



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