The StartupNation Blog Trends, tips and real-life anecdotes from industry experts

Archive for “Get More Sales”

Secrets to Accelerating Your Business Success

As a business owner, I love being my company’s “evangelist.” I get huge kicks from educating and exciting people about becoming a customer. But frankly, there’s an even more important—though arguably less exhilarating—aspect to closing new business. We call it, the art of follow up.   My feelings about this were confirmed and further fueled [...]

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Startled by the Media?

As Halloween approaches, you’ll see spooky ghosts, goblins and monsters everywhere. But for many of us, the real scare comes from talking to media members. If picking up the phone to pitch a reporter gives you the chills, here are three simple tips to make the experience less frightful: 1. Prepare. Before calling a reporter, know [...]

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Are People Reading Your Blog?

Many new clients tell me that they have a blog, but no one is reading it. Other clients ask me if they need a blog. Well, if you have a blog, or are wondering if you need one, you may have these questions: • What’s the point? Before you start writing, figure out why you want [...]

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Celebrity Product Placement: The Do’s and Don’ts

As the “royalty” status of Hollywood stars has risen, so has their effectiveness as key influencers in consumer purchasing behaviors. Celebrity product placement is considered an “influencer-marketing” approach for helping brands increase their competiveness in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Marketers and small business owners can harness that power through strategic product placement opportunities that have [...]

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Is Your Web Site Playing This Song?

With the popularity of performance shows like “Fame,” “Glee,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Dancing with the Stars,” etc., it got me thinking. Ever see some of the performers warm up singing, “Mi, Mi, Mi…?” Well, this could be the theme song on many of the Web sites I review these days! Do You [...]

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The Case for Social Media

This video does all the talking… [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIFYPQjYhv8[/youtube]   To make sure you’re leveraging this trend to its fullest, be sure you check out StartupNation’s new e-Report: Blast Through the Recession with Social Media, Mobile Marketing & More There are certain level points and junctions in business and the social media revolution we are in the midst [...]

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Interview with High-End Fashion Designer Shy Figaro

Recently, I received some interesting information from a small business owner who is pursuing his passion, and thought I would share his tips with you. Meet Shy Figaro, a successful, high-end fashion designer and entrepreneur. Tell us about your business and why you started it. I’m fascinated about beauty and elegance, and believe that fashion [...]

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3 More Free Publicity Tools

Since many of you commented on my last blog entry, here are three more free tools to help you with your small business PR activities: 1. Help a Reporter Out PR Pro Peter Shankman set up this great site at http://www.helpareporter.com/. Simply enter your name and e-mail information. And each day, you’ll receive a list [...]

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3 Free Publicity Tools

On an earlier blog entry, I gave you this list of free, press-release posting sites, http://www.rembrandtwrites.com/FreePressReleasePostingSites.htm. But are you using these free tools to build buzz and sales too? Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Add the keywords people search for online, and you can significantly increase site visitors and sales. And there are free services [...]

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Why Do You Need a Copywriter?

If you are tempted to save money and write your own marketing materials and website copy, please stop and think about it. Although copywriters may be expensive, they can help you: – Optimize conversion rates; – Build credibility; – Reach targeted audiences; – Increase search engine placements; – Assist you with your overall, Web architecture; [...]

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Interview with Cynthia Good of PINK-Part 2

Last week, we talked to Cynthia Good, CEO, founding editor and co-owner of the award-winning PINK Magazine, www.PINKmagazine.com. PINK reaches more than two million professional women every year and has raised more than $60,000 for nonprofits benefiting women and girls. Here’s more from my exclusive interview with the inspiring and successful business owner: What are [...]

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The Hymn Project Finds a Niche-Part One

Do you have an idea for a great, niche product or service but think it’s already available? You may be able to start a great business with your idea. Check out this interview with Tasha Golden who helped to create “The Hymn Project,” www.thehymnprojectCDs.com. What is The Hymn Project? “The Hymn Project” is a 7-CD [...]

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Are You Guilty of These 3 Web Sins?

Whether you are creating a new Web site or reviewing the one you already have, there are three key factors to keep in mind. Are you guilty of these three Web site sins? 1. Visitors can’t get the information they need. This is pretty obvious, but often overlooked. It can be enticing to use fancy videos, [...]

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StartupNation on ABC News Now, helps an entrepreneur in need

Tory Johnson, frequent reporter on ABC’s Good Morning America show and anchor of the ABC NewsNow series focusing on careers asked for a little StartupNation love recently. One of her faithful fans, Natalie, of ChicSweets, asked for ideas about how to move her business forward on a variety of levels, especially in the transition from part-time [...]

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How to Find and Pitch Media Contacts on Twitter

When you’re on a bootstrap marketing budget, you can never have too many friends in media.  If you don’t have those connections now, there’s still hope.  You just might be able to win a few new media friends with the social media darling, Twitter.  Twitter has been a favorite of the media and public relations professionals since its beginning back in 2006.  The quick, “cut to the chase” 140 micro blogging site is perfect for sending out quick editorial queries, source requests, or soliciting feedback on headlines.  I’ve put together some tips below to help you transform Twitter into the latest weapon in your PR arsenal.

How to Find the Media

One of the easiest ways to find relevant media contacts that cover your beat is to check their current publications.  With the rise of Twitter’s popularity many reporters, journalists, and bloggers are adding their twitter handles to their bylines.  If their twitter contact information isn’t listed, try a search on Twitter itself or one of the many search directories such as Twellow.  Another great resource for finding media on twitter is MediaonTwitter.  The directory is pretty self explanatory and includes a list of over 1,000 contacts from publications such as FOX News, USA Today, Business Week, and many other blogs, radio shows, and regional magazines both in the states and overseas.  With HARO’s Peter Shankman helping promote the list, you know it has to be good. (P.S. Make sure you’re signed up for that too!)

Making Contact

Once you have found contacts handling your beat, jump in there and “follow” them.  It’s also a great opportunity to send a quick tweet to say “Hi” and mention that you” liked their article on __________.”  Nothing overly gushy, but just a quick “Hey, I’m here and sincerely interested in what you have to say…” type of greeting.  If they respond, great!  If not, no big deal.  Either way, this is about building a relationship and not instant gratification.  You have along way to go if you want to “friend” a meaningful media contact.

How to Truly “Follow”

Once you start to gain momentum on Twitter, it can become hard to catch everyone’s tweets in your twitter stream.  This brings me to my love/hate relationship with Twitter.  I love the amazing access to people, information, and culture, but hate the overwhelming nature of it all.  To break it down into smaller portions, I rely heavily on “groups” in Tweetdeck.  This is the best tool I’ve found to ensure that I use my Twitter time productively.  Without these groups, the ADD sets in and I get caught up in all types of random rants, Etsy shopping, and web surfing.  I have a “PR” group that I use to follow all my media contacts.  The result is a perfectly edited tweet stream that allows me to keep up with all my “media friends”.  Check this group regularly and be sure to answer any questions, comment on posts they’ve written, or just mention you had a garden omelet for breakfast too.  Everything helps as you work to build the relationship.

Just remember that friendship should be a two-way street with you listening twice as much as you talk.  In other words, DO NOT spam media contacts repeatedly with self-promoting tweets.  If you do, I guarantee you’ll learn the true meaning of “fail whale” the hard way.

When to Pitch

The best time to pitch is when specifically asked.  For example, when a writer tweets they are looking for sources on “short selling in real estate”, be sure to let her know you’d be glad to answer any questions.  While this is the most obvious time to pitch, it isn’t necessarily the most common situation.  You didn’t think it would be that easy, did you?  More likely, you will be the one initiating the pitch.  If done well, it has a good chance of being well received.  If done poorly, you’ll burn bridges and lose your newfound “friend.”  My best suggestion is to be sincere, concise, and informative.  For example, I sell baby clothes and often design pieces that are inspired by current events.  Recently, I designed some “Little Republican” and “Little Democrat” onesies to celebrate the upcoming election.

In this case, I would send this tweet, “Love ur article “ObamasSenseofStyle”! Election is great 4 biz, our political baby clothes r selling out! Wld love 2 share stats! link.bit.ly”

Please note that the tweet is only 140 characters.  This doesn’t give you much space to sell your story.  The key is to make sure your link seals the deal.  The link that I attach will have all the information regarding the product including a description illustrating the news worthy significance of the product, any celebrity fans or political figure customers, a downloadable 300 dpi picture, interesting customer testimonials, and maybe a counter showing which political party has the highest percent of sales.  Ideally, the goal is to include information that demonstrates the newsworthiness of the product.

Follow-Up for Your “Following”

As with anything in marketing, the follow-up is your key to success.  The same rule applies to your following strategy on Twitter.  If your @ replies go unanswered or if your pitch falls on deaf ears, don’t get discouraged.  Go ahead and send a little reminder if you don’t hear a response back in 24-36 hours.

To continue with my example, I might send the follow-up tweet, “Update! Obama may have style, but McCain has the most sales…Curious if this is an indicator for Election Day??? Is there an upset brewing?”

Regardless of what happens, stay vigilant, courteous, and helpful.  If you can’t help with a story, suggest a contact that might be a great source, re-tweet their posts, and be sure to take your interaction outside of Twitter.  This means commenting on their blogs, reading their books, and adding their blog to your personal blogs “blogroll.”  The more you understand their writing style and interests, the easier it will be for you to craft your pitches.

The Bottom Line

I hope you can see the value in adding Twitter to your PR arsenal.  As always, remember to be respectful of the media and stay on topic, concise, and informative when pitching.  Your good intentions will be rewarded.  Even if you don’t receive press from your intended media contact, you are greatly increasing you odds of being picked up elsewhere.  One of the many lessons I’ve learned in my endless pursuit for publicity is that Google can be your greatest ally.  Google never forgets, and it all but guarantees your publicity efforts won’t be forgotten either.

I’d love to hear your comments below and please be sure to follow me on www.twitter.com/glamajama! Want more DIY PR tips? Sign up here

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When you’re on a bootstrap marketing budget, you can never have too many friends in media.  If you don’t have those connections now, there’s still hope.  You just might be able to win a few new media friends with the social media darling, Twitter.  Twitter has been a favorite of the media and public relations [...]

Continue Reading

The downside of “-ish”

I was recently asked by a strategic partner of StartupNation’s, when’s your site relaunch occurring? My answer was, “End of June-ish”. I realized at that moment, that i was guilty of being an “-ish”. An “-ish”, you ask? It’s the grey area in our brilliant plans. It’s the risky fudge factor that makes us inefficient. [...]

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How Inbound Telemarketing Works

Most people associate telemarketing with outbound sales call centers- a huge room full of employees with headsets on making calls for sales, lead generation, or collecting survey information or donations. But telemarketing also works the other way around. If you don’t have the staff, or language capabilities to support taking calls, inbound telemarketing is a [...]

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