I spend a lot of time talking with small business owners about how they can get new customers and grow their business. I love hearing about new and innovative ways that companies and business owners have used to market their brand, build some buzz, and get their company in front of the right prospects. While [...]Continue Reading
Archive for “Launch Your Business”
Recently, I spoke to the CEO of Your Dollar Matters, Inc., http://www.theformtool.com, Bob Christensen. As a successful, small business owner who deals with other entrepreneurs in accounting, case management and HR on a regular basis, he is getting the word out about his business and increasing sales via public relations efforts. Here are his insights…
Why did you start Your Dollar Matters?
As a significant purchaser of professional services, particularly from lawyers and accountants, I was often disappointed by the agreements and documents that constituted their final product, which were usually just cut-and-paste hatchet jobs in Word, regurgitations of documents created 20 years ago and reused 1000 times since.
I wanted to provide the market with the kind of professional, form-based product I expected rather than what I was getting. While I don’t mind paying well for expert guidance and advice, compensating someone hundreds of dollars an hour for laboriously tweaking documents they’ve written 100 times before strikes me as ludicrous. I’ll gladly pay by the gram for brains, but not by the pound for the words!
With Your Dollar Matters, we saw an opportunity to do well by doing good: good for professionals who are yoked to their clocks; good for clients who want lower prices and better service; even good for “the system” by improving courthouse and bureaucratic productivity, too, by giving taxpayers a more efficient bang for the buck.
What advice do you have for others starting a new business?
Figure out who needs a better mousetrap then build one that is exponentially better than the best. Before you launch, though, figure out how you’re going to convince your market that it actually needs your better device.
Because, as it should, the market only cares about one question, “What’s in it for me?” A successful entrepreneur needs to have an overwhelmingly convincing answer to that question.
How are you getting the word out about your business and why?
Times have changed. Traditional paid media is fading fast. Consumers, including business consumers, have instant access to what I think of as “crowd experience,” reports on product experiences from users in near real-time.
Our biggest decision was to adopt a “Freeconomics” business model similar to what Facebook, Pandorajam and Twitter have done, where a small minority of users pay for the service while the vast majority get it for free. (Note: “Freeconomics” is a strategy outlined by Chris Anderson in his 2009 bestseller, “Free: The Future of a Radical Price.”) We expected that decision would help us build a user base fast, to which we could later turn for word of mouth (or keyboard), product reviews, testimonials and paid upgrades.
Three of the unexpected consequences of that decision were fascinating. First, overnight TheFormTool found an international following among people who need document assembly on a regular basis. Second, because people could actually count on a real product and a real lifetime license for absolutely free, they stepped up to decisions they otherwise might not have. Finally, the incredibly rapid adoption into other industries – contractors, estimators, environmental engineers, insurance and a dozen others – is possible because people could justify giving TheFormTool a chance because of the low-risk threshold of their decision.
What marketing and publicity strategies have worked so far and why?
As buyers, we all look for the Amazon ratings or online ratings in other virtual stores. We trust those masses of anonymous, prior purchasers. With TheFormTool, our task was to develop a respectably-sized user base just as fast as possible and to give users an opportunity to crow or complain about our product and service.
Now, ordinary people really can assemble the smartest documents™ in the world and they do, easily – the feedback and chatter were stellar. After awhile, the professionals started noticing the chatter, and we began to have opportunities to help them with editorial content, which provided free media coverage, which fed the virtuous circle.
What do you plan to do in the areas of PR and marketing in the future to build awareness and why?
Our job is to expand the user base and continually enhance document-assembly users’ experience so that they come to the point where the reasons for buying are just overwhelming. The best way to do that is to share current users’ experience with the interested public.
That translates into tightly focused attention on our primary vertical markets. We’ll work with PR professionals to identify those markets and to seek and exploit opportunities for press attention within them.
Why is public relations important to your overall, business goals right now?
We want TheFormTool to become as ubiquitous as pen and paper once were. For that, we need awareness among 100 million or more potential, document-assembly purchasers of their need for increased productivity.
We need everyone to agree with us that it’s time for documents to start thinking on their own, for promissory notes to be smart enough to compute their own payments and for a contractor’s bid form to fill itself out, correctly and instantly. Public relations is the most efficient way to accomplish these goals.
What PR and marketing tips do you have for other, new business owners?
Build a story just as fast as possible, but remember that the best stories are not about you or your company. The very best stories are about users and customers. They’re the ones that are reinventing the world.
Thanks for the information Bob. Hopefully, your insights will help other small business owners with their PR and marketing activities.
How about you? Do you have marketing and PR tips for other entrepreneurs? Please write to me below or visit my site at www.rembrandtwrites.com for more information.-->
Recently, I spoke to the CEO of Your Dollar Matters, Inc., http://www.theformtool.com, Bob Christensen. As a successful, small business owner who deals with other entrepreneurs in accounting, case management and HR on a regular basis, he is getting the word out about his business and increasing sales via public relations efforts. Here are his insights… [...]Continue Reading
If you are a copywriter or small business owner researching SEO (search engine optimization) keywords for your business, it can be overwhelming. You’ll find tons of words via the search engines, Google Analytics, social media efforts, and more. With this in mind, here are… 3 Questions to Ask to Avoid SEO Keyword Stress! 1. What [...]Continue Reading
In recent weeks, I have been using examples of dating and attending a party in my writing. Keeping up with the same social theme, today, I am going to talk about first impressions. First impressions are considered crucial, if not critical in both life and business. Whenever, one meets someone new in biz or anywhere [...]Continue Reading
Business owners beware! Facebook has changed the game again, and this time the change involves your business! On March 1st, 2012, Facebook rolled out Facebook Pages (otherwise known as Timeline) for businesses, brands and organizations. All business pages will be converted to this new format automatically on March 30th, 2012. You can choose to have your [...]Continue Reading
You just spent a lot of time, effort and money creating an e-mail campaign. But when you sent it out, a ton of people unsubscribed, you received complaints and no one purchased your new product. It was a failure. But don’t despair! Use this opportunity to learn from your mistakes, and to create a more [...]Continue Reading
If you have ever seen a group of people suddenly start dancing in the mall, noticed a barrage of bumper stickers covering surfaces downtown, or been attracted to an unusual display in a shop window or on a street corner, you have experienced guerilla marketing. This strategy, which is touted as a low-cost, high-impact alternative [...]Continue Reading
As a small business owner, you are probably inundated with news about the latest, social media trends. There is facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and more. Do you have this feeling that you should get involved with it but just aren’t sure? Well, here are… 3 Ways to Know Whether or Not You Should Get [...]Continue Reading
If you are like me, your smartphone has become your window to the world, both for your personal life and for your business. I have had both and Android phone and an iPhone and I have to say I liked them both! In fact I have to admit I liked my Android phone a little [...]Continue Reading
Last week I moved my home office. I am still at home, but just in a new place. When I first started my business, I took over an alcove on the first floor. For a little over a year, I called this tiny space home. Recently, I outgrew my alcove. That coupled with my kids’ [...]Continue Reading
The Top 3 Reasons Why The Media Is Not Calling You
- They won’t unless you call them.
Have you reached out to media members to introduce yourself and your new business? If not, how are they supposed to know you exist?
Take the time to make a list of specific media members you want to contact. Then, call introduce yourself. Tell them who you are and the benefits your new business has to offer. Most important, let them know that you can act as a resource for future stories in your area of expertise.
Keep it short and sweet and ask them if you can send them news about your business. The worst they can say is “No,” but at least they’ll know who you are and you’ve started a media relationship. And if you are nervous about calling media members, start with a small, local publication and move up to more important and larger media venues after you’ve had a little practice on the phone.
- You don’t care about them.
When you contact a media member, you’ve got to think about what’s in it for them and provide information they can actually use. If you simply talk about how great your business is and all the product features you have to offer, you will hear crickets chirping or a dial tone.
However, if you think about how you can offer valuable information to a media member that he or she can actually use, you’ll be more likely to from a lasting relationship with that person. By creating a reputation of always providing interesting and current information, over time, media members will want to call you for future stories.
3. You haven’t done your research.
When you contact a media member, do you have a specific story in mind that relates to his or her target market?
If not, you need to do more research. Before contacting a media member, you should know what that person writes about (his or her beat), read their previous stories and learn about their audience. Then, you need to use this information to develop a unique story idea specifically for that media member.
Do not send a blanket media pitch to a huge list of media members!
Yes, this is easy to do, and you may get a few, media nibbles from your efforts, but if you want to develop long-lasting relationships with the media and get fantastic stories written about your business, take the time to do your research.
After all, if you were a member of the media, would you want to talk to someone who has an interesting and unique pitch just for you or read a “template” e-mail you know was sent to many, other reporters?
Do What it Takes to Make Your Phone Ring.
You may think your new business deserves press, and media members will just start calling you. But this is just not going to happen unless you are already well-known. Getting good publicity for your new business takes time and effort.
Conduct the appropriate research and learn about specific media venues, reporters, producers, and bloggers before making contact. Develop specific pitches and think about how you can help media members do their jobs. By doing so, you’ll become a respected expert that media members will want to speak to, and your phone will start ringing!
For additional help with your SEO copywriting and publicity efforts, please contact me below or at www.rembrandtwrites.com.-->
Yes! You just started your new business, and customers are starting to arrive at your door and visit your Website, but you haven’t heard from the media. Why aren’t they calling you? Well, here are… The Top 3 Reasons Why The Media Is Not Calling You They won’t unless you call them. Have you reached [...]Continue Reading
It’s Girl Scout cookie time and you don’t have to go out of your way to find a group of girls in green uniforms with a table full of colorful cookie boxes and sweet smiling faces asking if you want to buy a box or two or three. From the outside, these girls may look like [...]Continue Reading
Overwhelmed with SEO Options? There are many choices available when it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, and you probably have many questions: Should you do your own SEO or hire a firm? Is SEO worth it? Will you be able to get to the top of the search engines? With all of the [...]Continue Reading
I’ve found a new addiction on the Internet; it’s Pinterest. And it appears that I’m not the only one that’s addicted to this amazing website. With close to 12 million active visitors in the US per month Pinterest just happens to be the newest “big thing” in the social media world. In case you haven’t [...]Continue Reading
Last weekend I went to a local farmer’s market to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables. As I visited the different businesses exhibiting at the market, I couldn’t help but put on my marketing hat. After all that’s what I do! My biggest observation was that while all of the businesses were there to sell [...]Continue Reading
If you are an SEO copywriter, love technology, or just don’t like dealing with people, you may be using e-mail too much and missing out on some important opportunities and communications. If you haven’t picked up the phone in some time, here are… 5 Reasons to Use the Phone Instead of E-mail 1. You have [...]Continue Reading
I’ve made many mistakes in business as a business owner the last 20 years. There was a time in the beginning when I thought that I had all of the time in the world. But now I feel like I can’t afford the luxury of wasting precious time anymore by making costly mistakes. If you’re [...]Continue Reading
Are you an entrepreneur handling every aspect of your new, small business? If so, you are probably writing all of your marketing materials and Website copy. While you may not be able to afford a professional, search engine optimization (SEO) copywriter yet, there are some things you can do to improve your copy… and they [...]Continue Reading
Last summer, I was working with a client and she was bubbling over with excitement about Pinterest. While 6 months ago, Pinterest was relatively unknown to many people, as of last month it is now a TOP 10 social media network. That’s right – TOP 10. Are you Pinterest-ed yet? Pinterest is basically a visual [...]Continue Reading
Today, the world of public relations (PR) and search engine optimization (SEO) runs at the speed of light. You need to write, optimize, send, and monitor press releases quickly to keep up with news and the competition. In addition, your site needs to have the right SEO keywords and coding in place to be noticed [...]Continue Reading