The Dark Side of Smartphones Today’s Quote: I like to hang out with people who make me forget to look at my phone. Although the smartphone is one of the most amazing devices ever invented, it does have a dark side. Walk into any restaurant and you’ll see people out to eat as a family, [...]Continue Reading
Posts Tagged “public relations”
Yeah. Yeah. We know you’re “excited” about the news! You’ve all seen this before… “We are thrilled to have…” “We are so excited to be working with…” Guess what? I have a little secret for you – we already know you are excited and thrilled with the news. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be distributing a press [...]Continue Reading
How a Mother of Four Turned her Quest for Saving into a New Business If you are a struggling entrepreneur who is trying to take care of your family, save money and be a rock star business owner, you’ll love this story. Meet Pamela Davis. When her grocery bills skyrocketed, she decided to do something [...]Continue Reading
Is your PR program helping your small business succeed? If you just launched a new business and want to build buzz fast, or you are a struggling small business owner who needs to increase sales right away, try these… 3 Public Relations Tips for Your Small Business to Boost Sales and Awareness Now! 1. Post [...]Continue Reading
Are You Getting the PR Reports Necessary for Success? By Melanie Rembrandt For many years, it was very difficult to show the results of a public relations, or PR, campaign. After all, you could spend hours on the phone pitching media members and not see any results. Plus, due to the nature of public relations, [...]Continue Reading
3 Questions To Ask About Your Current, PR and SEO services I get many referrals from business owners who spent a fortune on a top, PR firm or search engine optimization, SEO, services without seeing any results. They spent a lot of money purchasing “well known” services, and now they are weary of hiring another [...]Continue Reading
It’s Spring! Time to refresh your PR activities and take action Woo Hoo! It’s finally spring and a time for fresh beginnings – for you and your business. Why not start this season by renewing your relationships with the media and telling targeted producers, editors and journalists about your company’s latest news? But, what’s that? [...]Continue Reading
What are you doing to increase credibility at your small business? By Melanie Rembrandt Are people saying bad things about your small business online? Do negative comments appear at the top of the search engines when you do a search for your business name? Well, instead of sitting back and watching your sales and credibility [...]Continue Reading
Save Money and Get Better Results with your PR Efforts If you look on the Internet, you will see some horrible press releases. And the businesses that distributed them probably thought they would be inundated with media and sales inquiries as soon as the press releases went live. Has this happened to you? If so, [...]Continue Reading
We all know that communicating with your associates, customers and team members is a key to success, but with taxes, events, monthly meetings, and everything else going on at your organization right now, your communications efforts may be lagging. Here are three, key questions to ask yourself to help stay on track with your business [...]Continue Reading
Today’s technology allows small businesses to build awareness online cost-effectively. Traditional public relations (PR) activities such as developing story ideas, talking to media members and promoting various events are important. But if you are not combining these activities with technological advancements, you are missing out on excellent opportunities to build buzz and increase sales. You [...]Continue Reading
It’s always nice to see a traditional business go online and be successful. That’s what happened to Dr. Dhavid Cooper and Guy Hodgson of FramesDirect.com, www.framesdirect.com. They moved the process of buying eyeglasses and sunglasses from a brick-and-mortar location into an online success, selling over 1,000,000 pairs of glasses since 1996. Let’s find out how they did it from Dr. Cooper…
Tell us why you started FramesDirect.com.
Dr. Guy Hodgson and I had been in practice operating several offices in Houston since 1986. We’d worked very hard at developing these practices over a nine-year period and wanted to take a break from practice and from business for a while. In 1994, the opportunity arose to sell all the offices, which we did. We then took a year off. During this time off, I did some practice-management seminars throughout the world, traveled and self-published a book called “101 Secrets of a Million Dollar Office.”
A year later, in 1996, Dr. Hodgson and I got together to figure out what our next venture was going to be. We decided that whatever the venture was, it had to operate 24/7 and have the ability to serve a national market. These were the primary parameters at the time. We didn’t know what it would be or how we were going to do it. We then set up office space with a refracting lane and optical dispensary on the third floor of a six-story building, rather than at street level or near a shopping area. We did this intentionally to force ourselves to think and get imaginative.
In 1996, the Web was in its infancy, and I had just learned about Windows 95 from my brother. I found it quite intriguing. I got a copy of Microsoft Front Page and taught myself how to create a Web page and put 10 sunglass images online. We had formed a new company, Frames For America, Inc., under which we were going to evolve the new idea(s), but I wanted something shorter and snappier. One day, I happened to be looking at box of paper I’d received from a company called Paper Direct. Within minutes, Frames Direct was born.
The overall goal was to somehow provide round-the-clock eyewear services to the entire nation Remember that at this time, selling anything online was a novelty and very much experimental, much less something as complicated as eyewear.
Someone suggested we register the name as a dot-com, which we did. And FramesDirect.com became official in the latter part of 1996.
You’ve sold 1,000,000 glasses since 1996. What is your secret to this success?
We have absolutely the best customer service team in the industry. All of our customer service reps are certified opticians, experts in the field, who work very hard to make sure our customers get exactly what they want.
Additionally, we go to great lengths to ensure that our Website is easy to use, offers exactly what consumers are looking for and works properly. Having a well structured site that works well helps our consumers find exactly what they’re looking for out of the hundreds of thousands of products we sell, which is another key to our success. Not only do we offer far more eyewear options than you’d find in a local eyewear store, but we have simply the largest eyewear catalog… period.
How have you spread the word about your business?
We drive Website traffic through several different channels, but our primary sources are search engines. We’ve worked very hard to optimize our Website’s pages so that they rank well in Google and other search engines when people go online searching for “eyeglasses” and related terms.
Back when we first launched the site, when the Internet was still fairly new, we wondered about this exact question. If we put a site out there on the Internet how are people going to find it? I started to notice that if I made certain changes to our Web pages it would affect how well or not they showed up in Yahoo! search (this was back before Google). Optimizing Web pages in this way, or doing search engine optimization, is an important part of any online business. But at the time, such a thing didn’t really exist as a formal practice. I was just trying things out to try and pull more traffic from Yahoo! search.
To this day, search engine optimization remains one of our primary strategies for driving traffic to FramesDirect.com.
What marketing tactics have been most successful for you and why?
SEO has been most successful for us, but we also do pay-per-click advertising, email marketing and some re-targeting banner advertising. Currently, we are exploring television advertising as a means to not only get traffic to FramesDirect.com, but to inform consumers at large that buying eyewear online is a viable option. Believe it or not, most people still are not aware of this.
What tips do you have for other online businesses just starting out?
It’s not so hard to launch an ecommerce Website these days, but the bigger question is how you’re going to drive traffic and visitors to your Website. Solve that question first before you get too far into any online business planning. This way, you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and stress.
It’s also important to provide quality services and credible information to your customers. If you think about their needs, rather than just making a profit, you’ll be much more successful. Plus, the search engines will recognize your Website as a place that provides valuable content, and you’ll receive higher rankings.
Thanks for the great insights Dr. Cooper! If you’d like to find out more about FramesDirect.com, visit their site here. And for more information to help you with your PR and SEO activities, please write to me below or at www.rembrandtwrites.com.
It’s always nice to see a traditional business go online and be successful. That’s what happened to Dr. Dhavid Cooper and Guy Hodgson of FramesDirect.com, www.framesdirect.com. They moved the process of buying eyeglasses and sunglasses from a brick-and-mortar location into an online success, selling over 1,000,000 pairs of glasses since 1996. Let’s find out how [...]Continue Reading
If you are an entrepreneur or just trying to get some publicity for a new business and haven’t had any luck with reporters, you may want to stop and review your process. There are three, key things to do before pitching a media member. Conduct research. Are you just sending a press release or a [...]Continue Reading
If you are worried about finances and slow sales at your business, it’s not the time to reduce your PR, SEO and marketing budgets. It’s time to increase them! While these areas may not seem important to the core of your business, it’s essential to put more money, time and effort into them… especially when [...]Continue Reading
While many new entrepreneurs still think “PR” means “press release” instead of “public relations,” or that public relations is all about sending out press releases, this is only a small part of the big picture. Today, public relations represents getting your message out to the right people at the right time in the right format… [...]Continue Reading
Have you ever been to a conference and met someone who has done something really interesting with their life? Well, recently I sat down to lunch with complete strangers, and the lady sitting next to me decided to start her own business. But she didn’t start just any business. She started Wild Rainbow African Safaris [...]Continue Reading
Spring is here, and it’s time to take action before the “slow days of summer” arrive (when you’d rather be outside than behind your desk). With this in mind, what actions are you going to take right away to make things happen with your PR and search engine optimization (SEO) activities? Here are 3 ideas [...]Continue Reading
Your phone rings off the hook. Your Inbox is flooded with requests. Your schedule is packed. When you can’t take on any more clients and you can set whatever fees you want because you are booked solid with work, this is called a “happiness problem.” And while it can be wonderful to have all this [...]Continue Reading
As a small business owner, you may think it’s impossible to get a big, feature story about your company in one of your favorite publications, especially if you don’t have the money to hire a publicist. And while a publicist has the skills to build buzz and cultivate relationships with the media, it is possible [...]Continue Reading
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