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

Posts Tagged “publicity”

Spring Into New SEO, Sales and PR

Spring is here, and that means it’s the perfect time to start new projects and reach out to potential new clients, media-members and advertisers. Whether you are looking to get a story in the news or boost sales, here are a few tips to help you get things going: 1. Find Your Unique Benefits. What [...]

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10 Budget-Friendly Ways to Market Your Business

Every business owner needs to make the most of their marketing dollars and sometimes thinking outside the box can help you do much more with less.  Here are 10 great ways to market your business without busting your bank account provided by business owners across the country.   I love writing posts like this.  The advice [...]

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5 Creative Marketing Ideas for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is Sunday May 13th, 2012, and is an excellent opportunity to build buzz for your business with some creative marketing! From Mother’s Day Contests to Mother’s Day themed promotions, here are 5 creative Mother’s Day Marketing ideas that will help you bring more customers in your door. 1. Create a Mother’s Day Gift [...]

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Small Business Owner Bob Christensen Gets the Word Out

Recently, I spoke to the CEO of Your Dollar Matters, Inc., http://www.theformtool.com, Bob BobChristensenChristensen. 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.

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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… [...]

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Find Out Why the Media Isn’t Calling You

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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

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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 [...]

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Small Business Marketing Ideas for September

If you’re a business owner looking for some creative marketing ideas, you’ve come to the right place.  Let me tell you something-  If it’s being talked about on the news or on the Internet, then your customers are talking about it too.  Become a part of the conversation with your out-of-the box marketing ideas and [...]

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Choose Words Wisely to Boost Sales

Chocolate. Jewelry. Cards. Ethical Roses. Ahhhh. All nice things for Mother’s Day… Wait, ethical roses? What the heck is an “ethical rose”? Well, that’s exactly what I thought when I was driving home from a meeting and listening to a very interesting radio spot. According to the announcer, we need to buy “ethical roses.” No, [...]

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What To Do After An Interview

You just spoke to a top reporter with a major publication, and the feature story is due out in one month… so what do you do now? Well, I’m sure you would like to yell it from the rooftops and tell everyone you know. But before you do, here are three things to keep in [...]

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Boost Buzz Fast with Local Press

If you are a new entrepreneur, one of the best ways to start building buzz is by contacting local media-members. This way, you can practice your pitching skills with a smaller venue and begin creating media relationships to help your business grow. But how do you start your publicity efforts? 1.      Research. First, you want [...]

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Exposed – The PR Myths!

How was your Halloween? Was it as scary as your current, publicity activities? Well, if you’ve had bad publicity experiences in the past and are afraid to move forward, don’t be! After hearing from many entrepreneurs who were “taken” by a big agency or just didn’t have the money to pursue PR activities, I decided [...]

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What Happened When One Entrepreneur Had Cleavage Issues

If you have an idea for a new product based on your personal experiences, you should definitely look into creating it. Just look at today’s interview. After having a difficult time finding a piece of clothing that would give her the ability to “manage” her cleavage in comfort at work, Julie Crotty quit her job, conducted [...]

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4 Crazy Myths about Marketing

Before I will work with a company on their marketing strategy, I need to make sure that they are of the right mindset.  Unfortunately too many business owners have taken to believing certain crazy myths about marketing.  Sorry, but I’m here to debunk those myths.  Here’s the top 4. 1.            Marketing is all I need [...]

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What Does Google Instant Mean for Your SEO Strategy?

The new Google Instant promises to make searches faster and easier, and you’ll be able to see results as you type. But what does this mean for your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts? Well, first of all, if you are overwhelmed with all of the information you hear about search engine optimization and have stopped [...]

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8 Tips for Fast and Free Publicity

After optimizing your site for the search engines and pursuing other marketing-efforts, it’s time to use the “power of the press” to boost sales, awareness and credibility cost-effectively.   But how do you pitch your story to a reporter?   Here are eight quick-tips to help you through the media process:   1. Know Your [...]

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Controversy Sells

Recently, Tempe, Arizona, restaurant, Café Boa, sparked worldwide controversy when they announced the highlight of their Easter menu; rabbit.     This shocking revelation led to over 200 stories in the media from all over the world.  From Arizona to Tokyo, people were talking; even protesting; the Arizona restaurant that was cooking the Easter Bunny for dinner. [...]

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