I refuse to participate in a recession! And you can, too, if you understand that aggressive publicity and low-cost marketing are the best ways to stay in front of the consumers who are still buying.
One of the good things about having over 25 years of experience is the knowledge that even when the economy slows down, it doesn’t grind to a complete halt. Many, many companies are going to continue to do business during slow times. Some of these are well-capitalized large companies. Others are agile, thrifty small firms and solo practitioners. And still others are tightly-held family firms. The point is, if they’re doing business, you can sell to them but they have to be aware that you’re available.
With that in mind, here are some reasons why publicity and public relations (PR) is more important now than ever before.
Good PR lets you show your expertise, which helps you build and extend credibility.
Building your reputation as an expert is always a factor in growing your business. It’s become essential now that PR is as much about reaching the ultimate consumer as about feeding the media. The publicity you generate can establish you as the Subject Matter Expert and thought-leader in your region and industry. You do this by adding value and showing leadership with good ideas. Be the grown-up by keeping a cool head as everyone else panics-and share your advice on how others can thrive and survive.
The best ways to accomplish this PR goal is through articles, blog posts, forum comments, op-ed articles, business-related letters to the editor, newsletters, and live or online presentations.
Provide user and prospect education.
Don’t assume that the current economic downturn means that no one is buying. Businesses that expect to stay open still need support services and raw materials or supplies. They’ll just be looking for a better deal. That doesn’t mean they won’t pay your price, but they will want to know the value and they will need to be convinced of its benefits.
Here’s your chance to demonstrate your product or service and focus on the benefits. It’s the perfect time to help current clients see the value in adding more of your services for a small incremental cost (upselling) and to show your bottom-line impact to your prospects. You can also take advantage of the uneven severity of the economic downturn by using the Internet to market your product to the world. Some regions and countries are hit worse than others, and there’s no reason you have to limit yourself to selling in your own back yard.
The best way to seize this opportunity is through live seminars, articles, white papers, case studies, teleseminars/webinars, videos, podcasts and online press releases.
Extend the value of your product by showing how to use it better
When money gets tight, your clients may be tempted to cut costs. While businesses shed non-essential products and services during a downturn, they would be foolish to sacrifice mission-critical suppliers. This is your chance to keep your existing clients by helping them understand why your product/service is mission-critical to their success.
Help them see how to get more out of what they’ve already invested in by explaining advanced or “off label” uses of your product. Show them creative extensions for little or no money that help them do more with the product/service they already have. Not only does this reassure your current users that they’re getting more for their investment, but it might tempt prospects to invest now. Here’s where you can take a cue from the food industry. Food manufacturers have known for a long time that giving away recipes sells product by showing customers new ways to use that ingredient.
This is a great time to use press releases to get visibility that is free and more credible and detailed than paid advertising. You can also extend the value of your product/service through live and online demonstrations, seminars, user-driven wikis, web videos, and articles sent to online distribution sites.
PR is a low-cost, high-visibility way to reach the world. It requires more creativity that cash, and it lays the foundation for future sales, even if prospect can’t buy immediately. Well developed PR deepens existing relationships with clients, vendors when you seek common ground to help everyone weather the storm. The truth is, we’re stronger together than alone.
So start use PR to upsell those who ARE buying by showing extended/extra product uses as you lay the seeds for future sales during the recovery that is sure to follow.
Gail Z. Martin owns DreamSpinner Communications and helps companies and solo professionals in the U.S. and Canada save money and get results through exceptional writing and marketing. Gail has an MBA in marketing and over 20 years of corporate and non-profit experience at senior executive levels. Gail hosts the Shared Dreams Marketing Podcast and the 30 Day Marketing Restart videoblog and she hosts the Shared Dreams Become Reality group on Facebook. She is also the author of The Summoner and The Blood King fantasy adventure novels.
Download Gail’s new ebook “154 Power-Packed PR and Marketing Tips” for free at