To stand out among your competitors, it’s critical that you share your business’s story on as many relevant channels as possible. Public Relations (PR) is one of the most reliable and cost-effective ways to get word of your business out to the public and build your reputation.
In today’s connected world, you no longer have to hire an expensive PR agency to get your small business the attention it deserves. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the top affordable and effective PR tactics that will help raise brand awareness to get your business noticed.
1. Sponsor Local Events
Hosting or sponsoring local events is one great way to make a mark in your community and stand out to your customers. There are a variety of different events that you can get involved in, ranging from parades to football games. Participating in charity events is also a great way to build your reputation with the community while supporting a local cause. Volunteer Match is a great resource to find local charity events.
If you don’t see an event that seems relevant to your business, try hosting one of your own. If you take this approach, be creative and design an event that your local community will get excited about and spread the word. This shouldn’t be a sales event, but rather an occasion that will bring together the right people and spread your brand presence through your town or city. If the first year is a hit, you can make this your company’s annual signature event!
2. Get Local Press Coverage
Good press can get your brand in front of more potential customers, which can bring more traffic to your website and store. If you live in a tight-knit community, you likely have the advantage of less competition than larger brands have. As a result, local press and news organizations will be excited to hear your business story, especially if it is compelling or unique.
One great way to be featured in the news is through press releases. A press release is an official statement issued to a newspaper and other targeted publications to let the world know about company updates. If the media finds this press release relevant or interesting, they will then feature your press release. For decades, press releases have proven to be effective and produce results. For tips on how to make your press release stand out, check out The Guardian’s post, “How to write an effective press release.”
3. Take Advantage of Online Reviews
Customer reviews can be a highly effective marketing tool for small businesses. In today’s digital age, a customer is likely to consult online reviews before making a purchasing decision. According to a study by Zendesk, "66% of consumers read online reviews before buying anything." More importantly, these consumers place a high level of value on the insight that they gain from these reviews. A BrightLocal survey found that 88% of customers treat online reviews the same as personal recommendations.
It’s important to use positive online reviews to your advantage and ensure that they are visible to customers. You should promote them on social media channels as well as on your website. You can also use reviews in other marketing materials, such as brochures and emails.
You should also make sure that none of your positive reviews are hidden on Yelp. To learn more about monitoring your Yelp profile, check out our past blog post, “How to Maximize Yelp Reviews to Grow Your Small Business.”
4. Consider Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is a new and increasingly popular marketing strategy that has proven to be one of the most effective PR tactics. It involves partnering with individuals who have a strong and engaged social or blog following (such as thought leaders, industry experts, or local celebrities) so that they will promote your brand to their extensive fan base. Influencers not only create content around your brand, but they distribute this content across all of their social media channels. Even better, influencer marketing is often very cost-effective, and many influencers will even promote your brand for free if they receive a product or discount code
Multiple studies have proven the effectiveness of this up-and-coming tactic. According to a recent Nielson report, influencer’s content generates 11x the ROI of the average traditional digital campaign. Further, people trust influencers just as much as they trust their friends and acquaintances. Jacques Bastien, CEO of Shade, an influencer marketing agency, claims “Influencers are trustworthy because there’s a sense of authenticity and relatability that customers don’t get from display ads or other marketing channels.”
The first step to finding influencers for your small business is to look at your own fans and followers. You may be surprised that you already have influencers following you on social media. Using tools such as BuzzSumo and Klear is another great way to find influencers who are relevant to your business and would be willing to promote your cause.
As you can see, there are a variety of low-cost, yet effective, PR tactics that can get your business the attention it needs to thrive. We know that every business is different, so take some time to consider which PR tactics would work best for your specific business goals.