Times have changed dramatically! People no longer pay attention to advertising like they used to and this has made advertisers push the limits to the extreme just to get our attention.
What they refuse to accept is that today public relations and social media lead the way, making the introduction and building the credibility, trust and awareness that will make the public pay attention! Once people are paying attention, now your marketing effort will bear fruit in driving traffic to your website where the deal is closed. But make no mistake about it; your website is still the hub of this marketing wheel!
Ask yourself, do you use a pop-up blocker in your browser and SPAM filters for e-mail? What do you do when commercials come on during your favorite TV show? Do you use a DVR? Do you use Netflix or Blockbuster home delivery videos? If you are like most people, you avoid commercials. So how does someone promote their book, product or service successfully? You must persuade, not sell.
No one likes to be sold. Therefore, you have to educate, entertain and inform your public about your offering, persuading them to dig deeper. When they dig, they will ultimately end up at your website; but the sales process took place in the realm of public relations, social media and blogs.
Does this mean the end of advertising? No. It means that it no longer leads; it is now on the back end!
People buy from people and companies they like and trust. If you’re Apple, Coke or Nike, you can run an ad and feel confident it will be well received. But what about the small company or start up? Simply put, you have to become known, liked and trusted.
If the small company runs an ad, it is mainly ignored or seen for what it was designed to be—a sales piece. But what if the prospect learned about you through channels he or she trusts? Since he or she trusts these channels, your introduction was accepted as an implied third-party endorsement because their favorite TV or radio host, blogger or social media friend brought it to their attention; hence you MUST be good for them to have featured you.
What would happen to the advertisement you ran now? They would look at it with a different pair of glasses, giving you the opportunity to gain a prospect.
So how should you formulate your marketing strategy? Let’s take a look.
Start a proper social media marketing program. Understand that social networking is NOT social media marketing. For more information on this, read Is Your Organization Part of the Conversation?
Blogs are powerful and used today even by journalists to find information for stories they write. What they’re looking for is bloggers who may be able to either:
a) Speak to the topic of a news story, so they can quote you.
b) A blog they can excerpt and use with permission and attribution.
c) Any other source they could cite.
Consumers do the same thing! Your blog allows you to share your message completely, get them to learn about you and your expertise, and realize that you offer the service they may need in the future. Plus, it is a traffic driving machine for your website!
Public Relations is not advertising nor marketing. PR is about gaining credibility, awareness, trust and exposure. The ROI of PR is the portfolio you will create that will be gold for your marketing efforts. Imagine being able to put on your website, Twitter and Facebook page: As seen on (fill in the blank). Whether it’s FoxNews or CNN, or your local affiliated; read in USA Today or People Magazine; or as heard on The Jim Bohannon or Allen Colmes Show—your credibility goes through the roof!
Now, when you run an ad campaign, with the awareness and exposure, and with all your PR hits featured, people will go to your website and take a look! They now see you with a different pair of glasses.
I want to point out that BEFORE you do ALL of the above, you want to make sure your website is effective, tested and ready. You can do everything correctly and blow it here, and your investment will be wasted. Read What Makes a Good Website Part 1.
All this is done to get the prospect to do one thing—come to your website where you can now show them what you do in full glory. The buck stops there (no pun intended). Let’s hope the buck stops in a sale.