Now that we are well into January and so also into any renewed gym membership getting your body back into shape, it’s a good time to start planning your renewed business marketing workout strategy too. Technology and with it the world of marketing is rapidly advancing. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you can’t keep doing the same things and expecting to grow your business. Just as in the gym you have to switch up your routine on a regular basis else your muscle will grow accustomed to your routine and not deliver results. The marketing that worked for your business a few years ago may not help you succeed in the future.
The phrase user experience or UX is often used in relation to software and web design. It’s the idea that features must be developed and designed with the site visitor and software user in mind. Customer experience or CX includes UX but also encompasses every touchpoint that customers have with your business. There are many ways to enhance CX, such as:
When a customer/client visits your location first impressions are lasting ones. Ensuring your place of business is fresh, clean, and conveys the image you want to portray. Review the clutter and either add storage onsite or consider off-site storage to make your space more inviting. Further, consider some updated furniture, fresh paint on the walls, maybe some new artwork (thrift stores are great resources and/or reach out to local art groups if you have lots of public visitors to offer your walls as display space), new area rugs, and some potted plants can go a long way in making your space inviting while being professional.
Keep your website visually and technically current. Revisiting the company website done many years ago to bring it up to date visually and functionally. I recently met an LGBT Business owner who provides great health products so his audience base is very wide. When visiting his website it was clear at first glance that he has not invested in a very long time. It may still function but as the main marketing and sales channel, it is a very old, clunky, and unattractive website. Today potential customers will quickly click away from super outdated-looking websites. I personally recommend having a steady stream of content regularly on a company blog. Further, the site should be a continue living entity being revisited regularly at a minimum annually from a design perspective yet monthly and quarterly from a system/plugin update perspective to reduce security threats. Your website should not be a “set and forget” entity.
Ensure all staff is trained to put the customer first. Really think about how this is done, documented, implemented, and practiced. This includes a friendly attitude and providing correct information.
Asking for feedback. Customer surveys, whether on your website or handed out in your store, are important for tracking satisfaction. Use these regularly and update them with new questions, such as how people feel about new products, features, and policies. If you’d like a really awesome way to survey your clients/customers try LoudReply for free today. LoudReply leverages NPS® – the gold standard in determining how to make your customers happier while fixing problem areas.
Add a live chat solution to your company’s website like LiveChat. LiveChat is a tool for online communication between a company and its customers. It easily integrates with platforms like WordPress, Shopify, AdWords, Mailchimp or Facebook. LiveChat comes with advanced reports, that give you the overview, as well as a detailed look at your customer service activities. Basic reports show you the number of chats you get, the tickets you receive, your response time, and your customer satisfaction score. If you run several websites, you can place LiveChat on each of them with no additional charge. Using the work scheduler, you can easily manage your team’s working hours for each day of the week. With LiveChat, you are all set to go and serve your customers. Sign up now for a free 30-day trial.
Put it on your daily/weekly calendar – engage actively on social media. Most businesses have a social media presence such as a Facebook page, Twitter, LinkedIn and for the LGBT Business community an OutBüro account. You can’t just be there, you have to create interaction. Post with regularity even if only monthly. If possible post original content created by you and your team about your business, products, services, client success, and your industry. When followers post “like” and/or make positive comments in a timely manner – within a day or two. If someone posts a negative comment post a positive comment thanking them for their feedback and the opportunity to improve while asking to communicate with them directly via direct messaging or better yet on the phone or in person.
For companies where your clients/customers are within a geographic range of your physical presence geolocation or location-based marketing is a key component of differentiating your business from similar businesses outside your range. Simply put, this is the capability to target clients/customers based on their location using GPS tracking in proximity to yours. Customers/clients typically provide their consent to being location tracked by search engines and services such as Facebook and OutBüro. When prospective clients/customers are searching sites such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo for your services/products you rank high on the results due to the relevance of your service/products and your location. Say, someone who is in Phoenix, AZ is searching for a natural medicine practitioner and you are a natural medicine practitioner but your offices are in Tampa, FL. Likely your business is not a match for that person in Pheonix and the search engines realize this. Therefore, in this case, you need to be at the top of the search results rankings for people searching your services who also live within Tampa or a reasonable distance from Tampa. Your business location address, the phone number must be electronically and human-readable on your website. This means it must be in text form not hidden in a graphic image. Further, every social media account should have your location information and a website link. To really pump up your location-based search results you should also strongly consider a business citation strategy. Business citations are simply a listing of your business on business directory sites such as OutBüro and others. I’ve used a service call Bright Local to have business citations hand added to many sites and master directories. Give Bright Local a try with their 14-day free trial.
This enables you to send people extremely relevant messages when they’re close to your business or even that of a competitor. You might also alert people to a special sale or promotion when they’re in your store. As mobile technology gets ever more popular, location-based marketing will become increasingly powerful. OutBüro will be conducting reviews of solution offerings in this space. If you have suggestions please leave them in the comments.
Add Livestream Video – 6 Ways to engage
While video has been getting bigger on the internet for years, currently there’s a huge push toward live-streaming. Live streaming videos add an element of transparency and a sense of timeliness. Facebook Live and other services such as Twitter Live (formerly Periscope), YouTube Live, and Instagram Live are changing the way people watch videos. You can (1) interact with your audience in real-time and answer questions. Live-streaming is a powerful branding tool that helps you engage with your audience. You can (2) conduct client/customer short interviews taking viewer questions and comments real-time. You can (3) feature employees, (4) provide insights into how your product is made or how your service is performed. You can also (5) provide training. Consider using the platforms mentioned and then (6) posting it on your company website and reposting socially for longevity usage.
As marketing gets more expensive and competitive, it’s increasingly important to target your audience and identify your customers’ unique needs. It’s also essential to segment your customers into appropriate categories. If you have an email list, you can separate it into several lists based on preferences and buying patterns. Use a similar approach to paid advertising. Don’t simply advertise to huge groups (macro) but to specific audiences (micro). For example, rather than having a huge sale on every item in your store (or website), focus on a specific line or type of product and target those customers who are most likely to buy these products.
Collect More Data
“Big data” has been a marketing buzzword for some time. While there are many uses for data, nothing is more useful than compiling information about your customers. The more detailed a picture you have of your target customers – the more effective and targeted your marketing can be. And if you know which individual customers are the most valuable, you can go that extra mile to encourage them to spend with your business.
Small businesses need data as much as their larger counterparts. Do your market research. Whether your business is web-based or brick and mortar, there are now more ways than ever to learn all about your customers — who they are, where they live and what they need. The best way to get information from people is to ask them for it. Not everyone will fill out your surveys but many people will, especially if you give them an incentive such as entering them into a contest.
All of these trends are likely to expand and morph in 2018 and beyond. Not every tactic, technology or approach is appropriate for every business. Pick, choose and explore what works for you, your budget, your company, and your target customer. Don’t just follow what’s popular. There may be different methods that are more appropriate for some businesses than others, so don’t implement something just because it’s popular. Explore and be open to change. You may find that one or more of these strategies is just what you need to take your business to the next level this year.
What marketing tactics and technology solutions have worked for you recently? What new tactics and strategies are you considering this year? Let us know in the comments below with a link to your OutBüro and company website / social media account.
Are you a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer small business owner or non-profit leader? If so, you have to market your business like any other. However, if your business also focuses on the LGBTQ community as your target customers/clients, you have even a little more work to do to reach them. No one wants to waste money and your business needs to be marketed in many ways to create brand awareness and convert passive prospects into an initial customer/client. Afterward, your continued marketing will keep those customers coming back. You likely have competitors all around you and some might have big marketing budgets. So how can you compete to stand out in your market? You have to market smarter and leverage a multi-channel marketing approach.
Start by brainstorming with your business partners, family, friends and community connections to come up with several inexpensive outside-the-box marketing ideas to get your business out front and zipping along with marketing buzz. Listen for repeated and unique ideas. They may suggest local area opportunities marketing opportunities you’ve not considered before.
1. Create relevant content on your website. As Google itself has stated publicly numerous times. Your website content is KING!! Be sure to keep it focused on your business and industry. Don’t be tempted to use it as a personal interests blog with images of fluffy kittens, unless that’s your business. Publish new content regularly. The more you do it the easier it will become. Do Google search for your industry for ideas of what kinds of content ranks highly. Then read it and rewrite the content in your own words and post away. Fresh and helpful content helps to engage readers, build valuable links, attract leads and convert them to new sales/contracts.
2. Publish articles in trade or local magazines. Your average Joe and Jane believe printed published articles is more valuable than an online blog post. Since everyone searches online though keep a keen focus on #1 above. However, all marketing is good marketing – for the most part. So consider printed materials as another way to reach a wider audience. Contact the publication to introduce yourself and your company. ASK to be interviewed or if you may provide the story yourself. Make it easy as pie for them to pick up your story. Be sure to have several nice digital images of 300 dpi (dots per inch) ready featuring a great headshot of you, photos of your business and products if pertinent. You can even use the camera on your phone. When saving the digital images be sure to name it with your name, company name and a few SEO keywords. Example: “Darrel Dartson – Sit Happens – Dog Obedience Training – Atlanta GA Georgia.jpg”
3. “How-To” Content. A pool company in California had a great idea. They started blogging how to fix it and treat it informational short articles and videos on their company website. For those do-it-yourself, it is a treasure trove of just about any and every problem a homeowner can have with pool equipment and how to get the water sparkling clear again. This may seem like they are giving their knowledge away and would have fewer customers because of it. The absolute opposite happened. This demonstrated that they are not only pool installation and maintenance experts, but it demonstrated that they are kind, courteous and helpful too. After a short while, they became #1 on all internet search engines not only locally, but nationally. Their phone started ringing off the hook and their company grew hundreds of percent annually in no time. It set them vastly apart from their competition. It cost them ZERO money – just their time and willingness to share.
4. Reuse content. As your content grows, consider re-purposing it. Blog posts can be combined into an informative ebook that provides just enough information to educate and present yourself as the expert. It can be an electronic downloadable document, a single video or a series that can be played by the site visitor 365 days a year 24 hours a day. You can even implement a lead capture system on your website that requires basic contact information input in order to download or view this content.
5. Guest blog or cross-blog your content you are working so hard on. As an example when you join OutBüro for free, directly from your personal profile you have the ability to submit articles/blog posts. They become part of the OutBüro blog and gain all the SEO love we’ve worked hard to build and continue to grow weekly. Locate other blogs in your industry and contact the website owner about the potential to guest blog. They can be small or you might land a contributor role at a major website. That will only happen if you reach out and put the ball in motion. Be sure to focus on item 1 first so that the other blog owner/editor can see your great content and how it might fit with their audience to magnify your reach and exposure.
7. Sponsor a local youth or LGBT sports team. Send out a press release or feature article, get your logo on the team uniforms, host event for the team at your business location if you can, or offer free iced water at the games with an information booth if you can. This makes you a valuable community member and builds awareness.
8. Join industry and LGBT professional associations. If the organization has an accreditation, work toward achieving that. It will demonstrate you’re a pro at what you do. Some association also have lead generation programs. Check them out.
10. NETWORK online – Be a good online group member by liking and thoughtfully commenting on what other people post. It still gets your name out there and demonstrates that it’s not “only about you”. Also, Join local or national Facebook groups. Join the OutBüro site for free, then join groups or start a group and moderate it so that others who join it you’ll be seen as the leader and expert. Additionally, join the OutBüro on LinkedIn group with 44,000 global LGBT professionals. Via your LinkedIn group settings, you may hide that group from your LinkedIn profile if you choose while still being able to leverage it.
11. Your LinkedIn personal profile LinkedIn is WAY MORE than a site when you are looking for a job. Sure, that’s a big part, but over the years it has morphed and with Microsoft now owning it continues to morph. As a business owner, your LinkedIn personal profile SHOULD NOT be your resume. Don’t list that you worked at McDonald’s when you were 18. WHO CARES? As LGBTQ business owner your LinkedIn profile should be treated as a business marketing piece. You can list your qualifications if it supports your credibility as a professional in your industry and business. Keep it short and on marketing message with all the SEO keywords.
13. LinkedIn company page – No matter the size of your company, when adding your company to your personal profile as your current employer, if not found, LinkedIn will ask if you want to create a company listing. Yes – do it. You’ll then be the associate manager of your LinkedIn Company page. Fill in as much marketing information there as you can. In addition to adding your website blog postings as LinkedIn articles as mentioned above, add your website blog postings to LinkedIn Company page. This is as simple as while on your company website blog, copy each blog post’s URL and paste it. Do one per blog post. Why? Exposure and SEO.
14. Be a people person. When you network, follow up with all leads. Remember conversational and ask them questions to get to understand as naturally but as quickly as possible if this lead might have a need for your product/service. You don’t have all day and they don’t have to become your new Yoga partner, but you need to be genuine and not come across as desperately rushing to a sale. For first conversations, you might call with the idea to learn more about them first and foremost. If there is potential, schedule a meeting over coffee. In person, conversations are so much more productive when you have the opportunity but don’t be afraid of the phone, internet or email. They are necessary. No one likes to make cold sales calls. As you do all the other ideas here, your calls will not be cold. You would have met them or interacted with them in some way. Or from your great content they found you and your phone rings away with leads dialing in. No matter what, keep it productive yet warm and friendly.
15. Strive to separate work from personal life issues. This may seem like a huge “duh factor” but I’m constantly amazed how a business owner’s bad day (personal life) or lackluster employees can ruin an interaction experience that otherwise should be amazing. When at work, be focused on it. If you have too put your game face on. Check that bad thought/emotion until after your work day is done. It’s a great idea to have either a close friend or a professional counselor to regularly check in with and help provide guidance in personal matters. How is this about marketing? See #34 above. When you interact with potential and current clients/customers your language, tone, approach, and body language can speak volumes. Don’t lose a client/customer due to personal issues. If that happens too often you’ll be spending more money and time trying to regain them or replace them with new clients/customers. So yes – this is very appropriate for your marketing.
16. Subscribe to marketing blogs and video series. Find some that are very informative and subscribe. When those first emails come in, tag them so that when you have time you can easily find them and review them to continue to keep ideas, tips and trick rolling in from the experts. Just as your good content should be, scan the title and first paragraph to see if the article is something you want to spend time on. If not, get back to work. If so, either spend the time now or flag it to review when you’ve allocated time to self-education which should be about an hour a week. This could be over morning coffee, a cold one a night or over the weekend. Expanding your small business marketing and all small business operations knowledge doesn’t have to eat into your productive work day. But it’s so valuable to your personal and professional growth as a business owner.
17. Keep your inbox clean. If your inbox is cluttered with lots of unread, categorized, unprocessed or not deleted message you run the high risk of missing opportunities to grow your business. You’ll miss communications or reply super late and look unprofessional. If you have several inboxes as I do, have them all aggregated into a single mail reader. I use Gmail. Each is categorized so that I can quickly see it’s source. I use tags and the star to keep it organized. I also delete emails I don’t need and I unsubscribe from list often (once to twice a month) if I get no value or I cannot perceive value for my own audience from the content streaming into my inbox. My email time is over my morning coffee and near the end of my day. I don’t live glued to my inbox. Neither should you. You have other marketing activities to get accomplished.
18. Seek out or be a business/marketing mentor. You are great at what you do, but as a small business owner, you have to do EVERYTHING and do it amazingly well else your business may not survive. If you do something very well, consider being a mentor to another. Either way, you’ll both learn something and form a great business and friendly relationship to support and promote each other’s businesses. On your www.OutBuro.com profile, you may indicate if you’d like to be a mentor or mentee. See if other organizations you are a member of have Mentor/Mentee programs to be a part of.
19. Donate product or services to a local charity if they have an auction fundraiser. Be it art, disability, veterans or LGBT focus. Find the local charities that you feel passionate about and get involved. It’s a great way to network and gives back to your community. If you can afford it sponsor the event at some level that gets your information on the event material and co-market the event sharing it online and in person widely.
20. Speak at seminars and host your own workshops. You’ll get publicity from marketing the event and from the event itself. Besides, you’ll look more professional in your customers’ eyes. A natural medicine center in Central Florida I’m very familiar with uses this tactic with fantastic results. Every month they host an informational seminar at their offices. They ask every prospective client to bring a family member so they can learn what it’s all about. Further, they ask every current client to invite a family member, friends, and co-workers who might have interest. Every month they pack in 20-40 people and of those typically gain 8-12 new clients. To top that off, they take their show on the road participating in local health and fitness events, fitness centers, nursing homes, churches and more. It’s an effort that pays off nicely for them.
21. Enter business award competitions. If you win, you get a badge on your website and a lot more sales. Even if you don’t win, you can still get lots of publicity if you place high enough and broadcast your participation. Your local and LGBT chambers of commerce may have some. Also look into local publications and website. Research what it takes to get on the nomination list. If you can do it yourself, note the time window and add it to your calendar. If someone else, like a client/customer, must nominate you, don’t be bashful. Ask your best client/customer to do it and follow up. Heck, ask a few to nominate you.
22. Create your own business award competition. If there isn’t a competition in your area and/or industry if there’s no way you can compete in one, hosting your own unique competition creates buzz as other businesses scramble to win your award. They will share they will invite all their customers/client to vote for them sending them to YOUR WEBSITE. How awesome is that? Being the award creator positions you and your company as the local leader.
23. Host/participate free events. Reporters are always looking for a good story. Give them what they want and get some free publicity by hosting a free event. You’ll get more attendees if there’s food or freebies involved. This could be separate from your educational seminars. If you aren’t up for hosting an event, evaluate all the events that go on in your area where you might participate with a booth or sponsorship of the event.
24. Build a referral network. Referrals and word of mouth are the most powerful advertising, so build relationships with professionals and other businesses you would happily refer your customers to and who can send referrals your way, as well.
25. Make partnerships for co-promotion. Several related but non-competing businesses working together on a promotion can afford bigger ad space, better prizes, and other advertising expenses. For example, a carpet cleaning service that co-markets with a pet training and daycare company. Those carpets could be dirty from pets, right? Or maybe a wedding planning company and catering/cake decoration business. Think about, when a client/customer seeks out my services/products are there other non-competing business where their products/service might also be a natural potential need/desire by the target audience. Give it a try.
26. Send handwritten holiday, birthday, or thank you cards to past and current clients, valued partners, vendors in your referral network, connections who have helped you–everyone you can think of. This is a low-cost and in today’s everything digital world, it will stand out as unique and thoughtful.
27. Open as many communication channels as appropriate, including but not limited to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, OutBüro, Instagram, a toll-free phone number, live chat on your website, email, and related forums and blog comments.
28. Be where your competition is and is not.Research your competitors. If you’re a roofing company you may feel like that obligatory home delivered coupon pack is your only open. NO, it is not. Quality and value are the clients you seek, not the coupon junkies – right? Do your homework and seek out all the potential places to get the word out. Take a note from many of the ideas here that your competitors are not doing. If you want to do local direct to home mail advertising, find the vehicle for that that contains none of your competitors. Get more leads as the only major player with your products/services. If printed consider the content side of that publication. Can you provide a quarter article about your industry that is not only touting your company but actually informative? Think about that pool company mentioned above. If you are helpful, informative and provide your information you’ll build the awareness that you are the go-to company in your area.
29. Be everywhere. Having a blog, YouTube channel, and podcast on iTunes in addition to social media makes you more well known and credible and helps improve your own website search engine optimization. Expand beyond your website to get more traffic and leads. This is called “off page content”.
30. Local, local, local. To be found by people on Google, Bing and Yahoo searching for your types of products/services those search engines must clearly understand WHERE YOU ARE. Note that business citations are not beneficial to businesses where everything you do is online only. It’s all about helping users/customers find LOCAL businesses near them. You should have business citations on as many business related sites as possible. Think about the last time you popped out your phone, clicked Google Maps and searched for pizza or Greek food. That Google Maps listing is a business citation. Powerful heavily used potential here.
But don’t stop at Google Maps. Google Places and Bing are absolutely free for local businesses, while Yahoo Localwork is a paid service allowing to list your business in 50 directories (Yahoo Local, Yelp, WhitePages, Bing, Mapquest, etc.). Once you’re listed, start taking advantage of local search results, and don’t forget to ask your customers to leave reviews on your page. I do NOT recommend Yext. STAY AWAY or pay forever. If you stop paying for their service they literally remove all your listings everywhere it was placed by them – once you use them you are trapped or will have to start all over with another service.
So why not start with a company like BrightLocalwho I have personally used before and like. When they hand enter your information to business listing sites, that’s it. You have access to an online progress report and can click directly to your listings to see them live. Later, you may use them to update the information if it changes but if not, those listing remain active forever without ever incurring any additional fees. Sweet. Right? Think of all those backlinks and local indicator love.
31. Claim your online business listings. Search your business name. When you find a listing of it, copy and paste that URL into a spreadsheet to keep track of it. There are hundreds of websites out there that contain your business information. Claim your business online and enjoy better rankings in Google, greater visibility, and more traffic. You may add your business to the OutBüro Company directory too.
32. Setup an affiliate program. You get more sales and brand ambassadors for less. This is great if your business is online. There are online affiliate systems that are hosted off your site and depending on what you use for your website there are plugins for the major players including WordPress. Affiliate systems aren’t for your customers. It is for bloggers / online marketer to write content about your product/service on their owned websites and then drive that traffic to yours with a web token that gets passed and your affiliate system tracks the site visitor and credits the referral with a set % of the sale if a purchase if made. For local, check out the idea above about referrals with other professionals and business owners.
33. Create a customer loyalty program to encourage future purchases and referrals. It may seem a little old school if using a punch card. But do whatever you can. You may not have the budget for a cool app like Starbucks, but that works. I know, I write a lot of my articles while sitting there. 🙂
There are online customer loyalty systems. If your point of sale (POS) system does not have one built in, consider upgrading/changing your POS to a system that has one built in or that integrates with a good 3rd party customer loyalty program. Do your online research to find options.
34. Use bumper stickers and window decals – Create a monthly live video streaming contest. In addition to putting them on company vehicles and customer/clients’ cars theme the m for free to employees, partners, stakeholders and investors, charities you donate to, and other contacts to display. Pass them out like candy any and everywhere you go.
Maybe host Facebook live events in where you announce you’ll be at a certain location or area while streaming live the first person to arrive with your company sticker on their car wins something. Be creative. Do it regularly – say monthly. Make it fun and inexpensive. Think about the social media shares something like that can create.
35. Ask for testimonials and reviews. This includes online reviews on websites like Yelp, Google and others. Be sure the client/customer is happy and ask them to do it before they leave. Make recommendations on LinkedIn and ask for them too. Create a testimonials page on your website and use the best reviews in as many promotions as makes sense.
36. Answer questions on forums and answer sites such as Quora. Help out people with free advice on topics related to your products and services. Create your profile with your business info, not your personal. Add your company website URL. This will be one more SEO love juice item. Keep your comment 100% professional. Just be sure to not get sucked into spending too much time on this. Don’t get baited into political or religious questions or anti-LGBT stuff unless you are very comfortable with that being associated with your business.
37. Create customer case studies. Ask your happy customers to share their experience of using your product or service. Treat it like an interview. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, ask someone else to interview them and you and write the document. Maybe it could be a story featuring your company on OutBüro. Search case studies guides for ideas if keeping it pure to the concept. These stories add credibility to your company and help you get more customers.
38. Ask your customers for referrals. You cannot be shy. Simply ask – and you’ll receive. It might go like this, “So Jack you have mentioned a few times that you are very happy with our products/services. We are so happy to have a customer/client like you. Can you think of two to three other companies/people you know who might also like to have our products/services that we can say you suggested them to us?” Sit there with your pen and paper or tablet in hand ready to write/type. That action and asking for 2-3 will compel him to cough up those contacts for you to follow up with.
39. Post your company offers on a coupon and deal sites. People love special offers and discounts. Getting a great product at an excellent price is what everybody wants. But be very careful to not be the perceived as the cheap discount king. When stuff is priced too low it can actually make the person feel that your product/service is cheap, your service will suck and if they have any problems they’ll be lucky if you answer your phone. OCCASIONAL specials are OK. But if there’s a “Sale” sign hanging in your window 365 days a year, you know the types of customers that attracts. Enough said.
40. Offer free consultations. Free consultations are a great way to showcase your expertise and get more clients. Basically, it’s a short 30-minute or less needs assessment and sales demonstration. Keep it simple. If you don’t make the sale there, collect their contact information and put them in your customer relationship management system to follow up with them appropriately.
41. Optimize your website for mobile. Google considers it in search rankings and more and more people search the web on their phones and tablets. Sites that are not mobile ready get clicked away from super fast. Just think of your own phone internet browsing for proof.
42. Add SSL to your website. SSL is Security Socket Layer. It is an encryption that ensures all the interactions your visitor has with your website is encrypted and secure. Google is taking SSL into account when presenting searchers with results. If your competitor has SSL and you don’t, you’ll be penalized. If you have it and they don’t, you’ll crush them. We’re adding SSL to OutBüro too – if not already implemented when reading this, it’s in the works.
43. Create a giveaway. Please, be creative. You want to give away something cool your customers want and need rather than something you don’t need. I always need a good quality coffee travel mug and personally love the adult sippy cups with a lid and straw – I actually like them so much that I purchased a box of 12. I knock over water and iced tea glasses all the time. They save me from cleaning up a spill. Think of giving away a set of 6 in early spring – just in time for summer pool parties and barbecues which can lead to conversations about your company. “Cocktail please.”
44. Print your company logo on hats and T-shirts. Your loyal customers will be happy to wear them and will become free brand promoters. Yeah. Old school but folks love them. I have a friend that seems to not own a single unbranded t-shirt. Me not so much. But, if you contact me to do a story about your business to be on OutBüro’s blog and send me one of your company t-shirts, then I’ll have a connection with you and likely also wear it. Remember, this is one thing in a multi-channel marketing approach.
45. Exceed your customer expectations. Reputation is everything these days. By exceeding your customer expectations and walking that extra mile – you’ll drive more business.
46. Translate your website to multiple languages. If your business sales products/service online, then why limit yourself to English only speaking potential clients/customers? The world is a big place. Go get ‘em.
47. Celebrate your company birthday with customers and the media. Use the opportunity to deliver a special message to your clients. Create a press release to distribute and post it on OutBüro.com for free via your profile article submission or leverage our low-cost LGBT press release service to SEO optimize it, post and feature it via our social media channels to give it a bit more SEO love and distribution kick.
47. Say “Happy Birthday” to your clients. Have a discount or a special offer ready to give as a gift. It works!
48. Use voice mail and an autoresponder to let your customers know about your special offers. It’s a great way to get your message across during closed hours. It won’t cost you a penny!
49. Survey your customers for great ideas. Talking to your customers is the easiest way to understand what they need and what they value the most. Can you capture more of your client/customer if you tweaked your offering? Don’t know if you don’t ask
50. Share product samples with as many people as you can. You will attract the right customers who are right for your business.
51. Add Schema.org markup to your website key data. Google can show much more than your website URL in search results. Reviews, ratings, exact address – all of it can show up in search engine results if your website HTML is marked properly. More data in search results = more clicks and traffic.
52. Set up a pay per click (PPC) campaign. In most cases, you can get a free $50 voucher from Bing or Google. If competition is not fierce – you’ll be driving more sales soon.
53. Create infographics for your website. Do you have some data that could be represented graphically? If not start thinking of what kind of data via a survey, you could collect to then create an infographic. Think about how that information could be used in local or national media, online, in print, and on TV even. If you are a professional dog walker, could you take a survey of local dog owners about the health and happiness of dogs and owners? A local news station could give you free coverage for interesting info with a local slant. Search the internet for ideas and think about how you could make it local or spin it. But collect your own data or cite the source while creating the graphic.
54. Join Help a Reporter Out. HARO is a free way to get media coverage. Register as an expert source on HARO and whenever a journalist needs a quality source for an article – you’ll get an email twice a day listing all the article ideas reporters need expert input by. If you see one that is in your area of knowledge you reply and who knows, you could be cited or featured in a major publication.
Send us your news tip regarding LGBT employees. Are you aware of a LGBT owned business or community non-profit we should inform our readers about? Contact us with an LGBT owned business lead or news tip.
Every business needs exposure and that’s no different for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer business owners, startups and non-profit organizations. You can send your press release out via a wire service and hope for the best. In addition to that approach, you should seek out every media outlet possible and create direct relationships to help get your new announcement published. One such site focusing on LGBTQ business owners and non-profits news is OutBüro – The LGBTQ Employer Reviews/Ratings, Job Portal, and Professional & Entrepreneur Networking Community. For more information on self-publishing your press release for free or being interviewed and featured by OutBüro check out the article titled “LGBT Business and Non-Profit Leaders: Create Buzz and SEO Love”.
Benefits of a Press Releases
Organizations of all sizes use press releases to:
To attempt to gain media coverage. This would be when your company releases a new product or feature.
To improve search engine optimization. Content about your company out on the web people can find you with your company and industry keywords will make your press release shareable. The backlinks provide SEO uplift to your own site. That ensures your release will be searchable and found online and can create buzz with target audiences you want to reach expanding your own direct efforts.
To build your company brand recognition and reputation. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The more your brand is visible the more it will stick in the minds of your target audience. Maybe you are launching your business, or expanding your services. Maybe you completed a great client project or won an award. There are so many reasons to make a press release announcements.
To have a proactive voice. When things go wrong, it’s often beneficial to break the story yourself first.
It is a fairly low-cost way to market your company/organization. A well-written press release can help gain public attention through news coverage.
To build solid relationships. Journalists and influencers are always looking to make connections with companies and organizations as sources of news. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. A good press release will capture their attention and have them eager to share the story with their audience.
You need to answer why the reader should care and why this is news in the first couple of sentences.
The first line of the release should answer concisely the who is it about and who is your target audience if you can and why it is pertinent to them.
As an LGBTQ business owner, your business may focus on the LGBTQ community or not. If everyone is a potential client/customer then consider multiple press releases targeting different audiences. LGBTQ people like to patron LGBTQ owned businesses, so having LGBTQ language in your press release helps that community find and identify with your company/organization.
What it is about? What is new? Has the company/organization reached a milestone or hosting an education event? Ensure you cover where including an address, city, region county, global or online that helps Google serve up local news.
If it is an event or a promotion state when it is or the time frame of the action just as “completed a client project in June,” or “Labor Day weekend special.”
Lastly but not least cover the how. How does or did this benefit the client or community? How to get in contact with you and so forth.
Every press release should fit on an 8½-by-11 sheet of paper
Contact Information is best at the top. Include the appropriate contact name, phone number, and email address.
Pick Your Keywords – Ask yourself what are the main topics covered by your press release? Think about how the average person who may not understand your business or industry think about it. What search terms might they use?
Are Your Press Releases Getting Ignored?
If journalists or media outlet are ignoring your press releases there’s a good chance it’s because you have not answered the above basics or have it scattered throughout your press release making them hunt for it. Make it easy and follow the basics. Additionally, seek out media site such as OutBüro where you can post your press release yourself – and for free. OutBüro wants your LGBTQ owned business news and announcements that are office environment safe. Be sure to check out our article titled “LGBT Business and Non-Profit Leaders: Create Buzz and SEO Love”.
Videos have been hot on the internet and continue to be preferred form of information consumption. With a little preparation, you can make quick and easy short videos even right from your smartphone to share on your site, around the web, and in your press releases. Videos are shared more often on social media.
Adding an extra image or even a video is worth it. According to PR Newswire research adding an extra image(s) and/or video can increase your press release visibility by 552 percent.
Common Mistakes in a Press Release
Press releases are meant to increase media outreach, improve brand awareness and share important company/organization news. None of those goals can be achieved if your press release has common marketing mistakes.
Try to avoid:
Using boring headlines. Keep it short and make every word work for you.
Forgetting a call to action. Direct the reader to you a specific page on your website for example.
The best length of a press release is about 300-400 words. That’s only three or four short paragraphs coupled with a few quotes. To get started, jot down a 3-4 section outline of the story and then write one or two sentences for each. Bullet points are your friend – they make your story easier to skim and make important points stand out.
Good quotes to elevate your copy. Depending on the publication, the quote might be the only portion that gets picked up, printed or cited. This means it needs to be clear, on message and essential. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making your quotes stand out:
Don’t use words just for fluff. Be strategic and use buzzwords that will have a deeper meaning of what you are trying to say.
Each quote in the release should have a message supporting your brand and have a little WOW factor to entice the reader to learn more.
Use Data to Improve your Press Release
Having hard statistics and data to build trust between your company/organization and customers/clients.
Look for patterns in customer reviews: What are your customers saying about your company/organization and how can you use those reviews for your story?
Data gives your press release substance.
Did you know that 42 percent of all statistics are completely full of crap because people never cite sources? See what we did there? Many PRs do that as well, only they don’t mean to. Journalists read your baffling statistics and immediately search for the source. Without them, you have no credibility. Without that, you have no story… 100 percent of the time.
Go Beyond Large Wire Services
Don’t call it a day after you’ve sent out your release over the wire. Reach out to a few of the journalists or influencers, such as OutBüro, you’ve identified and built a relationship. If you can schedule a call with them to learn more about their target audience and share how your news fits their audience. Follow up with them occasionally even when you don’t have a press release to send. Be authentic and if there’s not a match, be honest. Every media outlet has their niche focus. Then ensure your press release is geared toward that media outlet and its audience. GayStarNew, Queerty, and OutBüro have some overlapping similarities yet are very different from one another.