Move over sales jockeys and marketing mavens, PR can teach you a thing or two about how to drive new sales. Just because it’s a challenge to measure and doesn’t have a lead gen quota attached to it, doesn’t mean PR isn’t softening up the market and delivering some ripe leads into the sales funnel.
Here are some ways I have seen PR impact a company’s sales, all the while improving a brand awareness, likability and influence.
Press releases: many businesses think press releases are only used to send out to media outlets and share through distribution services like PRweb.com. One IT services company sent a press release to its customers and prospects informing them of a new service offering and it generated three new projects. While press releases are not technically a sales tool they can act as an indirect sales pitch by triggering interest for a new product or service among customers and prospects.
Media placements: getting the media to cover you in hyper-local news outlets or picked up in trade publications can reach a very motivated audience with your call-to-action, be it for an upcomoing holiday, new product launch or big event happening in your city – think SXSW, X Games Austin or F1.
Product reviews: a review of a product, restaurant or new mobile app can create incredible demand resulting in more sales or downloads.
Listicles: get your restaurant, app, winery, etc. on a “Top 10” list in any number of online sites ranging from hyperlocal versions of Thrillist and Easter or national ones like Mashable and Inc. Even the Austin Business Journal gets in on the action with its annual Fast 50, which celebrates the 50 fastest growing private companies in Austin. Listicles are becoming increasingly popular among media outlets – the media’s equivalent to junk food – because they are relatively simple to do and drive website traffic.
Social network: customers are paying attention to brands online through the big three social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Newer ones like Instagram and Pinterest are catching up fast. Even newer ones like SnapChat and WhatsApp are on the cusp of connecting brands to customers. Each platform is a way to engage with customers and prospects representing many different demographics. Any media coverage you receive should be shared (liberally) in hopes of cementing your reputation in the eyes of your followers and driving more revenue.
Reality TV: cable TV shows have become the new frontier of media outreach with shows on the Food Network, HGTV and Discovery helping small businesses, chefs, interior designers, fitness coaches become famous overnight. Austin’s reputation as a hotbed of innovation and population growth makes it a desirable location for reality TV. Pay attention to casting calls online and you may just find yourself featured in a show about food, cars or tattoos.
Expert: becoming known as an expert or thought leader in a field of business can often lead to inquiries from customers; it’s easier to get over the “know-like-trust” hurdle when you are a recognized leader, speaker or columnist in your field.
Search engine leads and rankings: placements in a variety of online media will not only result in more website clicks they will also help increase your organic search engine rankings through hyperlinks in an article. This happens because search engine algorithms like Google’s value hyperlinks that point back to a website, especially from websites that are both highly-trafficked and relevant to your website content in some way or another. And higher rankings translate into more business.
Landing page & embedded links: whenever possible drive visits to your online assets, whether it is a homepage or a unique landing page created for the PR campaign. This helps you measure a campaign’s effectiveness plus you can embed marketing call-to-actions that you would otherwise not be able to highlight in a press release or expect to see a reporter endorse in an article.
Want to add your observations to the list or politely disagree? The comment section is all ears!
About Dave Manzer: Dave Manzer founded an Austin tech PR agency for startups and emerging-growth businesses in 2009. Dave Manzer specializes in highly integrated PR & marketing strategies that help companies in technology, healthcare and professional services reach their goals in brand awareness and revenue growth. To contact Dave directly about the PR over Coffee blog, please email him at dave(@)davemanzer.com.