Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Doing your own PR this holiday season? Advice and tips to help you.

Written By Shara Lawrence-Weiss

Are you a start-up business? Short on cash? Have you decided to run your own PR this holiday season?

Just this week I was chatting with a friend and was informed that their company paid 5K for 3 months of PR services. The company simply sent out some press releases and landed the business a few blog reviews. Nothing more. You’ve probably heard similar stories and perhaps you’ve made up your mind: “These people just can’t be trusted with my money and my passion. No one can promote my business as well as me.”
There are some terrific PR firms and single entities out there, working hard for their clients. That said, there are also lots of firms doing very little to spread their clients around the Internet, through mom blogs and across the twitter/facebook shores.

Here are some tips for running your own PR this holiday season:

Don’t overdo the sales pitches
If you are on facebook or twitter, be sure you engage with your followers/readers. Don’t simply tweet or post about your sales, discounts, new specials and new products. That will quickly turn people away. Sales and social media are a dance, of sorts. Weave your pitches in between the other moves.
Let your followers/readers know you care about them
This is ‘key’ to small business sales. The typical consumer wants to know that the business cares about their needs, wants, likes, dislikes, family values and more. By ignoring this, you’ll likely cut sales short.
Be open to feedback
Are people telling you that your site is hard to navigate? That they get lost in the pages or confused by too many options? That your prices are just too high? That your shipping is too steep? Listen to this feedback! These are your potential customers and they are giving you valuable insights.
People first – sales second
Never put a sale over a person. People matter more than money. Most moms can smell a sales-pusher from a mile away. “No thanks. I don’t want to buy from you because I can tell that you care more about the end result than about me.” This is a sure turn-off for most mom shoppers.
Another sale will come – no worries
Worried that you missed a sale? Don’t fret. Everything in due time. Everything has it’s season. Perhaps you missed a sale today but there’s always tomorrow. Tomorrow might even bring along a bigger sale and a more loyal customer. You never know. Keep your chin up and don’t let negativity take over.
Support others
We all know what Mama used to say: “What goes around comes around.” If you spread love, it generally comes back your way. Spread selfishness – same deal. So – spread generosity and love. Buy from a mom business. Support another small business. Don’t expect that person to return the favor (although they may). Do it because you want to support them and because you understand it’s helping another family – another child – another business owner – and our economy. That has to make you feel great! Chances are, if you continue in a pattern of supporting others, the support will return. Some way, some how. It just will.
Offer your advice to others
Do business owners come to you, asking for advice? Offer it. Don’t keep your information and expertise stored up like a secret agent. Offer tips and help as you can – to stop other business owners from falling into ditches. This is not to say that you shouldn’t be paid for consulting time, if your business is consult-related. I’m simply saying: “Be a giver. Share when you can. Help others. Give-and-take. Givers Gain.” You don’t have to stick all of your eggs into the carton and pass them over, free of charge. You can still be kind and helpful in increments, nonetheless.
Undercharge but over deliver
The small business owners mantra: sell for less but offer more. Include a hand written card with orders. Send a kind email after the shipment goes out. Include a free gift with your shipment. This need not be over-kill but even something small will be met with gratitude, not quickly forgotten.
Remember details
Did someone tweet you, mentioning a sick grandmother? Or a contest they were in? Or a new product they were excited to show you? Remember these things and when appropriate, bring it up: “Hey! How is your grandmother doing now?” or “Hi there. Did you win that contest?” or “How’s the new product launch coming along?” People appreciate when you remember the details. Details and small acts of kindness are often what people care about more than anything else. “Love me in the little things” – and all that jazz ;-)

Places to post your information
Post your giveaways here for free:
Post a press release here for free:
Need moms to review your products? Contact them on your own!
Need someone to review your App this season? Contact a blogger here:

I wish you well this holiday season and beyond!

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