If Your PR + Marketing Strategy Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It

You’ve just received your 8,000th email about how or why you should try to market your business and how a $1500 (or decidedly more expensive program) can show you how.

There used to be a time when there were a few simple methods to promote your business.

- Buying an advertisement

- Running a direct mail campaign (good ole snail mail)

- Hiring a PR firm to send a press release to the media on your behalf.

Now there are so many choices, your head is probably spinning around like a tornado.

While these options – no doubt – present great opportunities for us to get more visibility, it doesn’t mean we have to use ALL of them.

And sometimes we have to go back to the old-school marketing drawing board to use what worked before the onset of these shiny new marketing tools.

And, since we all have different businesses, different goals and – most importantly – different customers with different preferences, the “new and shiny” doesn’t always work.

So what does?

If you’ve been in business for a few years or more, scour some of your old marketing strategies from your most successful years. Did you used to clean up at Chamber of Commerce meetings? Get a killer response with direct mail? Boost sales by paying some high school kid to leave door hangers around a neighborhood?

Here are some examples:

- My husband (a dog trainer) still gets all of his clients with the old school business card. He even has our dog Jake carry some in his little vest during their pack walks. Plus, he has a killer client referral plan.

- A photographer friend of mine still gets most of his clients by direct mail postcards. Seems that while everyone is rushing to market on the Internet, there’s now zero clutter in the mailbox.

- A client of mine gets all of her own clients through review sites like Yelp. She’s tried almost every other avenue (Facebook, Twitter, special events) and review sites always win – hands down.

- Another client of mine has the most success on LinkedIn. They have tried and tested other networks, but LinkedIn always beats everything in terms of leads and closed deals. I actually attended an entrepreneurial conference this year where the speaker said quite snootily “who even uses LinkedIn anymore.” Guess it’s still one of the best-kept secrets of marketing.

- Yet another client of mine shirks everything but traditional publicity to grow her business. The more magazines and TV shows she can ham it up on, the better. Eventually all of this press caught the attention of a reality show producer and a literary agent. Sweet.

If you suffer from “shiny new thing syndrome,” here are your steps to recovery.

1. Think back – really hard – about what marketing activities actually worked for your business. Jot them down.

2. Go on an email newsletter diet for one week. You know – all of those offers that fill your inbox every day? Put them in a folder or just unsubscribe from those that you never, ever read.

3. Face the cold, hard facts of your current marketing activities. What’s working? What’s not? Choose one strategy that hasn’t panned out and swap in one of your trusty old marketing activities. Even if it’s like, dusty old.

Melissa Cassera is a sought-after expert in the publicity field and specializes in helping small business owners get publicity in top media outlets. As owner of Cassera Communications, Melissa has landed placements in top magazines, newspapers and morning shows for her clients. She works with business owners, authors, professional speakers, and experts from various industries including entertainment, healthcare, information technology, fashion and beauty, human resources and more. Melissa also serves as a nationally syndicated Wellness Expert, covering the latest in healthy living advice for media outlets and audiences across the country!

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