Marketing From A Woman's Point of View

Category — Advertising

3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture

This is the first in a 3 part series on the “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” from Guest Blogger, RuthAnn Bowen, PR extraordinaire and Founder of PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Come back tomorrow for part two!

Throughout my career as a publicist I’ve learned a few things.  Here are two:

  • 1. Publicity is often misunderstood
  • 2. Publicity success is often misunderstood

If you want to see a publicist get on their soapbox just use the words “publicity” and “advertising” interchangeably.  Publicity is not advertising.

Advertising is time and space you purchase.  Publicity is time and space you don’t purchase.  I know that’s a pretty simple explanation, but it really is that straightforward.

Publicity success, however, is entirely different.  Publicity success is not necessarily being on Oprah. Publicity success is not something that happens overnight.  The definition of publicity success for one business is not the same for another.

I have found there are three characteristics that can help shape and define publicity success no matter what your venture.  There are others but I believe these three are the most important. (And please contact me at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com with any you’d like to add to the list!) In this blog post we’ll explore the first one.

1.  Embrace Being Different

When it comes to publicity, conformity doesn’t work. The media continually scan the horizon for captivating stories which means run-of-the-mill isn’t going to cut it.  So what makes your story unique?

Do you:

  • Have a distinctive product or service?
  • Have an unusual story?

Let’s start with a distinctive product or service.  This automatically gives your story a natural separation from all the others in your industry.  That’s good.  Utilize it.  Capitalize on it. Make sure everyone you know and talk to understands what the difference is and that you’re communicating the difference effectively.

You can own the next best wheel invention with state-of-the-art, improved technology and performance. But if you’re not communicating these differences in a way that people or the media can understand them, you might as well have the original wheel.

If you don’t have a unique product or service, don’t despair.  You can still gain quite a bit of media coverage.  And I’d say 95% of publicity comes from this aspect. Simply look for a unique angle or pitch that might gain media’s attention.

Here are some ideas to consider:

1. Timing

Is there a certain time of year that demand for your product or service increases that the media might not be aware of?

For example, we all know that accounting and the April 15 tax season go together, but perhaps you have a unique product or idea helping businesses remember to pay their quarterly taxes.  Pitch this idea to a reporter at the end of any quarter during the year. (And if you actually offered to pay the tax? Well, let’s just say that would be a very unique twist!)

2. Holiday

Can your product or service be tied into a certain off-peak holiday during the year? Think Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, International Day of Peace (September 21 for those of you who weren’t sure), Grandparents Day?  You get the picture.

3. Personal story

Did your business or product idea grow from an unusual situation?  Did you take over the family company and change its direction with success, increase revenue, upgrade all the equipment?  Did you start your career on one path and end up on another that became more successful?  Did your hobby turn into a business?

4. Location

Where is your business located?

  • Are you a start-up but struck the real-estate lottery and are located     in a posh section of town?
  • Did you choose your location for green reasons?
  • Or did you find the best place ever but had to renovate it all by yourself because of budget constraints?

Granted, this type of coverage may not get your product covered necessarily, but it will get your business name some ink.

5. Unique consumer trend

Nobody knows your consumers the way you do and it’s up to you (or your publicist) to notify the media.

If you notice all of a sudden there’s an uptick in grandmothers buying your high-end fashion purses originally designed for teenagers, alert the media.  If there’s any unique demographic you weren’t anticipating interested in your product/service, alert the media.  Who knows, yours could be the start of a worldwide phenomenon in that particular demographic.

Any publicist worth their salt will tell you that if you don’t have a unique angle or twist to what you do, your story falls flat.  So go ahead and celebrate your differences!  It’s your first step towards publicity success.

Next post, “Tell Your Story”.  Because it does no good to have a compelling story and then keep it to yourself.

This is the first installment of “3 Steps To Achieve Publicity Success In Any Venture” by RuthAnn Bowen of The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Ms. Bowen is a thirteen-year veteran of publicity having worked in the entertainment industry in Nashville, TN and owning her PR firm The Bowen Agency Public Relations.  Contact her with your PR question at ruthann@thebowenagencypr.com
or follow her on Twitter @thebowenagency

April 13, 2010   15 Comments

7 Cross Promotion Ideas To Boost Traffic and Sales

Promoting your online business almost always depends on others. When just starting out, family and friends get the ball rolling and once you have a few customers you depend on their word of mouth. Cross promotion uses word of mouth and partner visibility to boost your sales, credibility and brand.

In a nutshell, cross promotional marketing is working with other businesses both large and small to draw attention to your products or services.

Cross promotion is different from affiliate marketing in that it is an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both people in the same way. With affiliate marketing, the affiliate gets a percentage of the pie based on an agreed upon amount. With cross promotion, both partners are looking to receive the same amount of compensation.

Why Cross Promote?

The easy answer here is that you want to increase traffic to your website or blog, establish yourself as an authority, and to increase sales. That is the goal of business, after all.

Another reason is to increase your visibility among your business peers. When you partner with a bigger more well known business or blogger (Mike Stelzner calls them Firestarters), you increase your credibility. Keep in mind what you have to offer.  The top marketers, influencers and large businesses won’t waste much time with someone who doesn’t bring something valuable to the table.

Types of Cross Promotion

So what does cross promotion look like? The agreement between similar businesses to help one another in their advertising and promo forms a network with new business people and also a way to increase profits for both of you.

Here are a few ideas for cross promotion to get the ball rolling:

1.  Advertisement: Banner or Link Exchange

You can post advertisement links or banners on each other’s sites. Look for people or businesses that share similarities with yours or are at least interesting to each other’s site visitors. For instance, if you sell party supplies, partnering with a party planner makes good business sense. Your goal is to be relevant.

If you don’t have a banner, you can get one pretty cheap at $20 Banners.  Depending on what design you choose, they really do start at just$20.  This gives customers a chance to check you out in a glance so be creative.

Don’t use those free or cheap link exchange services!  You want to build relationships with other site owners and you should be careful about the credibility of those other sites.  Don’t hook yourself up into a “bad neighborhood”

2. Guest Blogging

Write website content and blog for each other. This is something that does take a little bit of your time but the rewards are great.  By contributing to a blog in your same niche you’re establishing yourself as an expert in that field as well as building links back to your site.

Most website owners allow 1 or 2 “do follow” links within the text and a bio with links  so the visitors can click on it for more information.

Share each other’s audiences and tap into one another’s insight.  It’s a win for everyone if done well.

3.  Link It Up

When you are active in the blogging community you are consistently reading other articles and are aware of the topics.  Keep those in mind when you are writing your own articles and link back to them.

Rather than leaving a long comment on a blog post, create an article around it and link back to their post.  You’ll add content to your own blog and you’ll be offering a little link love at the same time.

4.  Comment Club

Another smart idea is to form a group of bloggers in your niche that will agree to leave comments on each other’s articles.  Honestly, I think this should be something we are all reciprocating without forming a club, but it may give us the motivation to kick it up a notch.

It’s like having an exercise partner.  You both want to get fit, but sometimes without that accountability of knowing someone is waiting on you it’s way to easy to put it off.  Having a group of commenters will keep you accountable and actively involved.

5.  Blog or Product Reviews

You see the big guys promoting one another all the time.  You always know when there is a new marketing or affilate product launch coming up when you see the same information coming from a group of people.  They have their own clubs they have created, so you know it works to create a mass viral effect.

You see John Chow, Jeremy Schoemaker, Yaro Starak & Zac Johnson cross promote.  Or, Michael Stelzner, Mari Smith, Denise Wakeman and Chris Garret together.  Recently we’ve seen Brian Clark, Chris Brogan and Sonia Simone form their alliances.  They all understand this concept.

6.  Blog Rolls

Blog Rolls provide your readers and Google a way of figuring out what you’re all about by who you read and look up to.

Much like link exchanges, but blog rolls have a more prominent place than an advertising text link and show your visitors that you recommend this other person rather than took money from them to gain that spot.

7.  Bookmarking Buddies

Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon are great ways to get traffic to your site…IF they are being bookmarked.  Without an active base of friends or subscribers it’s nearly impossible to make it to the front page of a bookmarking site.  There are certain guidelines you must follow in bookmarking etiquette to keep from looking spammy, so don’t go overboard.

StumbleUpon and Digg both offer “do follow” links to your post, I believe.  Delicious doesn’t have “do follow”, but they still provide traffic.  I use Delicious to bookmark those sites I want to have on hand as a reference because it’s simple.

For a better understanding of how it all works, I have an earlier series of articles I’d recommend called Bookmarking 101.

I’m sure there are plenty of other creative ways to cross promote that I may have missed. What have you found to work well?  What new ways can you think of to share here?  Leave your comments below to get some feedback.

To Your Success,

P.S. ~~> I am always on the lookout for ways to cross promote and help one another.  If you’d like to band together with me and others in my niche, drop me a line with your idea and we can discuss the opportunities!  You can use my Contact form or direct email: coree[at]marketlikeachick[dot] com.

April 7, 2010   13 Comments

Social Media Study: Why We Friend Brands Online

Through all the talk about engagement, interaction & brand awareness, let there be no mistake…social media users “friend” brands on sites like Twitter or Facebook because they expect exclusive deals and offers.  Sure, there is that need for personal interaction from a brand to build loyal customers, and there is the quick response from customer service that maintains consumer satisfaction.  But, what are social media users really craving?  Money saving offers.

I am a bargain hunter.  I find it exhilarating to be one of the few to catch a sale only offered for a short time, combine it with a coupon or promo code, and top it off with a rebate for the steal of the century!  I may be the extreme, but according to a recent study from Razorfish examining consumers’ digital habits and attitudes, 44% of those surveyed stated the primary reason they follow a brand on Twitter is in the hopes of exclusive offers or deals.

The 2009 FEED Report is Razorfish’s annual study charting how technology is changing the way consumers engage with brands. Razorfish surveyed 1,000 U.S. consumers (50.5% female, 49.5% male) in four major age groups that would be considered “connected consumers”:  100% having broadband, visited a community site,  consumed or created some type of digital media and who have spent $150 online in the last six months.

Take a look at some of these brand examples, Dell has earned kudos from social media mavens for generating $3 million in sales from its Dell Outlet through Twitter. Starbucks has soared to the top of Facebook brand pages, with nearly 4 million friends, by offering fans coupons for free pastries and ice cream. And Whole Foods tops Twitter with 1.5 million followers by broadcasting weekly specials and shopping tips.

Is Brand Engagement Still Relevant?

For a brand, what it all really boils down to is whether there is any direct correlation between consumers’ online interaction with a brand and their likelihood to purchase a given product or service. According to the Razorfish study, the answer is a definite “yes.” The study shows that 65% of consumers report that a digital brand experience has changed their opinion (either positively or negatively) about a brand or the products and services a brand offers.



64% of surveyed consumers say that their first purchase from a brand was made because of a digital experience online.  97%—a near-unanimous majority—report that a digital brand experience has influenced whether or not they then went on to purchase a product or service from a brand. That is huge.

Garrick Schmitt, Group Vice President, states it well:  “Digital brand experiences create customers. As we’ve found in our study, the overwhelming majority of consumers who actively engage with a brand digitally—whether by creating content for a contest or by “friending” a brand on Facebook—show a propensity to both purchase products and recommend those products or that brand to others.”

We want it all.  Consumers want to know that the brand cares enough about their customers to engage with us and keep their websites interactive and professional.  But we also crave that that home town feel of walking through the door of our general store and being welcomed by our friend the store owner that pulls us aside for the “special friend” discount.

Advertising is not dead in the digital age, but it is adapting.  Brands that can adapt with the trend and give customers that home town digital handshake with a deal in hand will be reap the rewards.
To Your Success,

November 9, 2009   16 Comments

Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities for BlogWorld Expo in 2 Weeks!

So, it’s end of the month and Blogworld is only 2 weeks away!! I am still so excited about winning the weekend pass from John Chow and can hardly wait to get there!  But here’s the thing,  getting my ticket a little late in the game has put me a little behind in the whole process of finding sponsors to cover any other costs involved. Guess what that means…

Sale time! I’m offering some big discounts on advertising and sponsorships of MarketLikeAChick!

Top 3 reasons you would want to be represented at Blogworld:

  1. About 50% of the time, people actually bought things they had learned about at the events.
  2. Word-of-mouth marketing power over 2,000 conference attendees
  3. Attendee’s blogs and websites reach over 80 million people every year. That’s about 7 million people a month

If you’d like to be represented at the biggest blogging & new media event this year, here is your chance and here is a sample of what I can offer (please contact me for more info):

  • $50 sponsorship –  I will hand out any marketing swag you provide me to the bloggers I meet. (provided we are a good fit & I understand your product)
  • $100 sponsorship – The above as well as a featured blog post for your brand before the Expo
  • $250 sponsorship – All of the above as well as a mentions in all live blog posts from the expo, and Twitter mentions  in my tweets to over 20,000 followers
  • $400 sponsorship – All of the above as well as 3 months of footer links that appear at the bottom of ALL posts on MarketLikeAChick that asks visitors to visit the sponsor.
  • $500 sponsorship – All of the above plus above the fold advertising on my blog for 6 months, live pictures from expo wearing branded clothing
  • $777 Full Sponsorship – In Vegas tradition, lucky 777!  Exclusive sponsorship to one company, all of the above plus optional creative marketing ideas, such as contests, giveaways, scavenger hunts on blog, Twitter and Facebook. Let’s talk!

I would also love to help promote clothing line, accessories, tote bags, or other branded items needed for the expo.  I will make sure they are prominently displayed & even post a picture from the event to show you!  One really popular item in the desert is WATER…I have a pretty good idea of how to use this as a marketing idea, but it’s only for sponsors!! Email me for more info:  coree at marketlikeachick dot com.

Going to this Expo not only helps helps me grow, but helps my community grow.  As I learn, collaborate, and create stronger and new relationships, it gives me a strong voice to represent MarketLikeAChick, professional female entrepreneurs, and the companies we work with. For companies that find themselves wanting to become more involved with new media, but still feeling a bit out of place, I would be happy to provide feedback on the Expo, trending ideas, and assist in forming open relationships between us, as bloggers, and you as a company.

To discuss any sponsorship opportunities, as well as creative marketing concepts for the Expo, please contact me directly and at your earliest convenience.  With the expo only two weeks away, I would like to give each Sponsor full promotional opportunity.  I look forward to hearing from you soon!

Going to this Expo not only helps me, but also helps me grow, but helps my community grow. As I learn, collaborate, and create stronger and new relationships, it gives me a strong voice to represent MarketLikeAChick, professional female entrepreneurs, and the companies we work with. For companies that find themselves wanting to become more involved with new media, but still feeling a bit out of place, I would be happy to provide feedback on the Expo, trending ideas, and assist in forming open relationships between us, as bloggers, and you as a company.

To discuss any sponsorship opportunities, as well as creative marketing concepts for the Expo, please contact me directly and at your earliest convenience. With the expo only two weeks away, I would like to give each Sponsor full promotional opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you soon! For more information on sponsorship, please visit my Sponsor Me page

To Your Success,

P.S.~~> For more information on sponsorship, please visit my Sponsor Me page.  I appreciate everyone’s help in getting the word out.  If you’re attending, please let me know so we can arrange to meet up!

September 30, 2009   3 Comments

Advertising For Newbies: Banner Advertising In 5 Steps or Less

Advertising your business is a main ingredient to any marketing plan and one of the ways people will know you are actually IN business and DO exist.  We’ve talked a lot about social media marketing or word of mouth, which are both super important ways to advertise, but believe it or not..there are still people out there that don’t participate in social media and that’s a huge market you’re missing if your not advertising  to the general public.

If you are a new business owner you know what it’s taken to get your business or product launch organized and ready to go.  The next step is to get your name out there and if you have never advertised before you are probably wondering where to begin advertising.  Remember, advertising is just one slice of the marketing pie, but it’s a big slice!  Here are some tips that will help you with your advertising options:

1. Master Of All

You don’t have to be an expert at all types of advertising to get started. Begin by focusing on one or two types of advertising and get good at them.  Decide which areas are “good” by testing and tweaking formulas.  If you try to do this with too many types of advertising at once it can be overwhelming and confusing.  Dont let yourself get to the point that you’re doing NOTHING because you are frustrated. The goal is to do SOMETHING and learn from it.

2.  Banners Are Beautiful…And Powerful

One of the simplest and still most effective forms of advertising is banners.  If you are fortunate enough to have a software program or a designer to create a banner for you, then start using them.  If you don’t then you have a couple options.  You can outsource by going to sites like guru.com, elance.com, or even Twitter to find a freelancer.  Another option that I’ve heard does a great job is 20 Dollar Banners.  You’ll get a professional banner design as low as $20 (depending on what you want designed) and usually with a 24 hour turnaround. It’s nice to have great looking banners, but remember…the only ones that will produce results are the ones you place…so just get one done and get started placing them!

3.   Fish In Your Pond

Now that you have your banner, you need to start finding websites to advertise on.  Blogs are one of the best places to start, but be particular about the blog you choose. You want to advertise to people that want what you have, right?  So, start by finding blogs that talk to your niche market.  You can use BlogCatalog, MyBlogLog, or other blog directory and search your keywords to find possibilities.   If you are marketing a home based business  you might try money making blog Sites. Use search terms  such as “Home Based Business”, “Make Money from Home”, “Opportunity Review Sites” to get you started.

4.  Do Your Homework

You’re not off the hook yet!  Once you have a list of  sites that YOU would actually read, you need to check their stats to choose the one that would be most probable to see advertising results from.  Alexa.com is a traffic ranking site that will give you the low down.   There is a whole training I could do on how to use Alexa for your benefit,but for the short term, the basic rule of thumb is to look for sites that are ranked 300,000 and below. Usually the lower the rank, the better…but also look for fluctuations over the past 30-60 days.  If a site is getting a lot of traffic you know your ad will be seen.

5.  Budget and Begin Advertising

Now that you have a banner strategy it’s time to start placing ads.  With your list in hand, analyze the traffic & stats for each site, your monthly advertising budget, and decide where to spend your budget.  I would suggest contacting the blog owner directly before actually placing the ad online.  Right now everyone is looking for advertisers for their blog, so you might ask if the blog owner would consider a discount if you agreed to run your add for multiple months.  Give it a shot..it’s pretty likely you will get good results as long as you are reasonable.

Remember in advertising you can never say the wrong thing to the right person. The wrong thing is the thing that is never said.  The marketer that wins, is the one with consistency.  Give yourself a goal of placing 3-5 ads per day to start out.  The most important factor is to take consistent daily action.

Do you have other advertising or marketing questions you would like answered?  I LOVE questions!!  Please leave them here in a comment or shoot a quick email to coree at marketlikeachick dot com.  I’d be happy to help!

To Your Success,

PS ~~> Looking for ways to build your list?  Expert List Builder, Jimmy D. Brown, has been kind enough to allow me to offer you his 21 day “List Marketing Minute” E-Course for FREE!  Jimmy has taught the best, names like John Reese & Nicole Dean, how to master the skill of list marketing.  You can sign up here to join the e-course and get started instantly!

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September 2, 2009   Comments Off