As eyes look forward to a new business year, many small business owners and entrepreneurs are hoping that this upcoming year will be the one that catapults them into success. But according to Shannon Cherry, APR, businesses often overlook a key element when making their business plans and resolutions.
“Most new businesses fail within three years – and it’s often due to the fact that many business owners think that simply hanging up an OPEN sign and placing an ad in the yellow pages will attract customers,” says Cherry, president of Cherry Communications (http://www.cherrycommunications.com), a public relations and marketing firm which helps small businesses, consultants and entrepreneurs to be heard. “What it takes is a marketing strategy that’s effective – and in the case of many small business owners – on a limited budget. They need public relations to turn the resolutions into revolutions.”
She says public relations is one of the most cost-effective methods of marketing available today. “Besides the fact that it’s low cost or no cost, public relations can help establish your credibility. It can position you as the revolutionary leader and expert in your field.”
Cherry suggests including your public relations efforts as part of a year-long, strategic business plan. “As you’re looking toward what you’re going to accomplish in the future, make sure you incorporate different public relations efforts as part of your complete plan,” she says. “That way you’ll be sure to schedule it in, just like any other business task.”
Cherry offers some low-cost public relations strategies to help revolutionize small businesses:
1) Write articles. “Articles don’t have to be long; they just need to be informative,” says Cherry. “Submitting online, as well as offline, provides a good chance to get your name in print at no cost.”
2) Write press releases. “Reporters everywhere are looking for stories, and a press release gives them the information to write that story,” she says. “Just make sure it’s newsworthy, not just an advertisement.”
3) Write a newsletter. Cherry stress a newsletter should contain content valuable to your target market, as well as promote your products and services.
4) Use your business cards. “Think of your business card as a mini billboard and start handing them out everywhere,” explains Cherry. “Include them in all your correspondence and put them in places that they'll be seen.”
5) Start Speaking. “Speaking in front of an audience usually makes you an expert. People like to buy from experts,” she says. “Speaking is free, and it’s just like making a sales call to many people at one time.”
Cherry says successful companies make public relations a priority. “Whether selling direct, through distribution channels or via e-commerce, a successful company must achieve and maintain a strong market presence through a continuous and effective public relations program.”
Shannon Cherry, APR, MA helps businesses, entrepreneurs and nonprofit organizations to be heard. She’s a marketing communications and public relations expert with more than 15 years experience and the owner of Cherry Communications. Subscribe today for Be Heard! a FREE biweekly ezine and get the FREE special report: 'Get Set For Success: Creative, Low-Cost Marketing Tips to Help You be Heard.' Go to: http://www.cherrycommunications.com/freereport.htm.