27 Nov 2013

How PR can boost your sales

Lucia Di Stazio, Director of MRA Marketing, talks about Public Relations and how it works to build your business

PR, or Public Relations, is more than press releases. In print or online, PR helps people understand your business, what you do and what you stand for. It helps you engage with your customers and build repeat business and loyalty, so they choose your company over competitors. It lets you tell your story, gets people talking and helps you build a buzz around your business. But ‘word of mouth’ or PR is not just about publicity. At its best, it can be the ‘strategic glue’ that integrates advertising, direct and digital marketing to build your business and your brand.

What does PR do?

Perhaps you want to build sales in the long-term, to break into a new market, to tell people your business has changed, or to re-position your company from a budget brand to one that sits nicely in the middle. Of course, PR mustn’t lose touch with reality. If the market thinks you are a budget brand and your customers agree then that’s what you are, no matter what you wish for, and no amount of PR will change water into wine. But if you’ve made improvements and customers have noted the changes, then there’s scope for educating the market so it can see what they see and come to get some.

Market research should help you find out what people think of you, identify your target markets and show where your business should be. Once you’ve established where you are and where you want to be, PR can help you get there.

The tools

In your PR toolkit you have access to everything from traditional press releases, letters, case studies and articles to events, exhibitions and websites. There’s overlap with direct marketing, brochures and newsletters, and sponsorship should also be included. Lobbying of journalists – including providing them with media packs and fact sheets on your company – helps generate interviews and positive press (when done right!). But most of these activities are one-way communications. The big change in PR in recent years has been the addition and exponential power of online public relations activity including the increasing use of interactive social and digital channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and Video. This has transformed the pace, power and practical reach of PR. Reputations can flourish or perish online, almost overnight, so regular monitoring and speed of response is vital.

Managing Perceptions

The point about PR is to manage people’s perceptions, and what they say about you, and to influence behaviour. It’s a risky business, because at some point you have to let go of the reins. You can’t control exactly what will be said, because others – the media, customers, prospects and rivals – contribute to the debate. But if you’re not defining the issues and influencing events, you’re leaving it open to competitors and others to do it for their benefit not yours.

To find out how MRA Marketing can help you create the conversation you need to boost your business, call Lucia Di Stazio on 01453 521621 or email lucia@mra-marketing.com.

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