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6 Quick and Easy Holiday Tips for a Tight Marketing Budget
By Rich Kahn, eZanga.com
The holiday shopping season is hectic and stressful, especially for smaller businesses who have to keep up with bigger brands. Larger brands have bigger budgets and more reach, and success can feel impossible for a small business with a tighter marketing budget.
It doesn’t help that most people start their holiday shopping either, so you have to stretch that budget over the course of a few months. Lucky for you, there are quite a few ways you can make sure your holiday marketing budget lasts.
1. Start Planning Early
Over half of consumers have their holiday shopping done by December 10th. This means that you probably should have been thinking about your holiday marketing strategy while those warm summer days were hanging around. (There’s always next year, right?)
It’s never too late to start planning, though, so map out how exactly you want to reach your customers before, during, and after the holiday season.
Deck out your website and social media accounts to make them festive for the season, and tailor any content you plan on publishing for the holidays. Draft wish lists, gift guides, and any special promotions you’re going to have. You might even want to humanize your business by posting a season’s greetings from the staff.
The more tailored your content is to holiday shoppers, the more likely it is to gain traction and spread through social shares and word-of-mouth.
2. Engage With Consumers
Don’t just rely on social shares to get the word out about your companies. Take advantage of blog comments and message boards to answer any and all questions your target consumers may have. You should also always respond to any questions and inquiries on social media as well.
Consider joining local groups on social media, too. You can chat with local consumers and give recommendations, as well as spread the word about a flash sale or promotion.
The more valuable your answers are, the better the chance that the people reading them will visit your business or website to check you out.
3. Have Customers Refer You
If your current customers are happy with your service or products, then there’s a pretty good chance they’re willing to tell their friends, too. Take advantage of that, and ask your customers to refer you. In exchange, you can offer them a referral discount for every new customer they recommend.
You can also encourage your customers to post about you on social media. 92% of people trust recommendations from other customers over branded content. In fact, user generated content is one of the biggest consumer influences on social media. So create a hashtag for your business and start a contest to get people posting with your products.
4. Enhance Your Mobile Reach
Most consumers will not only use their phones while they’re shopping in stores, but they’ll also engage with a business online before even going to the store.
In this day and age, your website must be optimized for mobile. Your search ranking depends on it, and so does your consumers’ experiences. Mobile optimization is one of your most important marketing strategies, so make sure it gets done.
To further help your chances with mobile users, consider adding a call extension to PPC ads. Live calls convert 30 to 50% more than cold sales calls, and consumers would rather talk on the phone anyway. It’s faster and much more convenient. Plus, it makes your PPC ad stand out more than the others.
You should also make sure you claim your business location on Google. You’ll show up more often to consumers who are searching nearby.
5. Optimize Your Ads for Local
Although paid advertising might seem like the last way to make your tight budget stretch, you should still consider it. You can tailor your PPC and social media ads so that they’re hyper-targeted for a certain location.
You may also want to consider using a smaller ad network. Although your ads won’t show up on Google or Bing, they will show up on very niche sites that relevant consumers will see.
6. Post Exclusive Offers on Social Media
If you absolutely can’t afford paid advertising, and you don’t have time to browse blogs and message boards, then you definitely need to up your social media game. If you don’t have strong social profiles, that’s okay. It may not help you out much this year, but you should definitely start now so your profiles can grow for next year.
Pinterest is the leading social media network for holiday shopping influence. Most people on Pinterest start their holiday shopping earlier and spend twice as much.
You can post gift ideas, festive decor inspiration, and even holiday recipes; anything that consumers will find helpful and will keep your business top-of-mind throughout the holidays.
You should also post some exclusive offers on your other social media accounts, such as giveaways and storewide discounts. People love to save during the holiday season, and exclusive, limited time offers drive the biggest sales during the holidays.
It’s important to remember that holiday shopping is much different than everyday shopping. This means your marketing efforts need to be, too. Find your target audience, identify their needs, and tailor your holiday campaigns accordingly to make sure you can reach them without wasting a penny of your marketing budget.
Rich Kahn is the CEO of eZanga.com and has been recognized as a leader in the online advertising industry since 1993. Rich started eZanga.com, a digital marketing firm specializing in pay per click and pay per call advertising, in 2003 with his wife, Beth. Follow him on Twitter at @richkahn.
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