by helen on July 4, 2011


Shaun Flannery Photography

Ready to make the right first impression? Thanks to Shaun Flannery Photography

Get ready for the party – don’t go out the door without getting ready to make the right first impression

Hi and thanks for joining the challenge – I’m looking forward to spending the next four weeks sharing my views on how PR can help you raise your profile and improve your reputation with the people who matter to your business.

So, let’s get started.

Plan to make the most of what you’ve got – review marketing resources, set goals & objectives

If you want to attract the right kind of people, you have to look and act right. It’s no good going to a black tie dinner in jeans and a t-shirt and spending the evening talking to your partner (unless you’re already at the very top of your game, and you don’t need to attract or impress anyone).

I expect those of you with shops or offices spend a lot of time thinking about your window display or reception area, your leaflets and brochures, business cards and advertising. How about your virtual presence? How does it compare to your offline presence? What does it say about you and your business? Is it appealing to the right audience?

Before you invest in a campaign to get yourself noticed more, you should make sure that what’s there to get noticed is worth noticing – are you with me?

And before you start taking a long hard look in the mirror, remember it’s not just about looks. You could have the swankiest office, the flashiest website, the best-looking sales team and TV ads full of celebrities. But if you haven’t got something people want, something that makes a positive difference, no amount of marketing hype will persuade them to buy it and keep buying it.

So, before you start on the 20 day challenge you need to spend some time thinking about your business.

Know your audience
Who is your ideal/typical customer? What do they like? Where do they live? What do they do? How do they prefer to do business – face-to-face, online, over the phone? Do you have suppliers and/or partners? Who is your ideal/typical supplier? How about employees? Who is your ideal/typical employee?

If you can get into the minds of your audience it will be a lot easier for you to work out how to get them to know, like and trust you – so they will want to do business with you.

What sort of reputation do you have already?
Do you have a good reputation for something specific? Is your name well known? Are you new to the market so your reputation is in its infancy?  Spend some time thinking about how you have earned or achieved your reputation and how you maintain it at the moment. You might need to ask customers, colleagues, employees or friends to help with this one.

Remember, reputation = what you do and say + what others say about you.

How do you let people know about your business? How are you communicating your successes, achievements, innovations? Do you have a brochure, a newsletter, stories in the media, a frequently updated website? Are you networking regularly offline and online using social media?

What are you doing about what people say about you? Are you listening? Are you encouraging people to talk about you – are you asking the right questions?

How do you compare to the competition?
Pretty self-explanatory – and hopefully you know how they are promoting themselves, and what sort of reputation they have. Are there any weaknesses or gaps that you could be exploiting?

Why should people buy from you?
What do you offer that no-one else does? It doesn’t have to be an actual product or service; it could be the way you deliver it, where or how it’s made, what it’s made from, or the price. Anything that sets you apart from the competition.

If you don’t do anything else on this list, make sure you know the answer to this question.

Give yourself a goal and objectives
This campaign is about improving your reputation – in 20 days if you keep up with it! So your goal is pretty straightforward. But how about some achievable, measurable objectives?

For example, make 10 new business contacts, get 10 new testimonials from existing customers, generate two stories in the media. It could even be something as simple as complete your Linkedin and Twitter profiles, invite your existing business contacts to connect with you, and post interesting status updates and Tweets at least once a day.

So go on, block out a couple of hours and get thinking. Jot down some answers to the above questions and give yourself at least two objectives – if you want to share them with us please do so in the comments box. It will give you an incentive to keep up with the challenge and a good benchmark to measure whether what you do makes a difference.

See you tomorrow for some useful tips about branding in the online world – a guest blog by Jag Panesar of Xpand Marketing in Bradford.

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