Without sales we wouldn’t be in business. And who brings us business? Customers of course! It might be easier for big businesses to spend more freely in buying customer happiness, but you don’t have to be a Fortune 100 brand to show you care. Small businesses can love even more tenderly!

In 13 Ways to Show Customers You Love Them Frias Kittaneh from Entrepreneur.com shares the love with his collection of customer loyalty secrets. A few suggestions?  Break the Rules. Extend Promo Code deadlines. Celebrate an odd holiday with your clients. Or, simply hang out with them at new restaurant in town. (I love that one).  In the mood for love?  Read more ideas here.

Check out this article too from Helpscout.net 25 Ways to Thank Your Customers. You’ll find some fun and quirky ways to thank your customers and create stronger connections with prospects too. We all can be reminded on how to show appreciation, no matter what stage in business or life we’re in. Give a Good Read with your own book if you’re an author or select a book your client might like.  Don’t forget to include a personalized bookmark too! You can also throw a party or hold an in-store event after hours. You’ll have plenty to choose from!

Me? I love love anytime of the year, not just on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re looking for 100 Ways to Say I Love You without having to say “I Love You”, check out these phrases for your friends, family or favorite fans.

Remember them for your own Personal PR.

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

Looking to up your game? Schedule a complimentary Discovery Call with me to see how you can score more PR and Small Business Marketing Success. You can also ask me in person. I’m speaking at Constant Contact Headquarters on March 1 with other social media, email marketing and SEO experts, on How to Develop and Manage Your Online Brand. It’s FREE. Join Heather Jackson, Christina Inge, Jeannette O’Neil and me from 10am – 2pm.  Space is limited – Register now!

This is a story about an amazing 15-year old girl who wanted to go to private school. Almost everyone told her she couldn’t do it. She’d never get it in and it was way too much money. Impossible and unrealistic they told her. “What was she thinking?”

It was late July. Summer vacation was in full swing. She had no transcripts, notes from her teachers or experience in applying to a coveted school.

One thing she did have though – was a dream.

Two or three times a week, my niece took her boat to town and walked up a long hill to say hello to the Admissions department. Piece by piece she hand delivered her application and asked what she needed to do next. Day by day we talked about what she wanted to accomplish, not worrying about obstacles.  They were clear – lack of financing, tight deadlines and fear of the unknown. “Don’t worry about the how,” I’d tell her. “Anything is possible.”

Our next door neighbor had children attending the same school and offered to talk with Admissions on her behalf. My niece didn’t know this. She went on her merry way visiting, collecting letters from teachers and pursued her dream.  I went to visit the school, to say hello as an unofficial ambassador for the cause and it was clear, they were impressed with her initiative, determination and cheery can do attitude.

You know the “Little Engine that Could”?

It wasn’t a total surprise that “The Teenager Who Could” was funded last minute by an incredibly generous scholarship that made attending possible. Bright and bold, this 15-year old who had never slept away from home got accepted.  She knew she wanted something big for her life – and wasn’t afraid to go for it.

In her first semester as a sophomore, my niece made MVP in JV soccer. In the second, she was asked to join the Varsity Ski team.  She’s a part of a vibrant community and loving it.

PR and Marketing lessons from a 15-year old.

If there’s something you want, give it your best shot. Meet people in person. Get to know them. Just be you. Surround yourself with believers who will go to bat for you, because they want to, not because they have to. Freedom lies in bold actions. You never know what’s going to happen. The power of intention can be magical. Make your follow through rock.

On Spring break she’s going to meet Donald Trump in Florida.

Who are you going to meet?

12

Save the Date: Tuesday, March 1 – Join me and #branding experts, Christina Inge, Jeannette O’Neil and Heather Jackson at a Mastermind Workshop on How to Develop and Manage Your Online Brand at #ConstantContact Headquarters, Waltham MA.  Here’s the link to register. It’s from 10a – 2p. Attend one session or all 4.  Let me know if you’re coming! PS – it’s also free.

Building a brand isn’t a paint by numbers project, and if it was, you probably wouldn’t be interested.  You can’t follow exact directions to create the perfect picture, but you can paint in your own style.  The same with PR and marketing.  You’re the artist.

To be a successful marketer, your mindset, attitudes and particular way of thinking have to be flexible, focused and free thinking. Imagination counts. Reeling it back in matters. It takes a certain creativity to blend your world with that of your target market. Plus, come up with ideas (and results) week after week.

To All the Marketers Out There – Is this Your PR Mindset?

  • You’re creative, positive, quick to connect the dots
  • A natural influencer, sales person and networker
  • You recognize opportunities in a flash
  • Know how to pitch as well as ditch (ideas, copy, stories)
  • Believe that consistency trumps random effort
  • You ask zillions of questions and just can’t help yourself
  • Don’t need others to be entertained
  • Appreciate a great campaign, laugh and pat on the back
  • And when things are tough – or not, wouldn’t mind a kiss or hug at the end of the day

I understand, as well as you, that mindset varies day to day. If your dog ate the only copy of your media contact list, your mindset might change.

It would also change if Publisher’s Clearinghouse knocked on your door with an oversized check or you won the Powerball jackpot Wednesday for an estimated 1.3 billion dollars.

Say that happened. You might quit your job, sell your business or get out of Dodge. But one thing I do know, you’re PR mindset won’t change. It’s who you are.

Buy a ticket and challenge me. And make a promise that if you win, you’ll give a big chunk of change to your favorite charity.

That, my friends, would make my day.

PS. I’ve only got 2 client spots left for January!  Let me help you skyrocket your brand, business or  speaking career with online and offline PR and promotional strategy. Woo! Last week I got 2 articles in USA Today!  Select a time on my calendar and let’s talk. Or email me at Robin@RobinSamora.com. It’s almost mid-January. How’s Q1 working for you?

Ah, the year in review! I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Top 10 of a few categories in 2015.

The top 10 business lessons compiled by Fastcompany, top 10 leadership stories by Entrepreneur.com and for visual learners in the public relations and marketing world – a look at the top 10 infographics by Marketingprofs.

In this article from Fastcompany staff, top business lessons from 2015 are shared from a variety of leaders and entrepreneurs. What were they? Calling yourself a freelancer might not be such a good idea, world travel can teach you how to expand your comfort zone and stepping back from the CEO position may actually prove to be the best leadership move.  Other lessons? Alone time works, crisis can help your company and more.

Could you have improved your leadership this year? Entrepreneur.com’s Laura Entis shares top 10 leadership stories worthy of mention and each has a valuable lesson. What’s important to note is that successful entrepreneurship starts with successful leadership and we can all learn to be better communicators and more effective leaders.  Worth reading — 50 Rules to Be a Better Leader, 7 Toxic People to Avoid When Starting a Business, 10 Examples of Companies with Fantastic Cultures. All here.

And where would we be without visual stimulation? Marketing Prof’s Editor, Veronica Maria Jarski gives us insights of her company’s top 10 infographics of 2015. Take a look at 12 Secrets of Human Behavior to Use in Your Marketing, The Only 10 Slides You Need in a Pitch and Best Days and Times to Post Content  — and how could we forget the Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Social Media.  These are great infographics to post on the wall (if you like doing that sort of thing).

A year in review by observers, seasoned marketers and entrepreneurs.

All good for your business. All good to keep in mind for the New Year!

As a business owner, your website is your ‘hub’. It’s where you show off your goods, products and more importantly – yourself. The more people see your website, the more they know about your awesomeness!

Are you thirsty for web traffic? Let’s explore the concept of SEO juice, especially with 2016 just around the corner!

The first way to get more SEO juice is to squeeze more juice out of your current content.  That means you should always be linking back to the content you’ve written or shared before. It’s called internal linking and should be done deliberately and often.  KissMetrics wrote the Seven Commandments of Internal Linking.  According to the author, “It’s not overwhelming, complicated or difficult.”

So, what are you waiting for? Start learning the rules of internal linking and may the traffic begin!

Besides linking to previous content, there are several other tactics to rev up your SEO juice. Here’s an article by Hello Spark’s, 4 Important SEO Tips for Your Website. It’s easy to read, to the point and actionable.  Their tips are really call to actions and everyone who owns a site can benefit from these suggestions.

And, marketing veteran Carrie Morgan shares 3 Ways to Transform Your Blog Into a SEO Machine.  She talks about installing a great SEO plug-in like WordPress SEO by Yoast and using keywords efficiently. By choosing one keyword and including it in your post permalink, title and first sentence, you’re sure to get more juice. There’s more of course and you can read it here.

Lastly, what happens when you move or overhaul a site? SEO juice can and will spill all over, without a plan.  James Archer writes about the importance of the ‘301 redirect’ in this article on Forty.co. Read, bookmark and apply when needed!

Squeeze the SEO juice so traffic flows to you!

I don’t know if there’s a business person out there that doesn’t perk up when the word ‘free’ comes up. And, include me there!  I love to hear about new no-cost tools and tips that will like my life and business more productive – and help me stretch my marketing and PR budget.

So in the spirit of sharing and promoting your small business and brand, I’ll list 9 below:

9 Cool Free Publicity Tools and Tactics

  1. What about a Nighttime Silhouette? Find a large empty wall on a busy road near your business and project your logo on it at night. Think of it as a cool billboard without the cost. Though I’ve never done it, I imagine you need a timer too!
  2. Volunteer your boss or CEO! If you’re out and about, online and otherwise, you’re running into journalists and industry leaders who are looking for guests on podcasts, for interviews and possibly as speakers or panelists. See if they might like to feature your CEO as an expert. Your CEO will see you as a star and advocate for the company and rewards, my friend, come in many ways. Note: This also works for you!
  3. How about the risers on stairs? Last summer, I vacationed in Maine and noticed how shops on the second floor of buildings used advertising copy to influence customers to climb the stairs and see their store. I loved this idea. Would something like this work for you? What space do you have underutilized?
  4. Don’t underestimate the value of your email signature. Email Shmemail. It doesn’t have to be boring, you know. Add links or icons to your social media feeds or landing pages where you’re featuring new products or offers. Authors can give away chapters of their books. Experts, white papers. You get it. This is free promotional space that can change up as freely as you like and costs zippo.
  5. Use Twitter as a Focus Group. Want to test out a new idea, vote on a design or get some feedback? Look no further than Twitter. Use the audience you’ve built as a sounding board to ask questions, engage in conversation and increase your visibility and PR status at the same time. It’s free and targeted. Change up your tweets and test them out.  Ask and you will receive!
  6. Be an Expert columnist. I hope most of you are blogging. And if you are, it should be easy to tweak, copy and paste. The key word here is repurpose. You’ll get lots of eyeballs as an expert in your field when you have a column. This works for online and offline publications (or other blogs). If the publisher wants compensation for the promotional real estate, fine. Be open to Q + A from readers, consider speaking at an upcoming event or offer to be an online or offline joint venture partner.
  7. Hire an Artist for Sidewalk Graffiti. You don’t have to live near an art school to find an artist who’d like to draw on your sidewalk or side of the building! If you’re going big and using the side of an abandoned building, get fellow business owners to chip in. Perhaps this artist would be thrilled with a feature story or needs that just one, je ne sais quoi piece to go to the next level? You could be the answer to his/her prayers, and he/she to yours. Open space can be used in a number of ways. Be creative in your thinking!
  8. Create a video for your LinkedIn summary. I can hear you say, I didn’t know you could do that? Well, you can! It doesn’t have to be super fancy or long, but you can include a short video in that section if you want to stand out in a crowd. Don’t forget too to beef up your LinkedIn profile with rich key word marketing and PR copy – and use all the characters.
  9. Hire an Intern to who loves Pinterest. Many of you probably know what a goldmine Pinterest is, especially to attract a female audience. You also may know that including your URL on images can link back to your website, blog or special offer landing page. Have a strategy in mind to follow and pin – and of course, be colorful and relevant to your brand!

That’s it for today, for cool PR and marketing ideas. Shake it up. Be Bold. And, Rent my Brain if you need help creating a buzz for your business!

Life is sometimes a surprise and when you put yourself out there – to promote a brand or yourself using PR, you really never know what the outcome will be – or where you’ll be seen.  You just have to believe!

Surprise on me/us, when we heard this weekend that my friend Steve and I would be on a billboard in the Boston DMA to promote the Nova Star cruise ferry from Portland Maine to Yarmouth Nova Scotia. How did we get there?  We were featured in a TV commercial last year for the NovaStar promotion and one of our photos was chosen for the ‘fall’ digital billboard campaign.

NovaCruise

Now, we aren’t part of SAG-AFTRA; we’re two entrepreneurs who decided to take part in the commercial shoot on Steve’s birthday while we were celebrating in Kennebunkport. We never knew when this kind of experience would present itself again, so we said YES!

You can stay in your same old/same old over and over again until you are bored to tears with your life.

You can get PR and promte yourself and your business in the same old way, but, you’ll never get different results. So, shake it up!

This is PR and promotion at its best.

It’s fun! It’s unexpected, visual and shareable.

When you take advantage of PR opportunities like this, the path is unknown. If you move forward with intention and positive energy, life will respond in kind, almost pixelating.

We had breakfast with Carly Fiorina this past Sunday and heard The Donald (pumped up and rearing to go) at a party a couple of weeks ago.

Your life and business can be as full as you want it to be, and as BOLD as you choose.

Ditch the fear and get on board.

When you celebrate who you are, then everyone else will get on board too!

Robin

PS – I’m offering a 3 Month PR Intensive to 10 small business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs who want to boost their brand and income. Write me at Robin@RobinSamoraInc.com  if you want to create a PR Roadmap that will take you from where you are now, to where you want to go!

Do you ever mess up? I mean, REALLY mess up?

If you’re human, you have. And, not just once!

As business owners and professionals, we feel the need to be perfect, all the time.  But it’s impossible to strive for perfection and stressful at that.

So, what should we do when we mess up?

John C. Maxwell once said, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.”

In this article by John Caddell, author of The Mistake Bank, we learn that to bounce back and grow stronger, we have to do several things — and not a single one includes hiding our mistake or passing if off as someone else’s.

So, the first thing to do is admit a mistake was made, not just to yourself, but to those you’ve affected.

Next, you should apologize.

But, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do that was well.

In The “Just Right” Reaction When You Mess Up at Work, Ashley Cobert talks about how to apologize, ‘just right’. That includes apologizing just once and then offering solutions; nothing more, nothing less.

Lastly, from Entrepreneur Magazine, there’s 3 Steps for Fixing Big Business Blunders and the one last step of how to save face.

You need to walk the talk!

That means if you apologize and offer solutions, you will actually have to follow through and not only fix those mistakes, but also lay out a plan to never have this blunder happen again!

With these three tips you should be able to turn a potentially disastrous situation into a learning experience.

The thought of creating a website to sell your products and services is exciting! From start to finish there may be a hundred steps, but the first is finding a domain name that you like — one that resonates with your brand. Picking the right name influences your overall PR, marketing and social media strategy – so it’s important to choose one that works!

3 Questions to Ask Before You Buy a Domain Name:

  1. If you are the brand, consider buying YourName.com.  Already taken?  Look at YourName.org  or YourNameWhatYouDo.com, with a few variations.  Are you John Smith? Not so great for differentiating yourself on the web. But, if you add your middle initial or city that could help you stand out.

    Now, if you’re “John Smith the Elephant Handler”, I’d do a happy dance and buy JohnSmithElephantHandler.com. I’m certain John would have little competition in the jungle and still get noticed.  Note: I’d also suggest John buy ElephantHandler.com which, by the way, was available at the time I wrote this. John, here’s another tip, link both domains to each other!

  2. Is your domain name hard to spell or a play on words? I like to give everyone a free pass here. Some of us can spell and were spelling bee queens and others were math geniuses. Make your domain name easy to remember and spell. Buy misspelled versions of your domain name that point to your website(s) so you don’t miss any traffic. You might think it’s a waste of time or effort, but it’s an investment that pays off –especially if your name is a bit confusing!
  3. Does someone else have a domain name almost identical to yours? I’ve been asked if it’s worthwhile to buy a domain name similar to yours a hundred times. And my answer is always the same.  Yes, if it’s affordable and in your budget.  But no, if it’s just parked and you have other options. Well positioned PR and social media promotion can create oodles of visibility for your brand and traffic to your website.  All of your marketing tactics combined will make a difference to help meet your goals and objectives.  A consistent message, constant communication and inspired daily action are key!

Another tip about buying domain names?  Buy strategic keywords and string them together as a URL which lead to YOU. Research what works best for your industry before you buy.

All these tips are great, but creating a PR and visibility plan is the most important to get the biggest bang for your buck.

If you want to set up a 15 minute discovery session to see how to cut through the clutter, to sell more products and services – or build your brand, click hereI have a few more PR Summer Session Openings at a discounted price for the rest of August. 

If you’re in sales, marketing or a public speaker interested in maximizing their brand and image, think about hiring a stylist.

Your initial reaction may be similar to my first thoughts. “That’s way out of my league and too expensive.”

The truth is, a talented stylist is worth their weight in gold – especially if you want to look and feel your best and command the room with confidence and style.

If (and when) you hire a stylist, be willing to be vulnerable and open to suggestions. Your wardrobe advisor and image consultant has been trained, not just in the fashion sense, but in what flatters your body type. What you see as faults, have been seen thousands of times by other stylists and studied.

And yes, there are solutions.Beautiful young stylist near rack with hangers

Your flaws can be minimized and your most attractive features accentuated with a stylist’s recommendations and guidelines.

Here are 5 Reasons to Hire a Stylist: 

  1. After you’re over the initial, OMG, I can’t believe I’m hiring a stylist, you’ll realize that a stylist is a spot coach — just like I’m a spot coach for PR, small business marketing and free publicity. A stylist helps their clients look their best and improve their image with wardrobe essentials. You are your brand wherever you go. So, look fantastic!
  2. A stylist looks at you with different eyes than you look at yourself.  A trained professional sees your assets, not the negative parts of yourself you want to blink away. Stylists have your image, lifestyle and brand in mind for how you want to show up. They have a strategy in mind and a plan. Follow it to get noticed.
  3. Love the fact that your stylist is connected.  They’ll hook you up with their A-list of resources, tailors and beauty folk. They’ll share their favorite store contacts and will call ahead to make sure you’re treated like a VIP. Guys, listen up. This includes you too. The secrets of stylists could save you thousands of dollars and time that you don’t have.
  4. Shopping can be as easy as you like. It’s possible that you’ll fall in love with your UPS or Fed Ex driver every day when they show up with new outfits. Feel weird about all the attention? Love yourself more and more as you look in the mirror and experiment with new styles. Imagine yourself in front of your audience with only two thoughts; how great you look and how much they want to buy from you. (Think positive, right)?
  5. A paid speaker or professional should look like the price they’re charging. Say you’re charging $2500 for a workshop. Shouldn’t your outfit reflect your expertise and the richness of your work? Heck, yeah. Step into your power and awesomeness!  Upgrade your look to be consistent with your talent, skill and offer.

I’m a fan of virtual styling and like to look at clothes on line because it’s relaxing.  Others like meeting their stylists at their favorite stores, or wherever they’re told to go. Every person and situation is unique.

If you invest in your education and mentoring, why not invest in your wardrobe and image.

Tie everything together for maximum impact.

After all, it’s your PR and marketing brand we’re talking about.