I’m a big believer in using events to grow your business. Events provide a forum for you to showcase your expertise, grow your database, make new contacts and attract new clients.  And, if you’re in the front of the room as the expert and love engaging with the audience, it’s also fun!

In this article  5 Ways to Grow Your Business with Events by Eventgenioso, you’ll find events other than tradeshows to increase your ROI. Some examples? Experiential events for brand activation or product launches which pique the media’s attention. Training or seminars with high profile speakers in your industry, that even the fussiest client can’t refuse. And, incentive travel for new prospects and to jazz up your sales team. Fuel prices are low, everyone loves to travel and you can mix and match programs to target your goals. Have the courage to make it a mystery trip? 

As an INBOUND Guest Blogger (blogging is a great way to get media mention BTW), Joel Comm talks about using live events to drive business. In his post Live Events: The Fastest Way to Grow Your Business, he discusses the importance of meeting new people and building rapport with your audience. First, there’s getting to the like, know and trust stage. Then comes the opportunity to do business. Yes, live events can be fun and should be – but don’t forget the value of finding out what’s new (and trending) from vendors and starting conversations with strangers, who may one day be your client! 

Lastly, Constant Contact’s UK blog lists 7 Events to Grow Your Business with content definitely worth mentioning. You may be thinking networking or throwing a party right off the bat, but what about an Open House? I’ve suggested this to hospitals to Meet the Doc. There are also events to Get a Taste of “your subject”, expert/customer panels where advice and testimonials can be shared openly (great PR) and of course, Breakfast n’ Learn, to start the day off right. Make your own waffles, anyone?

Events work to build business, expert status, reputation and credibility.

PASSION 

Passion ignites the fire of your brand. Without it, you’re just like everyone else. The press wants to highlight intriguing and passionate people, products and services that their readers will be interested in.

Ask yourself:

  • What’s your passion and why?
  • Do you include your passion in your “story” so others can get to know you, your products and services, and what you stand for?
  • Are you willing to be transparent and let the world know who you really are?

Remember: A passion for your work + life enhance your
brand and celebrate your uniqueness.

POSITIONING 

Positioning is a mindset for success. Combine it with a road map for where you want to go, be seen and heard. Determine where you want to go not just in your imagination, but on paper and as part of a PR/promotions plan.

Ask yourself:

  • What does your road map look like for media and audience attention?
  • Are you following the same highway as others in your industry, or are you willing to be bolder and combine traditional with non-traditional tactics?
  • Who will set the course for the journey, and who’ll read the map?

Remember: Welcome those who fortify, strengthen and evolve your positioning, and be willing to help others do the same.

PREPARATION 

Be prepared for success and consider yourself an expert, even if you don’t think you are. The road will come to meet you if you’re doing the work and course correction is part of the journey. You’ll find it easier to leverage publicity with every new press mention.

Ask yourself:

  • What is your competition advertising or promoting on and off line?
  • How is your competition utilizing PR in the media and in what formats? (e.g. feature stories, articles, interviews, quotes, podcasts, book jacket reviews, etc).
  • Who will support you to ensure success?

Remember: You can create a PR swipe file of what you like, resonate with,
and aspire to. Imagine yourself in the story, on TV, as a featured panelist. What makes you different? 

PERSONALITY 

Make yourself unique interesting to the press. Start with a BIO that’s full of personality and passion, and ensure that it tells your story in a way that holds the reader’s attention and makes a positive and memorable impression.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you have both a long and a short version of your BIO for different purposes? (e.g. media interviews, teleseminars, articles, email signatures, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles, etc.)
  • Are you reviewing your BIO 3 months to keep up with your professional growth?
  • Is your BIO transparent and human, yet highlights your credentials and expert status?

Remember: Include at least 5 things others don’t know about you. They can be accomplishments, hobbies or interests that others may find fascinating. 

PRESENTATION

A professional presentation, photos and website get you past the gatekeeper for a longer look. Ensure that all of your on line and off line branding, photos, collateral and correspondence have a professional look and feel, and that you represent yourself as an expert – with all the bells and whistles expected of someone of your caliber. Look like a million dollar brand.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you maintaining a congruent look and presentation design with your website, newsletters, blogs, Facebook and Twitter pages?
  • Are you investing in professional headshots and lifestyle photos that portray you and your brand in your best light?
  • Are your promotional materials well written in a style and tone suitable for your industry?

Remember: Presentation is equally important for in-person meetings and media interactions. You are your brand wherever you go so dress the part at events, interviews, conferences, speaking engagements – even community gatherings. Be stylish and honor your brand!

PITCHABILITY 

Pitching an idea to the media takes some practice and perfecting, but once you understand how each media works, and how to get pitch ideas, the easier it becomes. Start by reading a reporter’s writing for insight on “how to pitch” them.

Plus, check out their Twitter, Facebook and website pages for insights on their writing style and preferences. You can also use pitch query services like HARO to reach reporters looking for your expertise, and check editorial calendars of magazines in which you’d like to be featured.

Ask yourself:

  • What story can I tell that highlights a new way of doing something, a product that will make life easier, an opinion that’s contrary to popular thinking, or a tie in to a movie or celebrity event?
  • What are some major trends right now, and what are the best ways to tie your pitch to them?
  • What are some national events that can be localized?

Remember: Don’t pitch stories already covered.
You can also try turning your pitch into a “top 10 tips” list. 

Take these 6 P’s and apply them to your business today!

PR, Promotions and Publicity aren’t a one size fit all strategy to get you noticed.  And, that’s a good thing.  Variety is the spice of life! In creating a PR roadmap, you want to customize the outreach experience and connect the dots from where a client is now – to where they want to go to be seen, heard and remembered. So the road less traveled is not the journey of choice!

For a handful of our Fortune 500 corporate clients, Partner Promotions is the go-to source for Brand Ambassador work in Boston. Companies like Comcast and CBS hire our marketing teams to promote their brands and actively engage with prospects and customers — to showcase new services, demonstrate products and turn loyal followers into raving fans.

After 15 years of hiring Brand Ambassadors, I’ve concluded that for me, hiring is primarily intuition based. Is the Brand Ambassador believable or not? Do I trust him/her? Would I give them the keys to my car? Eye contact is important too, or lack thereof, and I can’t discount appearance.  If my gut tells me to move forward, I almost always do, followed by a reference check (gut usually wins).

So, how does an eager and responsible college student or professional of any age — who wants to make extra cash get into the Brand Ambassador business?

Here’s An Insider’s Look – How to Get a Brand Ambassador Job at Any Age  

  1. Google Brand Ambassador companies in your area and check Facebook Groups or Craig’s List for event/gig postings; Better yet, make a connection with other Brand Ambassadors and get WOM (word of mouth) referrals.  They’re worth their weight in gold.
  2. Apply online with a headshot and resume. If you don’t have a headshot, use an attractive and recent photo of yourself — with no arms or plants sticking out of your head. Please don’t be half naked unless you’re looking for a swimsuit model job. No experience? Highlight your sales, marketing and customer service skills.
  3. Score an interview by writing a clear, concise and friendly email. Use proper English and provide contact information. This is not the time to be lazy or sloppy in your writing or coy in your contact details. Impressions count to those reading your email and hundreds of others. Trust me. Delete is an easy key to reach.
  4. Meet in person ASAP.  Be early, well dressed and groomed. Bonus points for confirming your appointment by email and text. Remember to mention a personal referral if you have one and highlight that connection. You really could earn thousands of dollars from this one meeting.  Make it count!
  5. You are unique so accentuate the positive. Have an awesome smile? Flaunt it! But, you’re not on stage giving a one person show. Be mindful that if you’re hired, you’re representing not only the client who considers you a reflection of their brand — but the Brand Ambassador company too. It’s OK to stand out, but not like a sore thumb.
  6. Highlight your experience and own it. Why would a company want to pay you double minimum wage or more?  Not sure? Make a list. You’re outgoing, friendly, worked in sales and marketing, love people, sold credit card upgrades – plus you’re flexible. State the facts, show your resume, hold eye contact and be genuine. You can be sincere and still own your power.
  7. Don’t force a square peg in a round hole.  If there’s not a connection with the hiring manager or if you don’t like the brand, let it go. There are better opportunities out there. Follow your gut to see if the fit is right. If integrity is one of your core values, honor it. You’ll be a lousy Brand Ambassador if you’re not all in.
  8. When you’re hired, give thanks. Thank your hiring manager with an email. Read the study guides or marketing materials more than once. Follow directions. Check in frequently to show you’re interested, but not needy. Get more experience, rinse and repeat.
  9. Build a referral network so you can take a team with you. Want to make life easier for a hiring manager? Bring an established team with you to your next assignment. You’ll save your boss time and aggravation, plus be a shining star. There’s also negotiating power here as a manager, which is paid at a higher rate.
  10. Keep business business and personal personal. Don’t overlap the two. News travels fast and not always to the right places.

Side note: My kids, their friends, friends of friends, strangers and people from every walk of life have helped with the many clients and Brand Ambassador positions we’ve had over the last 20 years and counting. PR, Promotions and marketing isn’t just for entrepreneurs and small business owners – it’s for anyone with a message to share.

Share a message in your voice. That’s what makes it authentic.

We’re a society that’s definitely on the move. There’s no denying that!

But, what do you do when you’re busy and on the go? I hope that you hire people to help and outsource as many tasks as you can.

There are times though, that you’ll need to address business in the now — and the only available resource might be your Smartphone.

When you normally have access to your computer and a desktop full of programs, and you only have a phone – where do you turn?

To mobile apps for sure!

The world of apps can be confusing, but here’s a tip that might change your perspective and save you hours of time…

Ask a fellow entrepreneur (or fellowpreneur as I call them) what apps they have on their phone and more importantly, ask them which apps they use every week!

Filling up a ‘toolbox’ is a great way to be more productive on the go! Unfortunately, not every app or program will be for free. I suggest you try out the free version of an app first (usually there is one) and if you like it and use it, pay an extra few dollars for the upgraded version.

Now, here are my three must-have apps for the Business Owner on-the-go!

For photo enhancements, check out the app Over. I like Over because with just a few clicks, I can add a logo and/or text to my images before I post the picture to social media. The spinning wheel is easy to use and once you’ve edited your image the way you like it, you can save it to your photo gallery.

What do you do when someone hands you their business card? I used to put the card in my purse and I know many men who put them in their wallet or suit jacket, where they’ll remain until they are forgotten – or washed till there are no remains! You can download one of many business card scanners and upload the business cards directly (and immediately) to your phone where you can store the info and start the process of connecting!  (You know it’s a process, right?)

Another great tool I love is having a voice recorder app. This article by The Social Media Hat aka Mike Allton talks about using your driving time wisely to record blog ideas. Consider taking this app to the next level and record to-do lists, marketing copy or comments from your last sales meeting – while ideas are flowing.

Here’s to making life easier, more productive and applying these tools to save you time!

Have a burning small business marketing, PR or promotions question?  Email me at Robin@RobinSamoraInc.com or take 15 minutes out of your busy day and call me at 617-921-3448.

Brand Ambassadors, whether paid or unpaid, have a critical role that’s often overlooked and sometimes regarded as a line item first to cut, budget time.

The truth is, the best Brand Ambassadors mirror your voice and attitude in the marketplace. They take a company’s concept, stats and goals and create, then deliver, a message that feels authentic. Their job is to connect with your target audience and influence them in a positive way.

Busy managers and executives with aggressive goals sometimes forget that the Brand Ambassadors who carry your flag are people too.  Unconsciously, they can change their marketing tone if you forget to treat them as part of your team, barely pay attention or put inexperienced managers — who don’t understand group dynamics or the value of outsourced staff — as first command.

Brand Ambassadors who showcase your products and services are valued allies in your PR and marketing efforts.  Maximize their output and high energy when you work together.

Here are 3 Ways to Motivate Your Brand Ambassadors   

  1. Acknowledge that a Brand Ambassador has an important role, just as important as a sales or marketing team member.  They’ll wear your brand, give a face to your company and hopefully convey heart and soul as well.  Show them the respect that they deserve as they interact with your prospects, clients and colleagues.  There’s an incredible upside to being valued as part of a team.
  2. Appreciate Brand Ambassadors as front line reps and show them love, even if it’s in small ways; invite them to company meetings, trainings and give them VIP access and parking if available when they’re working a high profile event. If tickets are plentiful at a certain venue, consider offering them as a thank you. Often, complimentary tickets get discarded, and it’s heartbreaking for some to see the waste. As in life, the gesture of sharing goes a long way and generosity is seldom forgotten.
  3. Allow Brand Ambassadors the flexibility to deliver your message, in their voice.  Every Brand Ambassador, like every person, has their own unique style, tone and timing  —  and the ways that people listen can be as varied. Be open to different communication styles to reach a wide and multi-cultural marketplace and honor their freedom to express themselves within the guidelines of the brand. With the high-tech world that we live in, there’s never been a better time to reach out and touch someone.

Brand Ambassadors touch one person at a time in ways that social media can’t.

Make every touch point count, from the top down.

Like this article?

Check out others I’ve written about promotions —  3 Key Traits of an Elite Brand Ambassador; The Power of PRiorities, PRofit and PRomotion3 Promotion Secrets of the Rich and Famous

As a Brand Ambassador and Promotions Expert who works with big and small brands, the question “what does branding really mean?” comes up often. Being on-brand, online branding, off line branding, brand awareness. One thing I’m very aware of is the money spent to see that it’s done right!

Brand it right or brand it wrong, being focused and on target with your messaging is important and key to establishing a look and feel — as well as a social identity for your product or service, and the revenue that it will generate.

This week, I’d like to share a few branding articles I hope you’ll find interesting;

First up, let’s look at 3 ways brands are marketing nostalgia in the age of throwback Thursday from Entrepreneur.com. “As millennials become increasingly important as customers, brands have started heaping on the nostalgia to woo them over.” If your target audience includes millennials, or any other older generation, take a look at this article on how to ‘reel them in’ using nostalgia!  (Remember Reading Rainbow?)

Next I’d like to share a video which is actually a Google Hangout On Air about ‘Branding for Small Businesses’. In this video, Lauren Zirilli, Vistaprint’s Director of Global Brand Strategy, talks about how small business can build their own brand. See what you think!

In Content Lessons From Three Brands That Kept Their Brand Promise (and Three That Didn’t) by Marketing Profs, we learn  that “content marketing has the power to help companies articulate and communicate the brand promise—which goes beyond a corporate mission statement. Marketers can craft content that shows what they really stand for.” One of the three brands highlighted is Subway, with their lifestyle campaign, ‘Eat Fresh.’

How is your brand standing out online and is your brand message consistent with your marketing message?

It’s 83 degrees where I am now in Rincon, Puerto Rico, mecca to surfers from near and far. I’m probably one of the worst surfers I know, but I enjoy the camaraderie of friends, working beach side, watermelon mojitos and fresh tuna pinchos. Life is as good as you allow it!

Traveling the world is something that’s important to me, as is growing my business and staying connected to my team, sales force and clients. Traveling the world also gives me an opportunity to meet new and interesting people who may one day be clients.

Case in point:

There’s a multi-million dollar piece of property that’s breathtaking here with a small raised look out built particularly to showcase the view. Smart Marketing 501.  My friend and I stopped to admire it, took down the contact information and talked with the owner’s son. He invited us to drinks, sunsets and a chorizo and churrasco steak BBQ on the deck that only added to the experience of ‘living the dream at the property’. Smart Marketing 601.

At one of the gatherings I met a rep from a Sun Tan Lotion company who happened to also sponsor a major Surf competition recently.  We talked about his set up on the beach, sampling, brand ambassadors and Partner Promotions — how we’ve been showcasing products and services for the past 15 years.

Got his number.
Got his Text.
Got his email.
Got a Prospect.

Next time you’re on vacation (or not) follow your dream and see where it takes you.

You might be surprised.

Writing from the road in sunny Puerto Rico,

Dear New Year, Bring it On!

I’m always excited about possibility and my senses are keenly aware of the expansion that’s forthcoming in 2015.  Not just for me and my business, but for my friends and family, and fellowpreneurs I don’t even know yet.

Every year I like to look at highlights of my life in a visual timetable. I’ve borrowed this concept from one of my speech coaches because I’m nervous of forgetting important topics on stage.  We’re not presenting (except to ourselves) so I love this exercise to identify life events and business accomplishments.

Here’s a portion of my timeline for 2014 – want to draw one for yourself?

(Click to View Larger)

(Click to View Larger)

January – Lived in a ski house, seaside furnished apartment and Puerto Rico.

February – Worked from the slopes. Triple time on weekends.

March – Moved in to my farmhouse – I love it! A bittersweet time in my life.

April – Traveled to Prague and Budapest. Got pampered. Really fell in love.

May – Grateful for 3 new clients and writing projects.

June – Wonderful recruiting project.

July – Finished my first children’s book. Family time. Working at the island and Rye Beach.

August – Super busy with client work.

September – Woo Hoo!  The team is cranking! Speaking gigs, articles and panels.

October – Expo talk, trips to NY, birthday love, VIP days.

November – Hiring to fill positions – VIP days.

December – Big expansion plans  Great referrals Family time  Holiday surprises.

Late December – Booking new work, webinars and FUN for 2015!

Remember, you can add whatever events or accomplishments you like to your own timetable.  They can be words or images. Simple or complicated. Pictures or photos. If you create a digital version, it can have links or music or…

In reality, this is a visual map you’ve created for yourself, much like a PR or Promotions Business Building Map we create with clients (with your goals in mind)!

It’s no surprise that I love to schedule my life around my business and am blessed with a talented team to help me get there. I’ve never been a 9 to 5 er, but I can work like the dickens!

When you buy your new calendar, fill in your vacations first, even if it’s just an idea. Then plan your work around it. Writing your dreams on paper is the first step toward making it happen. Then, keep writing.  

Wishing You Happiness, Health and Prosperity in 2015.

PS –Thoughts really can turn into reality. And, it’s all possible. Share your big hopes for 2015 below.

I’m not the most active networker in the world, but I love to keep in touch with my colleagues and friends during the holidays. And, being a long standing member of a few groups, I especially like to reconnect and see a familiar face (or ten) when there’s no pressure – just to have a good time.

Last night, I had the pleasure of going to one of my Boston networking Holiday parties where I’ve been a member of years. Colleagues I haven’t seen in some time approached me saying things like:

“I read your newsletter all the time and want to talk the first week of January about a new project.”

“Your Cyber Monday promotion was a great idea and I should have taken advantage of it. Can I get feedback on a couple of ideas?

“I’m so glad you’re joining my group and your workshop idea is perfect for our members.  Maybe you can be on my advisory board?”

Not only was I having a great time, learning a couple of new dance steps (I’m rusty on that one), I also took the initiative and approached a new rum company with an amazing product and talked about representing his brand in the marketplace (after a sample or two).

The point is, business and pleasure can be mixed and when you’re not looking for the next ‘big thing’, doors open and conversations begin. Opportunities present themselves all the time, and it’s our attitude and openness that welcome them.

How will you welcome new business this Holiday Season?

I hope with a smile, handshake and for the chosen few, a meaningful hug.

PS – Lots going on in the Partner Promotions world. And so looking forward to a fun and prosperous 2015! How ‘bout you?  Share your thoughts and let me know why…

It seems like ages since I last wrote to you though it hasn’t been.  I’ve been tucked away in my farmhouse thinking about the New Year and spending lots of quiet time to look at my PRiorities for my business and life with 2015 just seven weeks away. Every year I feel this way, with the start of the holiday bustle and plans for ‘what are you doing for Thanksgiving?’ With my PRomotions work and contracts with retail giants, I see it even more as we gear up for an aggressive 4th quarter of PRofitable PRomotions.  It’s a mindset of wrapping up the year in a strong way, and starting the New Year even stronger.

Let’s look at PRiorities, PRofit and PRomotion: (And Bring It On)

  • As we look at the year in review, it’s always interesting to see where our dollars are coming in from. Are you surprised in any way and are the sources different from what you expected?
  • Are you willing to look at those PRofit centers and develop them even further with PR and PRomotion? I’ve had more than one opportunity to have an Ah ha moment and see untapped possibilities, but it was difficult to see on my own. I’ve always been open to receive guidance and help, and suggest you may consider the same before 2015.
  • When you look at what’s important in your life – the PRiorities – and match it with how you want your PRofits to look, then the time comes for a plan.

One of my favorite ways to spend time with a client is to work with them for a VIP day focusing on the next 90 days to get a clear and concise plan on what they really and truly want their business and life to look like, and then PRomote the heck out of that!

What’s your PRiority, PRofit and PRomotion plan for 2015?

Now is the time to take your best shot for your best life, your best business and plan for one best day after another. You can spin your wheels like a hamster or make a roadmap for where you want to go to be seen, heard or remembered.  The choice is up to you.

Me? I’m reviewing, refining and then redefining what’s best for me, and using my best talents to help others do the same.

PR and Promotion don’t have to be perfect across the board.  They just have to be perfect for you.