“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 15 minutes to ruin it.  If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
– Warren Buffet

I just taught a PR class on Digital Marketing at Salem State University, so I wanted to share the lesson. It’s about How to Prepare for a PR Crisis – not if it happens, but when it happens. Most of us sail through life and business, but at some point you’ll be caught off guard and it’s not always your fault. Here’s my version of a crisis management plan. Put it in place now to protect what you’ve worked so hard for. Protect your ‘ass-ets’!

9 Steps to a PR Crisis Plan

  1. Put together a crisis management team before a crisis. You may not think you’ll ever have a PR crisis, but if you’re in business it’s not only possible, it’s probable. Include your CEO, legal, marketing, HR and yes – your PR person to be part of this influential life/business saving circle.
  2. We all know you’re busy, but you have to listen. What are your employees, community, customers, enemies and advocates saying? Pick up chatter early enough and you might save yourself time, upset and a major PR crisis. Oh, did I mention lots of money?
  3. As in any relationship, it’s wise to preview expectations. What works for your personal relationships can work in business too. If you say you’re going to call back a customer in 48 hours, do that. If your policy is to call them within 24 hours and don’t follow through, you’ve lost their trust. Here’s an easy rule. Under promise and over deliver.
  4. Being transparent isn’t a bad thing. If you’re a CEO you might see this as a sign of weakness, but being transparent shows that you bleed like everyone else and you’re human. People like, know and trust humans as well as brands. If you’re the leader of the pack and you’ve messed up, admit it and don’t fudge the details. Position them accordingly.
  5. Everyone has made mistakes so how will you respond? My suggestion is to be mindful and thoughtful in your responses to all who have been affected. Someone or a group has been offended or worse, and often there’s more than a BAND-AID® needed. To fix relationships, TLC is needed to build trust again.
  6. You might be angry but for heaven’s sake keep calm. It’s hard to keep your cool when you’ve been attacked and it takes some coaching to stay even keeled. It’s also difficult to not take everything personally. You’ll never be everyone’s best friend.  If you want a best friend, adopt a dog.
  7. Who has ‘keys’ to your social media accounts? A really frazzled fired employee who has your passwords to Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn might post something negative about you, your staff or business practices. Put a system in place and know who has the passwords to your social media accounts and online voice to the world. Hint: This is critical.
  8. Create social media guidelines that are simple to understand. Sure you can’t control what your employees post on their own social media accounts, but you can ask them to adhere to certain guidelines about your company without infringing on their freedom. Every employee, vendor or volunteer is a brand ambassador for your company. Make sure they share a voice that aligns with your brand, not one that fights it.
  9. Your mom gave you good advice. You’ll never be perfect or please everybody. As a leader every day you step up to the plate and take risks. Some work out and some don’t. My ask is that you think ahead to what might be problematic and plan for it, without being paranoid. Fear puts you in a paralysis state often enough – and you’ve got things to do, places to go and a brand to build.

Create a community and brand advocates that love you and will go to bat on your behalf when times are tough. Don’t hide from bad news. Take a deep breath and suck it up. It not only builds character, but it also builds a stronger brand.

When I was a Girl Scout, this was our motto – and I think it still is.

Have you ever signed a contract with a client and got instant anxiety? Trust your gut feeling, and if it doesn’t feel right – it usually isn’t right.

Even if you’ve signed a contract and know deep down that this business relationship won’t work (after a lot of reflection), there are right ways and wrong ways to sever the ties.

Let’s talk “You’re Fired”!

We start with the basics.

Here are two articles that describe the type of client that might make your skin crawl and you probably already know you should fire. Note to self and you, think of this like a business marriage. If you feel icky every time you see your client, that’s more than a clue.

In 7 Telltale Signs it’s Time to Fire a Client, an article from Entrepreneur.com, we see seven signs that give us the go ahead to take action. Do any of these signs resonate with you? If they do, read on and learn how to say bye bye to that client.

What about customers you want to fire?  In Inc. magazine’s article, 5 Customers You Should Fire, co-founder Steve Cody of Peppercomm gives us the low down on which client types he would fire. I’d have to agree with him all the way. See what you think…

And, believe it or not, there’s a website dedicated to “clients from hell.” In the article here there’s mention of not burning the bridges while you fire a client. The main take away?  Don’t do anything rash, in the spur of the moment, or in the throes of disgust. Planning and delivery are everything. And you never know – you could break up to make up!

If you need one more little push to fire that client that keeps you up at night, you’ll love this. Someone actually wrote the script! Three scripts in fact – so pick the one you think fits best! In 3 Painless Scripts to Free Yourself of Problem Clients you get not one or two, but three scripts.  How much easier can it get?

There you have it!
No more excuses, no more anxiety or sleepless nights.
Just. Do. It.

Fire that client and make space for a better one to come along.
It’s Universal Law.  You know that, right?

RSI Crazy ClientsI wish I could tell you that business was always a breeze and a field of roses scented my office day after day.  Though I do love roses, and even more appreciate them as a gift (hint hint) the flourishing fields of commerce (and e-commerce) sometimes brings a client or two that don’t fit into even the most flexible of plans and makes you wonder why you agreed to work with them in the first place.

Here are 3 Important Lessons Crazy Clients Teach You

  1. Make sure you have a signed document which outlines your work. This could be a contract, agreement or Statement of Work which clearly identifies your role and responsibilities, deadlines and payment terms. In marketing and PR, best efforts should always be made and clearly stated, but there are of course no guarantees. Coaching typically involves participation from the other party, and if there’s no participation, it’s not your fault if the campaign or project goes bust.
  2. Establish Boundaries from the GetGo. In an effort to win clients, in the beginning especially, we may cross boundaries we shouldn’t. That may look like getting sucked into someone’s story, over-delivering, not valuing your own time or profit model, or accepting calls or demands at night, and service within 24 hours. Yes, we are available as PR and Marketing specialists, experts and communicators for the media – I like to say 23/7, but not for crazy clients who can easily leave a message and receive a call back at 8am the next day. Texting tyrants are annoying, as are repeated hang ups on your cell phone when you’re sleeping. We’re not in high school here.
  3. Learn How to Fire a Client. If we’re forecasting and expecting to meet certain revenue projections, we sometimes take clients that we know may be – a little off. I’ve witnessed some hairy scenes from out of balance/scary clients at events and a couple of my own – who not only shocked me (hard to do) but also took their aggression out on me, because a nerve was struck on an emotional wound. Remember to be your best, we sometimes look to the past to see why we’re not sharing our best. That said, I should have listened to my gut and ended the client/consultant/coach relationship. Big lesson learned there.

On a positive note, crazy clients also afford you the opportunity to see how to grow personally and professionally, to see what you missed and how to be a better communicator and implementer.

My clients are from all walks of life.  They each have gifts to share and interesting and varied backgrounds. The common denominator is that they want to be noticed and give back.

Truthfully, we found each other. My mission is to help them get to the next level, and they to mine.

 

RSI ElevatorI’ve been advising clients for years to write about what they know and then include that information – where appropriate and bit by bit – into articles and books. I’m in the process of writing my first book now and will be including content, like this article below, in some form. What I love about articles and writing, is that the material can be re-purposed in so many ways – for blog posts, press queries, white papers, social media content, quotes and the list goes on.

Take a sneak peek (from Peak’s Island) at a new article:

5 Tips to Keep Your Elevator Speech from Getting Stuck Between Floors

As a corporate professional, you’re often asked “What do you do?” by current and potential customers, clients, colleagues and partners. In fact, next to “How are you?” or “Has anyone seen my iPhone?”, it might be the most common question you hear!

However, despite how frequent this question is in the corporate world, I’m always surprised to discover that some professionals don’t have their personalized Elevator Speech down pat. That is, they don’t have a customized, clear, concise and compelling answer to what could be the most important question they’ll be asked all day, all month – or maybe, all year.

Fortunately, creating a winning elevator speech – one that ensures you don’t get “stuck between floors” — is easy, quick and extremely rewarding. Here are the 5 things to keep in mind:

1. Aim High

Trying to summarize “what you do” so that it can be conveyed in about 20-30 seconds is easier said than done. After all, there are many important aspects of your professional life. What do you hang onto, and what ends up on the proverbial cutting room floor? The key to answering this is to aim high. That is, focus on the principles and priorities of what you do instead of the specifics and details.

2. Be Different

While the corporate world can be a serious place, inject some fun and joy in your Elevator Speech (for example, sometimes I introduce myself as “Rockin Robin”!). The goal here is to help you stand out and be remembered. Plus, it helps you quickly demonstrate that while you take what you do seriously, you don’t take yourselftoo seriously. That’s an attractive trait that sets leaders apart, no matter the industry, field or sector.

3. Add Energy

Obviously, what you say in your Elevator Speech is vital, but so is how you say it. Use action words to make your message energized, upbeat and enthusiastic, and always smile – even when you’re writing your Elevator Speech in an email, or communicating it over the phone. Believe it or not, this will influence your attitude, which in turn will positively impact your delivery in ways that you can’t imagine!

4. Focus on Solutions

Yes, your Elevator Speech is in response to the question “What do you do?” (or some variation). Frankly, however, the real question being asked is: “What do you do, and why should I care?” As such, your answer should focus on solutions. How do you help people? What service do you provide? What problems do you solve? Wrap your answer around the person who is asking, and you’ll instantly make a connection that could prove valuable to you both.

5. Have a CTA

In my experience, the most common problem with Elevator Speeches is that they don’t have a CTA (“call to action”). Now, by this I don’t mean that you should try to sell something. I simply mean that you should invite whoever you’re speaking with to take the next logical step in the relationship. Perhaps you agree to connect on LinkedIn, or to set up a time to chat further, or grab a coffee — the specific CTA is up to you, and will change based on the context. Just make sure you have one. Awkward, confused post-Elevator Speech silences are the enemy!

The Bottom Line

Creating and consistently using your personalized Elevator Speech – in person, emails, social media, over the phone and everywhere else – can give you a distinct advantage, help you stand out from the crowd, and take your career to new heights. After all, you already know the meaningful and important work that you do. Isn’t it time you shared that information with allies and influencers who want to be a part of your story?

If you’re ever stuck, call me.

RSI PR CoachI’ve been coached by a few fabulous coaches in the past five years and individually they’ve made a tremendous difference in my life and business. And, collectively, they’ve blown me way with their wisdom, guidance, practical advice and vision – to not find myself, but create myself!

You see, I have a vision for who I want to be, but frankly, it’s a world apart from the greatness my COACH sees. The best of the best have laser focus and insight to see your potential, much more than you’ll ever see. They don’t carry all that ‘old stuff’ and resistance that you do. Stuff like, ‘I can’t do it’, I stink at that, I don’t know the right people, I don’t have enough time, I don’t know how to do it – and, shall I go on?

But it’s not just killing those demons and saying ‘Sayonara’, a great coach offers ideas, solutions and has the experience to help get you where you want to go, and how to get there. With PR, that could mean help with media exposure, press relations, speaking gigs, social media positioning, and more. And, all together that means elevating your brand, increasing your recognition and leadership status in the marketplace, and ultimately increasing SALE$ – given the odd chance you’d like to make some money.

A PR coach offers real life practical advice and positioning on what works and what doesn’t to get noticed, customized for your particular situation and your goals.

Here are 3 Reasons You Need a PR Coach in 2014:

1) You see others in your industry who are getting media attention and mention everywhere, and you are sick and tired of this not being you; Plus, you’re way better than they are;

2) You don’t have the time, know-how, promotional zing or savvy to create effective pitches, press releases, media kits or use social media to influence your target market, or influencers you want to influence. Plus, it would take forever for you to figure it out;

3) As much as you hate to admit it as a recovering perfectionist and control freak, you just can’t do it all and be good at everything. You know that PR is important, and if there’s something you can do to make 2014 the best year ever, you’re willing to give it a try.

Where do you need the most help with PR?

If you had to choose one, would you want a stronger media kit, editorial plan for press releases and target mention, or the chance to be pitch perfect?

Are you more the spot coach type (consulting for specific problems) or would you prefer a longer relationship for three to six months to co-create a plan on how PR can help you increase your image (and opportunities).

I’d love to know your thoughts!

PR expert Robin Samora’s new article introduces experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals to 8 powerful, proven, practical and cost-effective ways to promote an event in order to grow their business. The full article is available on the Robin Samora Inc. website at www.robinsamorainc.com.

In her latest feature article, PR expert Robin Samora has 8 powerful, proven, practical and cost-effective strategies for experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals who want to promote an event in order to grow their business.

“Events are memorable and fun ways to make a business stand out from the pack,” commented Samora, the principal and founder of Boston-based PR firm Robin Samora Inc. “However, many people aren’t sure how to promote their event in powerful and cost-effective way. My latest article helps unravel this mystery and puts readers on the path towards more bottom-line success and personal satisfaction.”

Samora’s 8 ways for experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals to promote an event and grow their business are:

  • Get Talking: Reach out via phone – not email – to friends, associates and other contacts who might be interested in attending the event. Even if the invitation is politely declined, use this opportunity to make a personal connection that could pay dividends down the road.
  • Get Visual: Create professional-quality marketing collateral (e.g. flyers) and mail them to targeted contacts, along with a personalized post-it note. As a bonus, the marketing collateral can be re-purposed for invitations, banner ads, social media and more.
  • Get Newsworthy: Submit professional news releases to local media, including TV stations, magazines, newspapers, and industry publications. Remember to reach out to the online community, including blogs and websites. Also be prepared with a media kit or other information when contacted.
  • Get Dialed-In: Connect with radio stations who may be interested in an interview. If invited to speak, ensure that the story is compelling, and that there’s an irresistible offer with a time-specific deadline.
  • Get Social: Leverage the power of social media to spread the word. Be sure to post targeted content on various platforms (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.). Also keep in mind that several impressions will likely be necessary before target audiences take notice and act.
  • Get Wordy: Blog about the event and request that others in the network do the same. This not only extends the life of the promotion, but it expands the reach beyond traditional target markets.
  • Get Hooked-Up: Ask colleagues in a (non-competing) business to publicize the event. Be sure to make the referral arrangement simple, easy and clear. It’s also wise to provide referral partners with collateral, such as emails and social media posts, which they can quickly send to their network.
  • Get Educational: Launch a pre-event teleclass to share information with both registered and prospective event attendees. As a bonus, this is also a great opportunity to generate feedback to make the upcoming event even more compelling, relevant and meaningful.

Added Samora: “Ultimately, those who apply these strategies will ensure that their event is well publicized, that they’ll have fun sharing their knowledge, and that they’ll go a long way towards filling the room with great new customers and clients.”

The complete version of Samora’s new article “8 Great Ways to Promote an Event and Grow Your Business,” which includes an expanded discussion of each of the above-noted tips, is available at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/2013/06/8-great-ways-to-promote-an-event-and-grow-your-business/

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Learn more at http://www.RobinSamoraInc.com.

 

Thanks largely to technology, in today’s marketplace it’s easier than ever for entrepreneurs, experts and authors to launch a business and profit from their passion. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that competition is flat-out ferocious, which means that marketing is essential. Without marketing, it’s simply too easy for a business to get lost in the crowd and fail to achieve its potential — or even survive.

However, just because marketing is essential, it doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 8 ways to achieve your marketing goals on a shoestring budget:

1.    Share your knowledge.

Offer an initial consultation where you provide some meaningful value, and explain what you do, who you do it for, and most importantly, how you help your clients solve problems and achieve goals. Your time investment can be as little as 15 minutes, and it can be done over the phone, via Skype (web cam), or in person if it’s practical to do so.

2.    Stay in touch with your clients and prospects — and often.

While this may strike you as one for the “hey, I knew that already!” file, I’m amazed at how often smart and successful people neglect to stay in touch with their clients and prospects on a regular basis. And really, “staying in touch” doesn’t mean a 2-hour lunch, a 4-hour round of golf, or anything else that may otherwise qualify as relationship-building. Simply sending out a quick email, mailing a hand-written birthday card, or even passing along a thoughtful gift are all excellent – and virtually cost-free – ways to stay on the radar screen.

3.    Create a targeted message in all of your communication.

A confused mind never buys. That’s why it’s important to target your message distribution and branding to customers and prospects via email, blogs, video, invoices, brochures, newsletters, premiums, signage — even your voice mail or call waiting message. Post on social media as frequently as possible and share information. Don’t self-promote more than 20% of the time; it’s not just boring, but it sends people in the other direction.

4.    Build a referral base.

While many successful people rely on referrals and “word of mouth” advertising, I’m continuously struck by how few of them actively build a strong referral base. There’s really nothing to it and, honestly, a little goes a long way. All it takes is a small thank you gesture (gift certificates work great) to those who have helped build your business. Also, don’t shy away from asking for referrals. Just be polite, clear and willing to return the gesture. If a client has enjoyed your product or service, they’re usually happy to recommend you.

5.    Send out a personal “State of the Union” address.

Twice a year, write a personalized letter to your clients and tell them what you’re doing with your work, what charities you may be involved with, and how you’re helping both your professional community, and personal community. Describe how you’ve supported important social events and everyday events — even if it’s for a brief time. Don’t boast about any of your efforts. Instead, thank everyone who has helped make your achievements possible, and single out some of your role models who have served as an inspiration (whether you personally know them or not).

6.    Invite your clients and prospects to hear you speak at an industry event.

Speaking at an industry event qualifies you as an expert. By inviting your clients, you’re letting them know you’re up to something big, and worthy of their business. If the RSVP’s come in as a ‘can’t make it’, send a video, press link or a follow-up article that summarizes your presentation. If you’ve written a book, send a signed copy. This kind of communication and connection strengthens the bond with the people in your network, which in turn strengthens your marketing efforts.

7.    Get your name out there.

If you don’t have a media department behind you, consider hiring a PR, social media assistant or office admin to respond to online media requests such as HARO (“Help a Reporter Out”) or Profnet. Responses to the media should be respectful, polite and on target. Want to know what’s being said about you? Set up a Google Alert. Trust me, you’ll grow to love watching your digital press clippings!

8.    Write an article or publish an infographic that will cite you as an expert.

Promote articles that you have written and post links on your website and social media. Include hard copies in your press kit (and a digital version) in your on line media room. Expand your reach and include articles in letters to clients, and be bold by paper-clipping them and your business card in places that might seem out of the ordinary (i.e. in the cover of airline magazines, in books or magazines that your target audience might buy, in newspapers in high traffic locations — even in waiting rooms or hotel lobbies). Think like your target market. Where would they go, and what would they read?

Don’t Forget to Get Out There

Implementing any, or, preferably, all of the above strategies are excellent ways to boost your marketing power — while spending much less than you imagine. However, no matter how you move forward, there’s one thing to always remember: you’re the spokesperson for your brand.

And that means your #1 marketing job is to get “out there.” Whether that means you support an important cause, make a keynote speech, or are quoted on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, you want to make an impression every chance you get. You never know what relationship will blossom and turn into your next – and possibly greatest – business success story.

As an entrepreneur, expert, author or other business professional, you have a great “story to tell.” That is, you offer something special – whether it’s advice, a service, a product or perhaps all of these – that helps people solve a problem and achieve a goal.

However, unless you can stand out and get noticed for all of the right reasons, you’ll wind up being “the best kept secret in your marketplace.” And even worse, that’s a designation with a short shelf life, since it’s only a matter of time before it’s replaced by an even more dreaded label: “out of business.”

Fortunately, standing out in your marketplace is not costly or confusing — provided that your efforts align with these 7 key principles:

1.    Be True to Yourself  

Clients and prospects recognize when someone is putting on an act – it makes them feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Ultimately, that undermines likeability and trust, and it’s an axiom of any business relationship that people only buy from those that they like and trust. By staying true to yourself, you attract the right people – and avoid the wrong ones.

2.    Stop the Negative Thinking. 

Forget multitasking: It’s impossible to do two things at once, much less do them well.  And that means you can’t focus on doing what you do well, if you’re constantly being “cut off at the knees” by obsessive, repetitive negative thinking. Choose to focus on the positive and make optimism a habit.

3.    Be Your Brand…ALWAYS! 

Every step you take in public is another chance to market yourself and your company.  “Invest in your dress” so you are always ready to initiate conversations that might lead to new business.

4.    Bring Joy Into the Room.

Your attention and positive attitude will make people feel good – and, in turn, they’ll associate that good feeling with you. And while that will lead to more business from better clients, there’s an even greater achievement in store: you’ll bring joy into every room you enter.

5.    Project the Right Image. 

Use a professional photo across all of your marketing materials and in all of your social media profiles. This inspires a personal connection and trustworthiness – even before you meet and talk.

6.    Be Your Own Best Advocate. 

Know what you do inside and out, especially as it relates to adding value to people’s lives and helping them achieve a goal. Remember: people don’t buy advice, products or services. They buy solutions to their problems. Be aware of what problem(s) you solve, and then promote this in the context of helping people.

7.    Be the Center of Influence.

Obtain and keep the coveted “Center of Influence” status by staying up-to-date on industry trends, and surround yourself with people you admire, who are experts in their fields, and who know other people of equal caliber.

It’s All About Love

Ultimately, the thread that connects all of these strategies is one thing: passion. Love for what you do – and delegate the rest. When you do this, your creative force will empower you to work wonders, and you’ll take your career to a whole new level…and your bank account will soon follow.

PR expert Robin Samora’s new article highlights 8 little-known ways that experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals can “market like the big boys” – but on a shoestring budget. The full article is available on the Robin Samora Inc. website at www.robinsamorainc.com.

Experts, entrepreneurs, authors and other business professionals who want to “market like the big boys” and yet need to make their limited funds go as far as possible, can now get the practical, proven and little-known tips they need in PR expert Robin Samora’s latest article “8 Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.”

“With so much competition today, effective marketing is more important than ever before,” commented Robin Samora, the principal and founder of Boston-based PR firm Robin Samora Inc. “And yet without big budgets, how can small and mid-sized businesses compete? My latest article answers this in a quick, clear and easy-to-read way.”

Samora’s 8 little-known tips for marketing on a shoestring budget are:

  • Share Knowledge: Offer an initial consultation that provides meaningful value, and explains how clients will solve their problems and achieve their goals. The time investment can be as minimal as 15 minutes, and this can be done over the phone, via Skype (web cam), or in person if it’s practical to do so.
  • Stay in Touch: Quick emails, hand-written birthday cards, or low-key yet thoughtful gifts are all excellent – and virtually cost-free – ways to stay on the radar screen.
  • Target Messages: Aim all messages to customers and prospects via email, blogs, video, invoices, brochures, newsletters, premiums, signage, etc. Post on social media as frequently as possible and share information.
  • Build a Referral Base: Always send a small thank you gesture (e.g. a gift certificate) to referral partners. Also, never shy away from asking for referrals – just ensure that it’s done in a polite and clear way, and reciprocate the gesture.
  • Send Updates: Twice a year, write a personalized letter to clients and share a “State of the Union” that includes what projects and community initiatives you’re involved in. Also remember to thank everyone who has helped make the achievements possible, and single out inspirational role models.
  • Invite Clients to Speaking Events:  This is a great way to impress clients with your expertise. If invitees can’t make it, send a video, press link or a follow-up article that summarizes the presentation.
  • Get Mentioned: Hire a PR, social media assistant or office admin to respond to online media requests such as HARO (“Help a Reporter Out”) or Profnet. Also set up a Google Alert to track mentions and publicity.
  • Get Published: Promote articles and post links on the web and social media. Include hard copies in a press kit (and a digital version) in an online media room. Also consider paper-clipping a business card in places that might seem out of the ordinary, but that are frequented by target audiences.

Added Samora: “Above all else, there’s one thing to always remember: you’re the spokesperson for your brand. And that means your priority is to get `out there’ and make an impression. You never know what relationship will blossom and turn into your next – and possibly greatest – business success story.”

The complete version of Samora’s new article “8 Tips for Marketing on a Shoestring Budget,” which includes an expanded discussion of each of the above-noted tips, is available at: http://www.robinsamorainc.com/2013/06/8-tips-for-marketing-on-a-shoestring/ 

For more information or media inquiries, contact Robin Samora at (617) 921-3448 or Robin(at)RobinSamoraInc(dot)com.

About Robin Samora Inc.

Telling a story is personal. Sharing it is an art. Technology makes it global. Robin Samora Inc., a Boston based PR, branding and promotions firm blends all three to take its clients’ businesses and brands to the next level. With clients like Comcast, WBZ-TV and Blue Man Group, and a roster of authors, entrepreneurs and experts nationwide, the firm prides itself on being a “Promotional GPS” that takes its clients’ brands where they want to go to be seen, heard, engaged and remembered. With over two decades of experience, the firm is as comfortable on major media highways as it is on out-of-the-way niche back roads.

Learn more at http://www.RobinSamoraInc.com.

 

As a veteran marketer and PR consultant, I’m always looking for fun ways to help my clients grasp the essence of marketing, and how it “fits” into their business. And this latest example comes courtesy of my single friends who are out there on the dating scene.

Indeed, have you ever noticed how much marketing is like dating? From creating a “wish list” for Mr. or Miss Right, to practicing the essential (and increasingly rare) art of active listening, marketing and dating are two time-honored activities that share some uncanny similarities. Here are 5 that make the case:

Similarity #1: They Both Aim for Ideals

Daters play a risky (and sometimes scary) guessing game if they head out the door without a solid of idea of the type of person they’re hoping to find. That’s not to say they shouldn’t be open minded and open to “luck lending a hand.” But without an ideal in mind, who knows where they’ll end up – or with whom?

As a business leader, you need to define your ideal client, too. Are they a solo practitioner, or a Fortune 500 brand? What’s their specialty or niche market? If you weren’t getting paid, who would you want to help and how could you best serve them? Often, your ideal target market is “hidden right in front of you.”

I’m a believer that we have the power to manifest things in our lives if we’re clear about what we want. Take a pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write out the qualities you want in your ideal client. This is a discovery process, and the more time you spend identifying your ideal client, the clearer you will be. And remember: you also may find it necessary to tweak your ideal client profile – and your own beliefs — so that you get paid what you’re worth. Start small, expand your influence and work your crowd.

Similarity #2: They Both Fish Where the Fish Are

Wise daters know that they have a better chance of finding their soul mate if they sign-up for classes or attend events. They’re simply more likely to find like-minded people who share a common interest. Essentially, they fish where the fish are – and not near the lily pads.

As a business leader, attending industry meetings or networking sessions is an easy way to mingle and connect with your niche market. Aim for conferences where you’ll find your ideal client. Make it a point to share your opinions at workshops and breakout sessions. Introduce yourself to key players and ask thoughtful questions at Q + A sessions. Work the room, and by all means, stand out in the crowd as a person of confidence and charisma. And while it’s great to make a big splash, don’t be disheartened if you need to start small. Big wigs weren’t born that way. They worked their way up, and the same will be true for you.

Similarity #3: They Both Plant Seeds

Daters let family, friends, co-workers and colleagues know that they’re interested in meeting someone. After all, everyone knows someone who would like to be in a committed and loving relationship.

As a business leader, you also want to leverage your network so that you can connect with your ideal clients. Now, keep in mind: there’s a right way to ask for an introduction (in person or virtually), and a wrong way. The right way is to be respectful of the fact that most business contacts are protective of their network, which is a valuable asset that they’ve developed and cultivated for years. So don’t be pushy or aggressive. Instead, work on building trust and identifying common ground. Building relationships is the key to growing a business. Start by knowing how to plant seeds in places where they’ll grow and flourish.

Similarity #4: They Both Depend on Attitude

Folks on the dating scene realize that they need to have the right attitude, which is one that’s positive, uplifting and energizing – and, of course, realistic. People can spot a happy person OR an angry person a mile away.

As a business leader, you need to have the same mindset. Even when the chips are down, and you’re feeling at the bottom of the barrel, you’ve got to let the world know that you have it together. Since you are your brand, in both your personal and business worlds, it’s important to look and act successful so you’ll inspire success in others. Truly believe in your greatness, and others will believe it too. There’s an energetic aura around you, so use that to let the world know who you are in a very big way, and how you’ll help solve their problems.

Similarity #5: They Both Need to Ask Questions and Listen

Dating superstars understand that people love talking about themselves, and so they ask questions about interests, work, family background, and so on. This not only sparks meaningful conversation, but it’s a great way to gauge interest and compatibility early on.

As a business leader, you need to think about what’s “in it” for your client – not you. If your clients are happy and you solve their problems, they’ll continue to be your clients. And the only way you can position yourself as a trusted partner is to ask meaningful questions, and actively listen to what’s being said – and what isn’t being said. Keep digging until you find your client’s true needs and wants. You’ll not only glean invaluable data, but you’ll impress your clients since, well, who doesn’t love talking about themselves to an attentive, thoughtful listener?

A Final Piece of Advice

We all know that love takes time. That’s not to say that an instant connection isn’t possible — it is. But usually, it’s more of a marathon than a sprint to really get to know someone and ensure that the attraction is more than superficial or “skin deep.”

As a business leader, keeping this timeframe in mind will serve you well. Is it possible to land a six figure account with one email or phone call? Since I’m an eternal optimist, I’d say yes – just don’t bet on it. Instead, lay the foundation to a solid business relationship as you would a friendship. Be there for your clients through the good times, as well as the bad times.

By doing that, your rewards won’t just be measured in sales and profits. You’ll also evolve and develop as more helpful and – believe it or not – loving and loveable person.