Talking with small business owners and entrepreneurs as often as I do, I’m interested in their plans to promote and market themselves.

There may be a vision for a year at a time – or what they’d like to accomplish in 2016, but it often grows to a stage of overwhelm. It’s easy to do – especially when you are in charge and want to “do it all.”

News flash. You can’t do it all and certainly not all at once.

My recommendation is that you map out a general strategy for 2016, where you want to go, where you want to be seen, heard and noticed, and where you see your business coming from. Then in 90 day increments, plan it out.

Sure, highlight important conferences, meetings, deadlines, speaking engagements on an annual calendar – but work on chunks at a time. Even if that means focusing on 10 items a day to get your work done to meet your short term goals. Short term goals don’t create as much overwhelm as long term goals and worrying how you’ll get there.

We choose to worry. We choose to dream. We choose to focus on the next step.

Your next step is Firing Up your 90 Day Marketing and PR Plan. I can help with that.

It’s the beginning of December. Where will you be on March 1? I’ll be speaking at Constant Contact headquarters with Jeannine O’Neil and Christina Inge.

Let’s face it. We all want attention. Some more than others.

But, if you’re a small business owner or executive on the rise, you want to be sure to get attention — to boost your image, gain credibility and be noticed for the expert you really are.  Here’s how:

7 Easy Ways to Get Attention without Selling Your Soul

  1. Make your email signature count. Whether you send 10 or 200 emails a day, your email signature tells a story – of who you are and how you think of yourself. Do you include multiple forms of contact, Skype information and time zone?  Are you offering your latest free report or a chapter in your newest book? How about logos of top associations you’re affiliated with? Put together your signature and personalize it to your brand and story. Stand out!
  2. Have a favorite reporter or editor in your industry? Why not set up a Google Alert to see what top reporters are up to? Once you get the ‘heads up’, you can decide the next course of action. Send a personal note? Small gift? Or, a Congratulations email?  Better yet – “I just saw this article (add link) and wanted to let you know I think it’s so on point“ (or however you feel). You’ll make an impression!
  3. One size doesn’t fit all. When writing to reporters, make sure your pitch is unique – at least the first paragraph. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, but take time to research who you’re pitching and the types of stories they write. Customize each email as best as possible so they don’t look like they’re canned. Even if reporters don’t use your story, a well thought out and targeted pitch often goes in a file to be saved, not the trash.
  4. Spread good news. Been featured in the media? Awesome! Now share the love and use your own social media platforms to tell your audience. Use the same articles or excerpts in newsletters, presentations, notes to prospects, online media kits …and the list goes on. Market yourself as an expert and be a good promoter too!
  5. Be a Guest Blogger. If you like to write, consider being a Guest Blogger for other websites where your opinion counts. Say you’re an image consultant. Your expertise can be valued on a banking or real estate website as well as your own.  And, once is contact is made there are opportunities to connect even deeper. Don’t forget as an author that you’ll need a 50 word byline and bio – and hey, what about adding a link to your free report?
  6. Keep your website up to date. It’s been said we’re 9 months ahead of our website, and some of us lightyears! If you have a word press site, it’s easier to update more often – and by ourselves – with recent awards, testimonials and photos. Make sure your ABOUT page sings your praises. Note to self, include a monthly maintenance check too for those annoying broken links.
  7. Give attention without expecting it in return. I’m amazed at my community of giving professionals, small business owners and entrepreneurs and all their friendship. Giving comes in kind words, referrals, opportunities and forwarded emails, and everything in between. Givers get noticed, and chances are – that one time gift isn’t a random act.

I hope these tips help you as you build your business and get recognized for who you are.

There are hundreds more I talk about and teach to small business owners just like you!

Life has its unexpected ways, and when you put yourself out there – to promote a brand or yourself, 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 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 promote yourself and your business in the same old way, but, you’ll never get different results. So, shake it up!

This billboard promotion for my brand is fun! It’s unexpected, visual and shareable.

When you take advantage of opportunities, 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   if you want to create a PR Roadmap that will take you from where you are now, to where you want to go!

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.

I always like to see what small business owners are doing to create a buzz and promote their services. The more unique, the more I remember – and hopefully that’s the case with attracting your target audience. The #1 objective is to stand out and get noticed. If you get a buying reaction that sticks, you’ve hit a home run!

Taglines aren’t a necessity for every business, but they can help to explain your product or service, or give a valuable reminder of why your prospects should pick YOU!

Here are 5 tips for creating memorable taglines:

  1. Make your tagline clear. Don’t confuse your customers with off-subject phrases which aren’t in sync with your product or brand. Complement your company name, url and what you’re selling.
  2. Describe who you are or what you do. Words are a tool to use to communicate, but you’ve only got a few seconds here. Make your tagline simple so everyone can understand. You’ve got some freedom if you want to describe a feature, benefit or make a strong claim.
  3. Paint a picture of your services. Your tagline can create a vision in your customer’s eye. What is it that you’d like them to know about buying your products and services? You don’t have to be literal in creating a vision. And, you don’t have to be bland!
  4. Create a feeling or hit one of the five senses. Is there a certain button you can push to create a sense of urgency or make you the ‘go to’ provider? You don’t always have to be serious, fun is allowed.  Test your tagline on your circle of influence, even if it’s at your kitchen table!
  5. Write copy that resonates with your customers and your brand. You don’t have to imitate anyone. Just be you. Does your tagline tell your story?  Does it say who you are? How does it make you feel?

Here’s an example of a tagline and mobile ad I saw in South Carolina. I liked it for a few reasons. The graphic was very clear and the tagline clever.

Tagline photo

 

If I lived in the area and saw this van on the road, I would definitely want to go to this restaurant for a BBQ!

Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees. We overlook the obvious and make things hard on ourselves. We reinvent the wheel. Fly across the country to make new business contacts. Why don’t we harvest the fruit in our own backyard?

This week’s Rainmaker is about making local connections.

Even if your business isn’t tied to your current location – which is awesome in its own right – there may be uncovered treasure in your local market to tap into. I’m referring to local scholars and professors, consultants, executives and business owners within an hour from where you live.

Connecting with these professionals may gain you access to an entirely new level of connections. So, how do you go about meeting these local treasures?

First, I recommend you join Meetup.com and find local networking groups and events. By using the search function, you can look up professional events and groups in your geographical area. By joining a specific group, you can also check out the online profiles of current members and even connect with them online before attending a live event. That way, you have a friend in waiting when you’re ready to explore!

Next, check out EventBrite.com and search for your location. You’ll find business events, workshops, large conferences as well as fun activities like local 5K running events. It’s a great tool to keep tabs on what’s going on in your neighborhood or other areas or communities that you’re interested in. Unlike Meetup, EventBrite lets you connect with event coordinators only, not other participants.

Two other great sources for local networking events and opportunities are local colleges and universities.  You can extend that as well to include your local Chamber of Commerce, professional organizations with business workshops and one of my favorites, listings in your city’s Business Journal – a goldmine of information, leads and opportunities.

Lastly, networking at Costco is a ‘secret weapon’ for those of us in-the-know. Many local Costcos offer a free, monthly networking opportunity in their warehouse with breakfast included. It’s a great place to meet other likeminded local small business owners – even if it’s just for a coffee.

What do you do with these connections? My #1 recommendation is to follow up on LinkedIn once you’ve met in person to continue the conversations online, or make a date for coffee.

A small coffee shop works best for me, with a choice of bold brew. You?

It was an exciting week presenting my new workshop, 5 Ways Social Media Can Get You More Sales, Customers and Profits, at the Small Business Expo in Boston. Thank you to all who attended and followed up personally. It’s an exciting time for Social PR and it’s critical to a company’s branding and success – whether you’re a solo business owner, or the biggest fish in any pond!

I love sharing great articles by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs and giving credit where credit is due. The article How to Create an Elevator Pitch That Will Get You Funded by Steve Blank gives detailed information and some great tips on how to perfect your elevator pitch (or speech). Whether you’re looking to get funding or need to promote your consulting services, perfecting your elevator pitch is one of the most important things you’ll want to accomplish this week. Get a few great ‘how to’ tips here from Entrepreneur.com.

You may be familiar with HARO, but do you know about their parent company, Vocus? They’ve got an active and well-read blog that hits the in boxes of industry insiders, experts and small business owners around the globe. I liked this article 9 Things You Should Consider in Your PR Plan by Jim Dougherty because it lays out a PR Plan, clearly step by step. Work on one, three or all nine to improve your current PR plan. (And, if you don’t have a plan, we have to talk!)

Lastly, we’re featuring The Power of Testimonials (and How We Get Great Ones) written by Alex Turnbull.  This is a MUST read for anyone in business. Here’s one little snippet we’ve highlighted, but take a minute to click on the link to learn more.

“Good testimonials aren’t fluffy; they communicate very specifically the type of person the testimonial writer is and the type of problem they’ve been able to overcome. This helps readers put themselves in the storyteller’s shoes.”

And that’s a wrap for this week’s edition of Robin’s Rainmakers! If you ever have a suggestion for a great article to feature, please send me an email. I’d love to include it here.

RSI ComplainI’m constantly amazed at how much people complain. Not just small business owners and entrepreneurs telling their woes of not enough business, working too hard, or having enough time. Everyone is complaining and it’s almost an epidemic!

It’s not that I don’t sympathize. I do, to a certain degree. But when people are in a whining state, they’re not in the state they should be – the present, thinking about what their campaign of action is going to be.

Collectively, I’ve listened to problems in every phase of a company’s growth or demise. Heartfelt and game changing discussions have been over coffee, tequila, candle light celebrations, and more than a campfire or two.

Ultimately, successful people are accountable to themselves. They don’t have to be in PR, marketing, or branding. They decide when enough is enough. Complaining offers an easy way to avoid that. Campaigning is about putting action steps into place. I believe it’s always better to campaign than complain. And, here’s why:

3 Reasons Why it’s Better to Campaign than Complain

  1. It’s boring to hear the same complaints day after day. If you want to be engaging, you need to switch up the story and come from a higher place. No woo woo here. Just the facts. Change the vibration, and the attitude. You’ll see amazing results and not be stuck in the past. Think boo hoo, get boo hoo.
  2. Everyone wants to work with a winner. Seriously, do you want to work with a loser? If so, please unsubscribe me from your list and life. I want to associate with the best of the best to learn and grow. Sad sacks aren’t on my prospect list. Show your best stuff and then give it. It always works out.
  3. Winning is contagious. Winning not only builds self-confidence, but a portfolio of success stories. Stories and testimonials which build credibility and trust – which in turn increases recognition, expert status, leadership position, revenue opportunities. Call me if you want to talk about how winning helps grow a business. I’d like to connect a voice with a name.

A campaign has intention, a goal and spirit. A campaign is a string of action items to help you realize your dreams. Create a campaign and you won’t feel-the-pain.

YOUR TURN

What has to happen to take you from being a complainer to a campaigner?

How do you keep winning contagious? Do you have secrets you’d like to share?

If you had 3 best practices for letting clients know you were a winner, what would they be?

Right now, I’m campaigning for my new client who’s hopeful of a Grammy® nomination this year – and who believes in world peace, Divine Love, and humanity.

What are you campaigning for? Share your answers below…

 

WWW Surprises

We never know where the day will lead us, or the leads that will take us down the path of meeting new people and creating opportunities that may impact our lives, and our business.

As a member of ProfNet, a PR Newswire service, I get press leads that I respond to by reporters nationwide.  I respond to these leads for my two businesses, www.PartnerPromotionsInc.com and www.LetsMakeYouShine.com.  Both promote visibility in the marketplace; the first for Fortune 500 companies that want a big bold presence with Brand Ambassadors and Brand Educators, and the latter for entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to get noticed, with traditional and non-traditional PR and promotions strategies.

One (of many) WWW Surprise(s) came when I found a hot lead for an Etiquette Expert and was unable to retrieve my database. I asked my best business buddy, Google for some help, and reached out on the great WWW to share an opportunity.  What would Google show me?

The answer was clear. Jodi Smith, from www.Mannersmith.com showed up with high rankings, and we corresponded by email over the course of a few months. As life would have it, she also lived in the same seaside town I would eventually move to.  When we met for coffee, I was not only blown away by her accomplishments and expert status, but we also shared a sense of entrepreneurial comradery.

As a fellowpreneur and great marketer, Jodi gave me a list of people who I should meet. She made a virtual introduction to the Director of PR and Communications at Salem State University, and shortly thereafter we met for breakfast.   That in turn lead me to new connections of interns and social media assistants, as well as an upcoming visit to the Enterprise Center, an incubator for new businesses that are growing stronger every day.

Taking a risk, making a phone call, breaking patterns, and just having conversations – it’s all about connections that may lead to surprises – in person, on the web, at networking events, on the street, or at an upcoming holiday party you may be attending.

Oh, there are great surprises out there. I’ve always loved the power of possibility.

How ‘bout you?

The night before my MMM Tour, I came down with a vicious stomach flu. Feeling better in the morning, I ventured out, not wanting to cancel my Back Bay coffee stop, and eager to talk with entrepreneurs who might want to toss around a few business ideas.

What I didn’t realize was that it was my stomach that was tossing around.  So, I made an executive decision to call it quits – moments after I found a parking spot on Newbury Street, which is no easy feat!

Needless to say, I couldn’t get home quickly enough, and took it easy for the rest of the day.  Several hours, several naps, and several cups of green tea later, I was feeling better. But, I was home, not at my Make Money Monday Tour, helping small business owners.

So I’m writing with the hopes that anyone who may be tossing and turning with a great idea, and who missed me at my MMM stop in Back Bay,  give me a call for some one-on-one time.

Life happens and we make good.

I’d like to take it one step further.

I’d like to make great — wherever I go, and whatever I do.

You?