There’s often a misconception that public relations activities are only appropriate for large firms. We’ve had many conversations with small businesses in Suffolk about the importance of PR. People often tell us that they don’t think PR is a good fit for their marketing plans. This is generally because PR is often seen to take time and money.
It’s true that big companies often have bigger PR budgets. They may have far more resources to work with. However, we want to raise awareness of how accessible and affordable PR tactics can be for small businesses.
We don’t think that good PR and marketing should only work for bigger companies. In fact, many of the best PR campaigns are delivered on shoestring budgets. That’s because campaigns and strategies should be delivered directly to your core audience. It should be aimed at those who are most likely to take action and buy your products or services.
As a PR agency in Suffolk, we want to raise awareness about how we can help small businesses benefit from PR support. We understand that thriving businesses create jobs. They stimulate our local economies, and successful businesses are essential to creating that ‘feel good’ factor in our local towns and city centres.
Five affordable PR tactics for small businesses.
Here are five affordable PR tactics for small businesses. When used correctly, they should help you raise awareness of your brand and improve your reputation in the marketplace.
These affordable PR tactics will give you a good foundation to build on. They should also give you the chance to grow your business and improve your bottom line.
Define your target audience.
The first step in making a good PR plan is to be clear about who you want to reach. By figuring out what your audience wants and what they are interested in, you can create messages that will reach them. This will increase the likelihood that they will engage with your brand.
Take the time to really think about who your target customer is. The more specific you can be, the more effective your PR campaigns and tactics will be. It’s important that within your research, you really clarify your thoughts—don’t assume you know things about your target customers. You may be surprised to learn how different demographics behave or how different customer intentions respond to various aspects of your overall marketing strategy.
Expand on this with an external PR agency! Working with an Ipswich PR expert can be an effective way of identifying who your audience is. We can use a suite of analytical tools and practical exercises to get detailed insights into who your audience is. From here, we can create ways for you to effectively communicate with and engage with them.
Develop a strong brand story.
What makes you unique? How would you describe your brand in a way that makes a customer sit up and take notice?
A compelling brand story can help set your business apart from competitors and connect with your target audience on an emotional level. The difference between a successful business and a thriving business is that thriving firms know how to engage with their audiences. You want to be able to facilitate strong engagement. With a strong brand story, you should be able to use your reputation to build a community of brand advocates who will proactively shout about the positive work that you do.
Expand on this with external PR support! This may sound complex, and you may be unsure where to start. This is where you can bounce ideas from your PR agency. Through a detailed strategy session, we can identify what makes you unique. We can tell your stories in a way that shows not only what makes you unique but also how knowledgeable you are in your field.
Make the most of social media engagement.
Small businesses can reach and interact with their target audience through social media. But too many businesses fail to make the most of their social media. Are you put off by different platform algorithms? Do you struggle to keep up with the continuous posting that is needed to make your voice stand out from the crowd?
Social media success isn’t just about posting a status update or a photo every few days. You should consider your social media output to be a strategy in and of itself. It needs to be consistent and work in harmony with your wider PR and marketing plans.
Improve your social media presence! If you don’t know where to start, why not ask an external PR agency to develop a social media strategy? You should expect a strategy that includes regular content creation, interacting with the community, and reaching out to influential people. You should also be provided with metrics to identify how well your social media campaigns are working.
Build relationships with journalists.
Media relations still have a hugely important role to play in any PR strategy. You want to be able to build your reputation through newspapers and magazines, whether it’s through in-depth interviews, thought-leadership articles, or general commentary on industry trends. Can you make the most of case studies or use press releases to tell people about your latest news and successes? You could even find ways to start new conversations about existing topics.
Top tip! Your PR agency will know which journalists to approach on your behalf. This will not only save you time, but you can also be sure that an ongoing media relations campaign will keep your business communications going in a steady stream.
Monitor your reputation.
PR is about managing your reputation, good and bad. We all want to think that our customers think favourably of us. But the truth is sometimes a customer may not receive the perfect experience. These days, customers have more opportunities than ever to talk about their experiences – good and bad. How often have you seen stories of restaurants receiving a bad review on TripAdvisor, or a retail outlet picking up negative comments on Trustpilot or on social media? In these scenarios, how you react to any neutral or negative feedback is just as important as the first instance itself.
PR agencies can build your reputation from scratch! Your PR strategy is about creating ways to monitor and manage your reputation. Your strategy should showcase who you are and what you do well. From here, you can start to help potential customers form a positive impression of your business before they’ve even used your services.
As Suffolk PR experts, we know how to make the most of affordable PR tactics for small businesses
At Gatekeeper Communications, we work with small businesses across the UK. Our Ipswich headquarters means that we can work with small businesses in Suffolk. We also work heavily with businesses across the country to help them make the most of their PR plans.
As a small business ourselves, we know that budgets are often tight. But we also believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy. There are some incredible businesses out there that offer exceptional services and products to their customers. With the right PR support, you can make a big difference to your business, whether it’s through building your profile, enhancing your reputation or simply having your voice heard through the crowd.
There are so many benefits and opportunities for small business PR support. The real question is, can you afford not to invest in yourself?