Every internet marketer I’ve ever met is staunchly defensive of direct result marketing methodologies as the only way to sell an information product. Since the internet has been around and now people are making kazillions of bucks in minutes at a time, it’s hard to blame them.
Ten years ago when the first internet bubble was growing, I remember networking in Los Angeles at the big online social organizations. Aside from the money being thrown at non-revenue generating business models, I noticed one really strange thing about it: everyone was insisting that all marketing had to be online. In response, I started my own “technology,” calling it MarketingBridge and it was meant to teach online businesses how to integrate traditional methods into their marketing mix and vice-versa. My pitch about the value of MarketingBridge was this: “If you are selling a product that is bought by a large number of bus riders, you might think about buying ads on bus benches (instead of just online).”
Fast forward to our new internet world.
As a publicist who has recently started hanging around the internet marketing arena in our brave new online world, I was not sure at first that PR would be well received by this group.
After accepting a gracious invitation from e-marketing guru, Eben Pagan, to talk about PR to his GuruMastermind group of 500 who had flown to LA from all over the world, I pulled my hair out wondering how I can connect the non-measurable, “awareness-centric” value of PR to these folks. During the 3 day workshop, I texted my information product mentor, Chance Barnett, incessantly with requests for encouragement; I needed ideas on how to make this direct marketing/PR connection for my talk on the last evening of the event. Finally, he said, “Listen, what you do is the only way I know that you can get third-party endorsement to millions of people in just one magazine, newspaper article, or TV/radio show. No affiliate marketing program or pay-per-click program does that; so go get ‘em!”
I exhaled, sat back, and thought: “He’s right.”
So, after all that hair-pulling, I decided I’d just talk about what I know and here it is: PR is hands-down, the most cost- effective traffic generation tool that currently exists. In my 20 years in this business, the press clips we have generated garnered a minimum of 350% – 156,000% return on investment and reached multi-millions of eyeballs. Yeah, true.
Did you know that the Los Angeles Times is read by over 1.5 million people daily? How many see TIME magazine? National Enquirer? Oprah?? The Tom Leykis Show??
The beauty of PR is that when a reporter writes an article or reports a story on air, your product is getting the #2 most effective marketing method on earth: “3rd party endorsement.” Ostensibly, they are giving their opinion, which next to a “word-of-mouth” recommendation is the most influential marketing one could hope for. Just think of all the products that Oprah has deemed her “favorite” and tell me what happened to their traffic?
Customers today, whether they are online or in a mall, are savvy. They know the difference between an ad and editorial. They know that an advertiser buys space and has the freedom to say whatever they want. The trust factor that once existed in the advertising world is no longer. PR is objective. Laura and Al Ries, authors of The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR, say, “PR is an island of objectivity in a sea of advertising prejudice.”
And if there’s one thing that Eben Pagan taught me, it’s this: internet marketing is all about building trust between a seller and a customer. It’s about getting into a customer’s head and finding a way to solve their problem. This makes the value of PR even more stellar an approach.
I’m not suggesting, by the way, that you ignore the e-marketing basics of looking for rankings, obtaining affiliate relationships, or pay-per-click advertising. You have to do that, otherwise, your website is like a party that was thrown without invitations sent. What I am suggesting, however, is that you find something newsworthy about your product and get it reported about in magazines, newspapers, radio, and TV that is read/seen/heard by your target customer.
To start, you can find free customized press lists here, along with step by step instructions on how to write press releases, how to pitch the press, how to contact reporters and when, and even how to produce a special event.
Do it now. You need this.