Let’s spend a minute in imagination land for a moment shall we? You started a personal blog or website for your small business 6 months ago today. Bust out the cake and champagne!
But first the moment of truth…
You take a quick peek in Google Analytics, and you’re STILL only holding strong at 25 visits per month. What’s the problem? Why aren’t more people visiting your site? You’ve been publishing great content and even interacting on social media from time to time, but nothings happening…
Digital show of hands who’s been there before? We all have (myself included), but it doesn’t have to be this way.
If You Build It, Will They Come?
“If you build it they will come” just doesn’t make sense online. Sorry Field of Dreams. There are plenty of incredible articles/videos/ideas that never see the light of day.
Any way you slice it, whether it be by topic/platform/both, the web is a competitive space. And while people spend on average three hours and seven minutes per day online, according to a recent report from eMarketer (up from last year), the fact still remains that the amount of content online accumulates at an exponential rate. Last month alone:
- WordPress powered blogs alone averaged 1.2 millions new posts each today.(source)
- YouTube continued going strong at roughly 100 hours of video being uploaded each minute. (source)
Simply creating content isn’t the solution.
Creating something awesome is only part of the battle. The other part is amplifying it’s reach. This isn’t the part where I say, “Use social media everyone, and I’m done!” No. If you’re reading this, I know you’ve learned about social media already.
What I’m saying is:
That is the foundation of solid marketing outreach, PR, internet marketing, or whatever you refer to it as.
What I described above isn’t just reserved for monster-budget-having-mega-blogs or large businesses with global reach either. From bloggers with a tight niche to local businesses, anyone can do this. Let’s look at a NEPA example.
NEPA Marketing Outreach Case Study + Results
I’m a marketing/community development/Internet business consultant. During the month of August, I spent some time doing outreach strategy and research to help an awesome Wilkes-Barre based client prepare for their September 1st event. I want to thank them up front for giving me the OK to bring all of you behind the scenes with this post. I also want to thank them for having great eats, as I’m a serious fan of awesome food 🙂
The client you ask? King of Kings Gyros
The event you ask? National Gyro Day
A killer outreach campaign has 4 equally important parts.
If you want to see the results, keep scrolling just a bit more because you’re almost there. I wanted to spend a second outlining what goes into a marketing outreach campaign, and more specifically what went into ours.
1. Research: Knowing about your target audience, influencers/media outlets, and their needs.
I was fortunate to already be a fan of their food, but I for sure researched their existing audience as well as the local NEPA landscape for what was being covered and “by who for who”.
2. The “Thing”: This is the actual thing you are going to reach out about- The contest, live event, ebook, crowdfunding campaign,etc.
For us, our “thing” was a week long web giveaway via their blog and live music on National Gyro Day.
3. Relevancy Factors: Identifying (and taking notes) about why/what you’re doing would be relevant/interesting/helpful for both the content provider AND their audience
Since King of Kings is a Wilkes-Barre based business, location was important here. From there, we also looked for additional relevancy factors like interest/coverage related to food, giveaways, timeliness, and live events.
4. The “Ask”: After you’ve figured out the what and the who, you need to spend some time working on how/why/where you are going to ask them. It’s important here to genuinely have their and their audiences best interest in mind because it will shine right through.
By this point we had a great bit of knowledge about both the people we wanted to reach out to and their audience. This allowed us to make the right “pitch” and tell each person explicitly why we reached out to them, versus sending the same thin, lifeless template email to everyone. Not cool.
Drum-roll please for the results…
“Being a newbie to marketing I needed help trying to reach more of my customers… Aside from the obvious increase in traffic and likes on Facebook, it just made people more aware of my business and all the things that we offer.”
-Eric, King of Kings Gyros Co-Owner
Planning, preparation, and a little luck lead to #winning in a bunch of ways. Even though from the start I told co-owner’s Eric and Jason that we were looking to win here in a number of ways (social, web traffic, traditional media coverage, and a few others), none of us expected the outcome to be as great as it was. Some of the major wins included:
1. In all, 300+ entries were received, amassing a total of 1300+ entry points.
2. There were hundreds of social interactions and audience growth on various social platforms, especially on Twitter and Facebook.
3. King of Kings had multiple TV mentions for the event and a radio appearance on 98.5KRZ. Funny story about the TV mentions…After watching the WBRE coverage, a few of their in-house peeps came in for gyros. Then they came back again a few days later for more. This lead to a PA Live appearance, which is currently in the works 🙂
4. Web site visits for the the time surrounding the event and giveaway (roughly 7-10 days) were equal to traffic stats for the 4 months leading up to the event put together.
5. Their average baseline traffic increased. If you look at the traffic shot from Google Analytics above, you’ll notice that even after the event traffic drops off the daily visits stats are higher than they were prior to the event. This is a huge long term win! T’s also one thing so many people forget to look at as a success metric after a PR campaign.
6. Various mentions, reviews and some links on local blogs, news sites and event listings. In addition to making people aware of the event, these mentions also have long term implications for both increasing referring site visits and displaying signals which are important for local search engine optimization (#4).
7. Even after all of THAT, there are still the countless awesome relationships Eric and Jason have built from the event/outreach AND that awesome feeling of being featured on TV or online. #priceless
8. Lastly, Eric was able to build a new skill that is so important for small business owners- Marketing. I’ll use his words here instead of mine:
“After this whole project I feel more confident that I can successfully reach my customers and come up with new ideas to try to reach the public and get my business known. I learned a lot about outreach, promotions, and how to use social media to my advantage.”
Important Takeaways and Last Minute Advice
- Bottle-up or concentrate your awesomeness into something cool or look for an awesome “thing” you already have to promote.
- Outreach has 4 crucial parts, all of which work with each other to improve success rates.
- Build relationships and help people long before you need to ask them for anything (and without an “ask” even in mind).
- Create a marketing/outreach calendar with Google Calendars to keep everything on track.
- Work with your existing network of business friends, fans, etc. to build momentum. Then reach out to people you don’t know as well.
- Your “ask” message and where you ask matters. Make sure you do it right and look to evolve the process to make it better.
- Outreach shouldn’t be sleazy. It should genuinely add value to everyone involved.
- A project management tool (or spreadsheet) can be your best friend to keep track of all your interactions, contact information, etc. Try Asana it’s free!
Thanks for reading!
I’m happy to help how I can in the comments below. If you know someone who would find this valuable, I would love it (and I bet so would they) if you could share this post.