Email Marketing & Public Relations: A Match Made In The Inbox
By Andrea Carter January 30, 2015
Public relations is a great way to boost your audience’s perception of your brand. In this Q&A, we talked to PR expert Murray Newlands to find out the best ways small business owners can maximize their PR efforts along with email marketing.
In his book How to Get PR for Your Startup: Traction, author and expert Murray Newlands offers these words of advice for today’s business owner: “The business that can influence the media will win the trust of the people – simply because consumers typically decide to purchase from brands they trust and are familiar with.”
As someone who works in public relations, I confess, this statement gave me goosebumps. If ever there was a case for the value of public relations (PR), Murray nailed it.
My own interests aside, Murray’s point is especially relevant to small business owners. Why? Because brand awareness is crucial in the early stages of launching a business. And PR can be one of the keys to getting your business from startup to grownup.
With that said, there’s opportunity to put PR to work for you and your business by syncing it with your email marketing efforts. I connected with Murray to get his advice on how to combine PR and email marketing for maximum effectiveness. Here’s what he had to say:
Andrea Carter (AC): First things first, why is PR important for small business owners?
Murray Newlands (MN): When consumers make a purchase, they often search the product or service on Google to see what people say about it. Public relations can help ensure people read positive things about your company when they’re making purchasing decisions. One of the goals of PR is for a company to receive press coverage, whether in a newspaper or magazine, on a website, or on television or radio. This type of media coverage is particularly important for small business owners because the more people get to know you, your business or the products and services you offer, the bigger your chances of making a sale when reaching out to target customers.
AC: What’s your 15-second pitch on how to effectively reach out to news media?
MN: When engaging in media outreach, focus your efforts on how your company helps people with problems. Publication readers have problems, and they are hungry to read about how to overcome their problems. Press members normally don’t want to write about companies; but they will write about problems and how your company helps solve those problems.
AC: I agree 100 percent. Getting great press coverage means less of a company sales pitch and more about how that company is solving problems. So for the email marketers out there, how can they include PR strategies in their email marketing?
MN: PR and email are great tools to help each other. If you send out recent media placements to prospects, it acts as a third party endorsement and they will be more likely to use your services or buy your products. When you get great press coverage and include a link to it in your marketing emails and newsletters, it helps to reassure customers that they’ve made the right choice in using you.
AC: So how is it done? Describe a few ways business owners can incorporate PR strategies into their marketing emails and newsletters.
MN: First, don’t just think about PR as publications and media outreach; also think about customers sharing your newsletters. It is important that you involve social icons within your email campaigns. I’m not talking about putting a small Twitter or Facebook icon some place at the bottom of the email. Ask email subscribers to connect with you on social and to share your press hits. Use a ‘Retweet This!’ or a ‘Share This!’ in the email. Occasionally, social icons aren’t enough. While most subscribers will recognize the LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebook icons, not every person will know what action to take as they view them within your marketing email. Don’t hesitate to tell them!
AC: That’s a great tip to remember. An explicit call to action is always necessary. As a PR person, I know firsthand that media coverage is hard to come by. What happens if a business owner has press coverage to share one week, then nothing to share the next?
MN: This is a great opportunity to ensure your email newsletter and marketing messages are multi-dimensional. If there is no press coverage to share, use language such as “thought you would enjoy the following” and insert a related story. There’s always something out there related to what you do that can bring value to your audience. It can be as simple as doing a quick Google search.
AC: Speaking of bringing value to the audience, do customers care about PR? What’s in it for them?
MN: If done correctly, the customer feels as though they have more information and a better relationship with the brand. At the end of the day, customers and prospects don’t just want to buy a product, they also want to feel good about it.
AC: Do business owners run the risk of being too self-promotional by incorporating PR tactics into their email marketing?
MN: No, the business owner’s first priority should be to offer valuable information to their customers and clients. PR should be of value to the readers and customers.
AC: How can a small business owner use email marketing to fuel more media opportunities for their business?
MN: Publications and journalists love stories with data and facts. Email marketing is a great way to run surveys that can provide terrific data and great ideas for articles.
AC: If I’m a small business owner who’s reading this, where do I start?
MN: The key is getting your amazing story out, even if it isn’t the initial thing you believed would be intriguing. Check out the focus of your target news publications and outlets. If it’s a local magazine, newspaper, or website that solely covers local businesses, concentrate on that angle. If it’s an international or national television program, search for something that will have a lot of interest, yet possesses a unique perspective that brings something fresh to the table. You should make it clear why audiences in different regions of the world or country might be curious about your story. I explain more about these tips in my book: How to Get PR for your Startup: Traction.
How To Include PR Into Your Business
If you’re a business owner who’s just getting started, I recommend checking out Murray’s book. It’s a quick read that’s chock-full of strategies and tactics to include PR in email marketing and other areas of your business.
Have your own tips for pairing email marketing with public relations? Use the comments section to tell us what’s worked for you!