Own and operate Words For Hire; PR, Marketing, Communications specialist helping businesses to identity, connect and engage with their target audiences. Efficient, creative, plays well with others.
More than two decades of experience in helping organizations achieve their bottom line goals. For the past 9 years have utilized expertise in communications, sales and marketing to help organizations identify, connect and engage with their target audience.
I am curious as to what specific problem you are solving for women over 40? What other characteristics do these women have? Your marketing tactics will depend on your strategy and a key step in developing the strategy is to have a clear audience profile(s). Knowing your audience will help you to understand the best place to reach them - it may be online, offline or a combination of methods. If your salon is local, partnering with complimentary businesses who serve your market is one way to reach your audience. This could be a joint offer, event or advertising.
I would challenge you to reframe the question. I would lead with needs rather than price. It's a mistake to fit the price to the expert. It is far better to find the expert and adjust the scope to fit your budget. You can prioritize your needs and get the right help. As you grow and have more dollars you can then move through your priority list. I have seen business owners make the mistake of thinking they need help but can only afford to pay X. Those decisions end up being more costly than hiring someone who is good not cheap.
You have received good advice but I would also ask what is the goal of your PR efforts? Is it to drive awareness, gain leads, etc? Before beginning your outreach it's important to understand what you want to accomplish. This in turn will help you to craft outreach that matches your goals. You get journalists to write about you by telling them succinctly why they should care. Why would they and by extension their readers care about your story? Go beyond gathering target publications and names to understanding those you are targeting. Get to know them and not only their beat but their preferences. In addition, don't limit your outreach to trying to get journalists to write about you, offer content. Bylined articles are a wonderful way to establish thought leadership.
More than 80% of new consultants obtain their first contract through their natural network. Turn to those who know and have worked with you and be specific about the services you offer and the types of clients you serve. There are also a number of ways to network that require little more than sweat equity.
Make sure that you set up your LinkedIn profile with clear and current information including how to contact you.
Make a list of targeted clients and reach out by phone or email. Make sure you follow up.
Find and get involved with a local professional networking group. Choose a group that serves or is your target audience and is active and get involved.
Set up coffee meetings once per week with potential clients.
Team up with those that offer complementary services.
Submit guest posts to blogs that serve your market (provide advice such as how to get an accurate background check or payroll options). This is a great way to establish thought leadership, and gain visibility without being salesy.
Bootstrapping your business is an opportunity to be bold and creative.
Also if you do want a website, don't let cost stand in your way. You can buy and host a domain for very little and build the site yourself on a self-hosted Wordpress platform. You can buy a theme like Genesis and a child theme for the look and feel and be up and running in a week.
I have worked on this with other clients and we had better success asking for referrals early on in the process rather than after or at the end of the process. It also helps to be specific in your ask. Rather than asking to be connected to people, ask if they know companies in (industry) who have (specific problem). Being specific triggers names far better than a general ask which is almost always met with them thinking about it.
Is there an existing market for what you are selling or are you trying to create a market? If there is an existing market then you have to further determine your target market within that broad audience and the best channels to reach them. Is your target audience on Facebook? More importantly is this the place they go to seek out the services you offer? Spending money on likes is not a wise investment. Ads can be incredibly effective, if your audience is there, and you need to be willing to test the content and photo to get the right combination for your final ad. Before you spend money, it is important to really know your potential customers. I am not a fan of giving away services for free because you diminish the value to prospective customers. Rather than giving away a free service you could start a blog or develop a writing tip sheet. This demonstrates your knowledge and gives them something for free that can build the relationship for a sale.
Identify 3-5 key media outlets/reporters. You can begin to develop relationships with these reporters now on your social channels. Read what they write, comment and share. Don't fake it but genuinely engage. When you are ready to pitch your key media targets, take time to develop a succinct, relevant pitch. As others have noted the story is not about you but what will it mean to the outlet's readers. Don't say you're excited or it's the best product ever, but tell the facts and remember to focus on why the reporter would be interested. Customize each pitch to the reporter. It's fine to follow-up if you don't hear in a week. An extra step that you can take, is send an email intro long before you pitch, introducing yourself, and let them know why you're writing. Ask about stories they are working on and if you can be of help.
I would do a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether to build or buy. If affiliate marketing is part of your core competencies and you need specific customization, then it may be worth the cost to build. If not, there are great programs out there that will allow you to run your affiliate marketing programs.
That's an easy one, you say "no." While I am sympathetic to cash preservation and bootstrapping in the early days, we have no obligation to provide free or even discounted work to anyone. Startups can develop their own site or if they consider it a priority find a service within their budget to make it work. This is not being mean or selfish but a good steward of your own business. You have to take care of your business too. Every startup believes in their business but truthfully not all make it. It's not fair to offer equity unless independent of the ask you would have invested in the business, for your time and services. Tell them no, and offer to provide a quote when they have the budget and don't feel guilty. We all have a limited supply of funds and time and have to make tough decisions about how to spend them.
There are large, well-established competitors in this space but still room for you to succeed. Does your software specifically meet the needs of your industry or own customer base? You can carve out a niche if it does. Can you integrate it with other industry software? If so, that is another route to go. A long-time former client built a sustainable business on software they purchased and then perfected for their industry, and others have enjoyed similar success, so it is not impossible to do.
I would not advise outsourcing your lead generation. Over the years I have found that most small business owners started a business believing they would focus on the work or idea that sparked the business. However, your job is to bring in the business. You can always outsource the actual work. This does not mean it never makes sense to hire a salesperson but for your business, at this stage, you should handle this internally. There are a number of ways that you can generate leads from thought leadership to inbound marketing. Happy to help you formulate a plan that you can implement.
Karen is a consummate professional. She knows her stuff, and she knows how to provide top notch customer service--because she understands what her customers care about and makes those needs her priority. I highly recommend Karen as a provider, a partner, and a trusted colleague.
Karen helped me no end with recently with my search for job. She did her best, helping me form my method to look for a job, to shape up my resume, giving invaluable advice and insights during the whole process.
She is friendly, helpful and a pleasure to work with.
Read the other recommendations as well, but if you want a quick, effective writer who knows her PR, stop your search right here on this page. A joy to work with, Karen is everything a client looks for in a vendor. Would hire again, obviously.
Karen is a highly valued person by my. I've never met her. Just had the opportunity to communicate via mail. Anyway she has helped me enormously with her input. She'll probably laugh at the attribute regarding 'Good Value'. But I recommend Karen to all of you in search for someone who can write, has integrity, is dedicated and who I'm sure will have an emphatic behaviour to your situation.
Kind regards from Belgium & wish you a good life!
It was a pleasure working with Karen, she determined my requirements efficiently and transformed my website copy, by simplifying it to convey key points and information succinctly. Karen, also shared her experience and insights as an entrepreneur, which was an added and unexpected bonus. I look forward to working with Karen again in the future and highly recommend her services, in fact I have already referred Karen's services to my colleagues!
Karen is unique. Not only does she know her craft and is passionate and knowledgeable at the same time, but she is one of those rare professionals that you can trust, and she really cares about her clients. From research, the written words and presentation, and follow-up -- I could not recommend anybody more. As projects come up, Karen is always the "go-to" person for me. I would recommend her for any job, small and large. - Best, Jon R.
Karen served as a high-energy, results-oriented Marketing Manager. Her natural leadership abilities served her well as she effectively managed cross-functional teams who in many cases had no direct reporting responsibility, and nevertheless, across multiple business units, consistently delivered successful product launches that required the management of both operational and sales readiness.
As the Manager, Utilization and Outcomes Reporting, Karen was instrumental in helping the team at our headquarters office understand the Managed Care market in her area. Her market was very volatile with the increase in state regulations and the constant flux of clients resulting from acquisitions and new variations in how the managed care organizations were operating. She was always available to help and a valuable source for evaluating new products and ideas we developed.
Karen is a fantastic copywriter/ editor. She took the words I had wrtten for my new website and gave them greater impact, all done promptly. She understand the need for the words to still sound like me and I was delighted with her work.
I'll be using Karen for all my copywriting needs! Indeed I've already used her on more than one occasion.
Karen has an exceptional ability to sift through the noise and draw out the most redeeming qualities in the work she produces for others. She provides an unequaled expertise; whether she's editing your copy, guiding you through career counseling or providing unique insight into the direction of your project, Karen does it with professionalism, care and expediency. I would recommend Karen for any work requiring a proven and tempered approach to solving your communication needs.
I had the pleasure of working with Karen recently when I was in between jobs. She went above and beyond the call of duty to help me understand where I my gifts and talents would best fit. I was going through a bit of a career direction change and her services of editing, resume writing, and business sense combined with her personal touch and geniuneness made her a joy to work with. I have recommended her to several friends who has used her services and were pleased as well.