I run a UK based jewellery company specialising in bridal jewellery.
We have a turnover of circa £4m per annum. We advertise using Adwords, Youtube, and run active facebook campaign.
However, we don't do any proper PR activity, so it is an obvious gap in our marketing strategy.
I realise I could engage a PR agency, or I could advertise in the PR press and look to employ our own PR person.
However, I am not clear on what my PR 'objectives' should be. I also don't know what a good result would look like, or how much I realistically need to budget for.
So far, I have been skeptical of the value of PR. Realistically, we are not Coca-Cola or Panasonic, and I am not sure I have the appetite to afford the size of campaign to try to build a large scale 'brand'.
Hence to date, I have focused on direct response marketing with adwords etc.
Some possible avenues which might work and which I would include in the PR category is;
* Celebrity endorsements
* Featured products in bridal magazines
* Press releases (I realise these don't generally work)
* Local awareness campaign in local papers
As you can see, I am bit confused on the best way forward. So I am looking for an expert in PR, who I can pay to give me some guidance on this topic.
Once I find a PR expert I can trust, I would like to discuss with the the following questions;
i) Can PR generate a measurable increase in sales for our business type and niche?
ii) What is the minimum amount I should budget to test if it works?
iii) Should I employ somebody or use an agency?
iv) What is the right PR strategy I should set from the start
Thanks for reading!
Personally, I think you sould focus more on social media than PR. PR can be great, especially if you need to deal with some bad press, but all PR tends to work very short-term. Social media can be a great way to build your brand and make a connection with your audience in a much more personal way than any PR can do. I would specifically hire a PR expert or agency that has experience and knowledge in other areas of web marketing, as these things are often tied together.
Congratulations on the success of your business
- With a turnover like that you should have a strong brand presence.
PR/Social Media is what you need
but this is totally dependent on your target market -
who they are and more importantly where they are -
for example if your customers are young and trendy - i would suggest contacting the top youtube influences in beauty and make up - these people have millions of followers and most of them cant wait to receive something free for an endorsement and what you have is much better than any free product out there - free jewellery would be much cheaper than hiring a PR firm -
most marketing companies outsource thier design overseas - so it might feel like your paying top dollar but in most cases you are paying thousands of dollars for someone that is getting paid $10 an hour with low skills.
So be very careful who you give your business to - if your market is a older age group - then youtube would be a waste and a complete disaster - facebook,instagram would be better
each social network has an entirely different audience. Adwords and paid services are good, especially when you know your market.
Based of the little bit of info i would suggest you build up your Brand - the name and expertise - do you have a useful blog - do more than sell jewelry - be the trusted source of all jewelry information
It's always best to figure out what your goals are first.
Do you want to increase revenues? By how much? Increase brand awareness? What's your time frame for these goals?
Public relations is communication with your target audience - who are your customers? How engaged are they with your brand? Do you receive word-of-mouth referrals from them?
Measuring ROI always comes back to your goals and whether you're meeting those goals...and of course sales are the ultimate benchmark.
A few more tips to keep your MarComm budget in line:
- Leverage your partnerships - social media reach and awareness campaigns
- Grow through alliances with vendors
- Tie into a rising trend to generate media buzz and mentions
- Keep a sharp eye on your reputation. Is your customer service something that customers rave about? If not, then correct that.
Quick stream of consciousness note to help out:
As a marketing "generalist" with strong PR leanings - most of my clients come to me for PR but then find additional (greater?) value me for marketing advice, social media (which really, along with influencer partnerships is becoming part of PR), tradeshow support, strategic partnership brokering, etc. - I, of course, am biased. But I've also hired (and fired) many PR agencies in my career before I joined them.
Starting out, I would go with a part-time consultant. Find someone that is truly passionate about your field and has experience with placing stories in a similar line of business as yours. I personally prefer a small boutique agency or even individual that offers more than just PR services. (Bonus - if you find someone really great, you might later be able to bring them in-house or hire them exclusively.)
Make sure you check out their social media, some of their past press releases and - most importantly - stories they have placed on behalf of other clients. If the tone, positioning or feel isn't somewhat aligned with yours - you will likely not mesh and achieve poor results. i.e., too boring, too formal, to irreverent, too immature, too old school, no apparent recent experience with your core audience or the outlets that write/cover your industry.
Get some references as well and contact past or present clients (with verifiable coverage out there).
I'd say reasonable budgets, based on U.S. prices, should be doable starting from $4-7.5K a month, maybe even a bit less if you're a strong negotiator.
You could also shoot for a base retainer and a contingent portion where you set certain goals each month and if those are met, there's an additional kicker to the compensation. That will help you find the more entrepreneurial (and hungry) agencies. i.e. x articles published with outlets reaching > x subscribers or viewers, obtain x mentions from x social media influencers with x or more followers, etc. Spitballing, you'll need to define your own, but involve the consultant in the process and ask them what they think is reasonable, then have them put some skin in the game with an upside if they do great.
Keep in mind, though, that external PR folks will not be able to fabricate newsworthy stories for you. They can help you in the process and use their established contacts to open the doors, but they will not know your product well enough without your close collaboration. Clients that expect the PR folks to sort of live on an island (no pun intended) and generate press will be very disappointed.
Chemistry is also quite important. I would say within three months, perhaps even a bit less, you should be able to tell if you are happy with the results. Talk about metrics, talk about what your realistic expectation should be so you can decide if that's a better investment than a similar marketing spend. But unless it's a complete failure, be a little patient, PR is not direct marketing.
Hope that's helpful and best of luck. Looks like you're off to a great start! I personally really only handle video games, technology, and eSports, but if you need help, I can probably refer you to a couple of good people here in the U.S. that may be a good fit.
If you have peers in the industry, also ask for recommendations to PR folks they love. Stay away from big agencies unless you have deep pockets and avoid press release mills where they will send out your press releases for a flat fee. That's not PR, that's annoying direct mail aimed at editors, a good way to burn bridges before you even get out of the PR gate.
Your suspicions and instincts as to whether or not you're a good fit for a PR campaign are correct. PR (online or offline) is best served when you have something unique or cool, of if you have some sort of inspiring story behind the people (or a person) of the company. Bridal Jewelry is just not very PR worthy in and of itself.
If you did run some sort of promotion, then you could run some PR around it. Write and send out a release, contact local and national outlets and "HOPE" they deem your story worthy.
IMHO, PR is very unpredictable and difficult to measure the impact on sales. PR efforts fail. They don't always bear fruits. You need to be able to absorb that hit on your bottom line if you are going to do PR. You can hit a home run of course, but you're more likely to strike out.
You should not ignore PR, but I don't see the need to hire a major PR agency. You should use PR strategically. Use it when you have something cool to announce or promote. Use it ongoing, with the idea that you're going to also get better organic search visibility. Use it because its good for establishing your brand. Use it because it draws traffic.
But don't use it just as a direct revenue channel. You'll be dissapointed. Basically, use it because of the many secondary benefits it has.
I'll try to keep it short.
Try to browse through your close friends or LinkedIn people connected to you (1st, 2nd) and see who could be a soon-to-be-proposed or most-desired UK girl that is also famous.
Try to locate her agent and convince them to have the boyfriend select you as the "source" for the "rock".
Then have him and her mention your establishment in their interviews and social media (especially Instagram) venues.
Your only investment will be the price of the ring itself.
This would be a first step of course.
Congratulations on the major Success of your business.I believe you should hire a PR person who would engage your customers and develop a marketing strategy for your business. Social media is very key for your business and you need to focus more on that. Thank you