About Me

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Odiham, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Founder and Account Director of BlackChilli, Barry is the driving force and creative energy behind the company. Barry is a visionary, business generator, networking king and would, according to his peers 'turn up at the opening of an envelope'! Barry has over 25 years’ experience in the industry, is a member of The Institute of Public Relations and regular freelance contributor to a host of business titles. A client once summed Barry up by calling him Mr. Marmite, saying “You will either love him or hate him, but you can't ignore him" – he’s the Simon Cowell of the PR industry, brutally honest and saying it like it is.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 12.

Rule 12 – Make Sure Your Website Is Working For You

All businesses have a website – don’t they?? Let’s assume they do. Your website is your 24-7, 365 days a year shop front, with lights on which send out your message. It works when you are asleep and it allows customers and prospects to look at your business at any time of the day. Here are a few tips to ensure that your website works effectively for you: 

What do you do? Many companies have stylish websites that have no clear messages of what they actually do on their home page. If your home page does not contain a clear message of what your product, skill or service is, in simple to understand terms search engines like Google (the most popular) will not be able to categorize your site. Make your content is engaging, current and topical. Keep up to date with what is happening in various markets, predominantly your own, as this makes your site a reference point. This means people will keep coming back to you, linking to your page, again bringing Google back and pushing you up the Google listings. Content needs to be current. For an example, see Times Online or the BBC news website. 

What makes good content? Compelling case studies, white papers, news, blogs, commentary, tools that people will want to link with, top tips and free downloads. In the construction industry the Holy Grail was the Olympics in 2012. We all want a slice of that prestigious project. Post messages and news on your website regarding 2012, your views, your part of the project (if you are fortunate enough to be involved), products or services you have that would match 2012 and so on. This will ensure Google comes back to you, elevating your position in the rankings and proving your credibility with this project. By blogging and using social networking sites you are keeping things ‘live’ and informative. As with your web content, keep things up to date and current and in line with the topical affairs that rule your industry. Set up a Facebook account for your business; it is an ideal way of piling content onto the Internet. While it will appeal to a younger audience, the youth of today are tomorrow’s decision makers. Publish and share information. This will lead traffic to you via searches. Surfing the latest news on your industry and putting this on your own website will ensure you are up to date, current and topical … and it is guaranteed to drive more traffic to your site. Write and publish articles relevant to your business. These can be sent to online versions of printed media titles, online forums, and news sites. Online publications are hungry for content. You can provide it. Also share links with trusted affiliates. Publish links to your site in forums, journals and blogs. Publish as many as possible, as long as they are relevant. 

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 11.

Rule 11 - Dig Deep

When you are looking for new ways to persuade prospects to take interest in your company, stay abreast of the latest research and published articles to discover your target market's current needs, desires and buying preferences. Put customer feedback forms on your website and take steps to make your online presence more interactive. To increase your company's visibility, associate with a charitable cause or community-based group for a special event. Take a high-profile position rather than melting into the crowd. 

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 10.

Rule 10 - Don’t Be A Stranger 

Keep in touch with your clients, prospects and lapsed purchasers. Remind people that you are still around and open for business. E-mail newsletters are cheap, cost-effective, efficient and very powerful. Printed newsletters are also excellent, however, they are more expensive to produce and mail. Plan to send out a client focused communication on a monthly basis with a host of messages. For example: tips, deals, bargains, added value, stock clearance, incentives, news of your business, new clients, etc. Keep in touch – always. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 9.

Rule 9 – Wave the Flag 

Get in the press and get in now! Get up on those battlements and wave that flag. How else are people going to know both you and your products exist? Currently, does your business rely on word of mouth recommendations? Are you trading on your reputation? Well, these will be the first sales generation mechanisms to evaporate in a downturn market. Why would anyone promote your business right now? They've got their own business to promote. Media relations and special events are essential tools. Intensify your media relations with article ideas tailored specifically for your market audience and the readers of key publications. Editorial is far more powerful than advertising and a lot cheaper. Identify specific journalists or editors to receive your information and find out if  they prefer releases via fax, e-mail or standard mail. After sending your initial information, follow up with phone calls and a polished press kit. 

Friday, 19 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 8.

Rule 8 – Never Discount Your Prices 

Cutting your prices is like driving down a one way street. It’s hard to turn around and go the other way. Whilst your competitors may reduce their prices, you need nerves of steel to maintain yours. Once cut, it is difficult to justify raising them again. Rather than cutting your prices, now is the best time to offer additional value, products or services. Try segmenting your customer base now that you have a CRM package - set up a multi-tiered programme of telephone contact and mailings, and offer special support or additional services to the customers who generate the greatest sales or profits. 

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker

Rule 7 – CRM Is A Vital Tool 

If you haven’t got one, invest in a database package that is capable of running a customer relationship marketing programme (CRM). By listening carefully to your customers, you'll gain insight into what they want most and how you can provide it. Train your staff to always ask prospects where they learned about your company and use contact-management software to record all the information you get from them. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Crunch PR - Musings from Mr PR - Barry Walker. Rule 6.

Rule 6 - Advertising Must Pay

If you are spending money on advertising
and you are convinced that continuing to spend money on advertising is the right strategy, then give your old campaign a makeover. Replacing the old ad image with one that's designed to produce bottom-line results and has a strong call to action is a must. I bet your current message is too wishy-washy. Get tough – you need business and you need it now. Create strong messages designed to attract customers. Track the results of your marketing efforts by placing response codes in all your ads and lead-generation tools. The adverts in media that don’t get results get the chop, whilst the ones that do work, you must continue with.