Category Archives: Publicity

Marketing For Small Local Businesses

I am trying to write four or five articles that can help small businesses in their local marketing. So for example it might be a spa or salon that is trying to reach new customers and/or reach their existing customer. So I am looking for topic ideas and perhaps any canned presentations there might be out there to help me get started. So ideas and content. Example might be: How to use google to market locally. Thanks


Jay’s Answer: There are lots of “standard” topics (frequency, eMarketing, building your list, website, SEO, etc.), but it’s likely that your audience has already heard “the usual”. What is your ultimate goal for these articles – to hire your services -or- are you simply providing this information for your membership? If the latter, ask them for their problems/questions and write about what they’re specifically interested in. If the former, then write stories describing local business problems, how you solved it, and the results.

Cheeky Creative Car Flyers

You know those car flyers that you find on your windshield everyone hates? Unfortunately, I have a client who insists on having them and I’m having a hard time creating a concept that won’t get it thrown in the trash in the first 2 seconds. I would love any ideas or input that anybody had

My client is an multi-location, IPL and skin treatment center in Colorado. This flyer is targeted to men and women (18-40) who are looking for hair removal options. They are a professional but fun brand that doesn’t mind getting a little cheeky. They would like the flyers to be used at any time of the year so, unfortunately, seasonal concepts won’t work.

The flyer is roughly half-page but can be cut to an appropriate shape if it suits the concept.

So far, my ideas have been to either admit the fact that everyone hates car flyers but try to play with it: “what do you hate more, car flyers or body hair? We can help with one of those” – or – Something clever and/or sexy enough to override their frustration and show something they might actually appreciate: EG, a bikini bum/crotch or showing a smooth, sexy leg with the headline “Dare to bare”

Other ideas include playing on the “Say no to fur” concept.

Admittedly, I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel with this one. I appreciate your ideas, headlines or cleverness.


Jay’s Answer:  Instead of a flyer that’s likely to be discarded, gift them with something that may be appreciated – a special rag to clean windows or a glass cleaner. The car flyers are totally a numbers game – you hope that the right person will read them. Can you instead better target the people in the area (PPC or Google Display Network)? Can you offer a special lottery for the first “N” people who contact?

How To Handle Past Problems

I have the opportunity to lead a program that will result in me having a national profile within my profession. I have no doubts about my ability to do the job well. But in the past, I did not always perform up to professional standards. It is now clear that I was suffering from undiagnosed depression and then, once it was diagnosed, under-treated depression. This was all more than 10 years ago. I am fine now. But I would not be at all surprised if one way or another these problems from the past came up once I appear on the national stage. As a result, I could foresee the program suffering because people hold back from participation based on my past, not to mention personal attacks. I do not think I should bypass this opportunity because of my past. After all none of us is perfect, not that that would stop anybody from attacking me.

So my question is how should I handle the past? Should I make some kind of preemptive disclosure, and if so how, in what way? Do I simply state a summary of the facts or do I need to go into detail as to everything that went wrong back then? And while the depression is true, it might also be perceived as me making excuses, which is not my intent. I know that I did not live up to my obligations back then, and I have made amends as much as possible. Or do I say nothing, hope it does not become an issue and if it does, have some sort of prepared response? What would this prepared response be? How would it differ in substance from a preemptive disclosure?


Jay’s Answer:  For the best advice for dealing with (or preparing to deal with) your “controversy”, I suggest you read: Masters of Disaster (by Christopher Lehane, Mark Fabiani, and Bill Guttentag). They’ll give you the road map you need if/when a problem were to arise and how to avoid the problem in the first place.

Customer Participation In Press Releases

I work in the marketing department of a technology vendor serving hospitals and other healthcare facilities. While I was hired for my social media expertise, I am also responsible for press releases – something completely new to me. Writing them is not a problem, as I have a journalism background. But getting customer participation and approval is an issue – and apparently always has been at my company.

When we sell our product into a new facility, we want to spread the word and do a press release about it. Ideally, the customer will provide a statement and put their stamp of approval on the release.

My company’s established process is to go through the person we sold the system to (the Chief Information Officer, for example), or the end-user we worked closely with (e.g. a Nurse Manager).

This often leads to weeks or months of unanswered emails or “I submitted to my superior/the PR department/some other stakeholder … but haven’t heard back.”

I’m wondering if we should *start* with the hospital’s PR department? Will they help us obtain a quote from the appropriate person and shepherd the approval process?

Also, if we choose to forgo the quote, do we really need the customer’s approval to do an announcement of sale press release?


Jay’s Answer:  Based on previous experiences, has your company measurably benefited from press releases? Since it’s unlikely a new technology installation will likely produce something noteworthy (for a PR) in important information, consider instead creating case studies. Work with your clients to measure the short-, medium-, and long-term benefits of your products & services. You won’t need their quotes, just access to their data.

In the future, make it a part of the contract itself, so this issue is clearly noted early on – and resolved in their management structure.

No, you don’t need their permission to note the sale (unless they’ve stipulated it’s confidential). And if you can’t get an authorized quote, then provide one of your own, stated from your perspective (“Their system was having reliability problems, and now they will enjoy 99.99% uptime”).

However, this is not legal advice, and if you’re at all concerned that your clients may take offense at your press release, talk to your lawyer about what you can say legally w/o client approval.

How To Combat Negative Sentiment Via Social Media

My company is quasi governmental toll road company. Meaning that we have strong legislative ties and are constantly bombarded with negative media and customer complaints about paying their bill.

Everything that I have seen in webinars, company examples, and tips/tricks all focus on when  the customer base generally likes the company. Since we have government ties we are  put into the political realm where very opinionated people like to blast negative comments on  everything and anything. In addition the comments rarely fall under the topic of the post,  making it very difficult to post anything in fear of getting bombarded with “I don’t want to pay my bill”, “you’re stealing from me”, etc.


Jay’s Answer:  It sounds like it’s time for you to be proactive, since people aren’t actively sharing their love for your services. Can you identify people and/or organizations who truly benefit from your toll roads (and remember the way things “used to be”)? Can you figure out how much money/time people are saving using them, and have an animated clock on your website that keeps track of the savings minute-to-minute? When you get a negative post, how do you handle it – publicly or privately? Are the complaints warranted or just people griping?

Sales & Education Conference Theme

Looking for a good theme / tagline for our upcoming company meeting where sales and management staff will meet to hear reports from various company departments and where two professional speakers will speak – on how to manage stress and customer service; and the other on sales strategies. Also presenting are key vendors whose focus is on technology. Goal of meeting is for sales and management staff to become more strategic in their daily actions with customers


Jay’s Answer: 

  • No-Stress Sales Secrets
  • Effective Selling Begins With You


Ways To Advertise For Martial Arts School?

I am a very young advertising assistant for the martial arts dojo of my instructor, with whom I began taking classes with at the YMCA three years ago. Ever since he decided to open his own dojo, we have not been getting many students. We started out sharing a building with a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu school and were not very successful. My instructor (who teaches a combination of traditional Japanese styles, which he founded) had three students, myself included, for the majority of that time. His business partner (who teaches Kung Fu and Tai Chi) had four or five students. We decided to hold class in a public park for the summer to raise money for a new location. This has not gone well so far; my instructor has not gained any students, and seems close to losing two of them, and his business partner lost all of his students except for two. Because I do not want to be the only student in class, I offered to help with advertising, although I can not do much because I am about sixteen years old. I have tried talking to my friends to get them interested, posting flyers in local businesses, posting ads on local facebook pages, and nothing seems to be working. This week I will be working with the owner on new marketing ideas. I need suggestions desperately. Please help if you can.
Additional details: Both classes involve Asian culture and modern fighting tactics.

My instructor’s business partner has a strong personality; people either like or dislike him immediately. Though he has never taken my instructor’s class, he is used as a sort of assistant instructor, and often integrates his martial arts style with our’s. This could be driving away the people who prefer my instructor’s teaching style over his.

As I mentioned before, I am very young. My instructor needs to approve every type of advertising I do, but he works two jobs and has very little time. He also does not want to take great risks as far as money.

We are a traditional dojo. We do not go to a lot of tournaments or do olympic style sparring. We also do not have contracts or a “black belt guarentee.”

Our classes are $75 per month, with three one-hour classes a week. Classes take place in an area with many tournament taekwondo or MMA schools, but no other traditional dojo.


Jay’s Answer:  How are the other martial arts schools doing in your area? Are their class sizes similarly small? Over the years, the bread-and-butter of most dojos have been after-school classes for children. Dojos additionally charge for each belt testing, new belts, etc.

Most people don’t really know the difference between various styles of martial arts, except what they see depicted in movies. And even so, most people don’t understand the underlying benefits of short-term training and long-term dedication to the study of their art. Ultimately, what’s your sensei’s dream dojo – a community of adults practicing 2-3x/week, a group of seniors improving their balance, a group of people who help their community by showing how martial arts “grounds” them, etc.?

Is your instructor better suited for teaching beginners or advanced students? Teachers generally gravitate to teaching fundamentals (which can be refined over the years) or complex sequences (either form or function). Whatever your teacher’s specialty, the message needs to attract those types of students. Most students aren’t interested in function (the “martial” part of “martial arts”). Most are interested in dance-like movements that make them feel better.

Unique Sponsorship Ideas!!

I’m raising money for my nephew, who has severe cerebral palsy, to have dolphin therapy. We have carried out a number of fundraising events, but I’m now hoping to do an individual sponsorship event, and was hoping for some unique ideas for what I could do to generate more interest in this? (Anything that is a bit different from the standard run, bike ride, silence etc etc)


Jay’s Answer:

  • Raffle (to have a non-therapeutic dolphin experience)
  • Team up with your local aquarium/sea world

Fresh Idea To Execute A Celebrity Inauguration

The age old format of directly says that this celebrity is coming to inaugurate a shop, leveraging on the celebrities reach to his target audience though tried and tested to be effective needs to be broken. I am stuck and are presenting in 2 days time a fresh idea on how an inauguration campaign can be done with same results for a jewelery shop. this campaign will be run for a week in radio and print. Flash mob was an innovative idea when it came to branding…i am looking for inspirations there is no specific USP for the brand, rather it has everything that caters to a typical middle class Indian’s appetite for gold. its located in the heart of town around 300,000 families, easily accessible by metro, transport bus and taxi. unfortunately nothing makes them special/different from others. middle class Indians especially south Indians. why they would come can be the offers provided on that day.


Jay’s Answer: If there’s no restrictions – give away your jewelry. Your celebrity could judge a (look-alike, dance, talent, etc.) contest with the prizes the jewelry. Livecast the event, and also have people at home vote for their favorites using phone/website.

Postcard Direct Mailer Tagline

I am about to create a post card for a direct mailer and i need help creating a tagline. My center name is Spring
House Early Learning. Its a nursery/preschool.


Jay’s Answer: It doesn’t sound like you’re looking for a tagline (for your business) – you’re looking for a headline (for your postcard) to encourage people to take a few minutes to read your mailer.

A headline needs to be written in a way that talks to the person who’s your ideal customer (parents of toddlers). What’s on their minds? Safety. Cost. Opportunities. Convenience. Community. Values.

There are no doubt many nursery/preschools in your area. What makes yours the right choice for a child/parent? What do you offer that others don’t? What have parents commented upon?

That’s where I’d start in crafting a custom-tailored headline for your postcard. And the headline is just the beginning – there’s the offer, the imagery, the address label, the stamp, the timing of the mailing, etc.