Category: Tutorials

Using Picreel To Get More From Your Press Release Traffic

If you're sharing your company's news using online press releases, then you already understand the benefits and excellent exposure it provides. But what happens when a reader actually comes to your website from your press release? Are you ready and waiting for them? Do you have a clear call to action (what you want them to do on your website), and an easy way for them to do it? 

Planning ahead and setting up dedicated forms and pop-ups can help you get more people to act on your call to action. 

Here's how to do it.

Create Dedicated Landing Pages

A landing page is simply the term for a page on your website that exists for a specific purpose. It is usually not part of your main website navigation. Instead, the URL (web address) is used in ads, emails, and even in press releases to direct visitors to a specific page to learn more about a product or service, fill out a form, or complete some other action. 

Versus just sending visitors to your homepage where they aren't sure where to go or what to do, a landing page has a clear call to action, the information a visitor needs to make a decision, and an easy way to do it. 

Best Practices For Using Landing Pages In Your Press Release

  • Make at least one of your anchor text links in your release go to a dedicated landing page. Ideally, this is around your call to action (i.e. "register for the webinar" which links to your landing page,
  • The landing page should have more info that expands on press release topic or call to action (i.e. details of the webinar, how to register, case studies from past customers who have used the strategies from the webinar, etc.).
  • Use a form to collect leads or registrations, but KISS -- Keep It Super Simple! Only collect the information you need. 
  • Make sure the topic of the landing page is relevant to the press release, and most importantly is helpful and valuable to visitors. 

Targeted Pop-Up Offers

Pop-ups can be used separately or in conjunction with landing pages. The advantage of pop-ups is that they can be used anywhere on your website. Picreel also has very specific targeting options that allow you to show pop-ups to visitors based on how long they have been on a page, how far they've scrolled, how many pages they've visited, and a host of other options.

You can also target pop-ups based on where a visitor came from. Yep, even from your press releases!

Our partners over at Online PR Media recently shared a post about using UTM tracking codes in your press releases. It's a feature in Google Analytics that allows you to create a custom code to add to the URL (web address) of one of your website pages. The code allows you to track the link's performance, which effectively also tells you something about the press release's performance. 

It also allows you to customize pop-up offers for people coming to your website from that link. 

Creating A Pop-Up Offer Targeted To Your Press Release

Let's go back to the webinar example and create a pop-up that only displays to the people that click the UTM link from your press release.

In Google Analytics, go to the Campaign URL Builder and enter the parameters for your UTM code. For a webinar signup, the parameters could look something like this:

Website URL: the web address of whatever page on your website you want to link to and track (i.e.

Campaign: "marketing-webinar"

Source: "news"

Medium: "press-release"

Content: "nov-19"

Google Analytics will then generate a custom URL with the UTM code. 

Next, head over to your Picreel dashboard and create a new campaign to invite visitors from the press release to sign up for the webinar (we conveniently already have a webinar template, should you ever need one!).

Once you're happy with the design and wording, save your campaign and move on to Target Options. 

Scroll down to Other Options, then expand the "where visitor came from?" section.

Select "referring domain"

Select "is" 

And then paste in your UTM. 

Now, anyone who reads your press release and clicks on your "webinar" link will be directed to your website and shown this uber-specific pop-up offer. 

Imagine the possibilities! With a little forethought and planning, you can get so much more from your press release traffic. 

Get Started With Picreel In Minutes
Ready to see just how much more? Try Picreel for free for 30 days - no obligation and credit card required. For a limited time, we're also offering FREE setup services for new customers. We will setup Picreel on your website, create an offer your customers will love, and launch it on your website. Contact us to learn more or schedule your setup today.

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New Home Business Online PR Media New Home Business? How To Use Press Releases To Grow Your Online Presence

While the COVID-19 pandemic has left about 15% of the United States' workforce out of work, many people have used the free time to explore their talents and launch their own business from home. New business owners know that getting the word out and reaching new customers is one of the biggest challenges in the beginning. 

Online PR Media helps new business owners overcome this with affordable press release distribution to help grow their online presence -- and get online traffic. 
New Home Business Online PR Media

New To Digital Press Releases? Start Here!

Even if you've never written a press release, you no doubt understand the premise of a company sharing news with one. Newspapers and online media outlets pick up and “reprint” or link to news that is relevant to their readers, so it's a smart way to get your news to large groups of people. Online PR Media and other online press release distribution services use syndication to make it faster, easier, and more affordable than ever to share your company news with the masses.

Benefits Of Using Online Press Releases

The main goal of any press release is to reach potential customers, investors, or other stakeholders in your business and have them actually read and react to (take some action!) your news. If your news catches the attention of journalists, even better. This is particularly helpful for local and small businesses, as your press release could evolve into even greater exposure for your business and allow you to meet new customers.

From a digital perspective, when your press release is published on reputable news and media sites, it creates backlinks to your website. Backlinks give your website and business more credibility with search engines like Google, which boosts your website's SEO (search engine optimization) value, and can help your site rank higher in searches. 

How To Write A Press Release

There really is an art and science to writing press releases, particularly when you are wanting to also use it for SEO value. We're going to break this down into four sections:

  1. Choosing a topic 
  2. Determining keywords
  3. Understanding the parts of a press release
  4. Tips for writing a press release

#1 - Select A Topic

A lot of business owners and marketers assume they don't have anything newsworthy to share, but that's completely untrue! If you've just launched a new home business, that is clearly your first press release topic. After that, here are some questions to ask yourself to drum up some topic ideas:

  • Does your website have any new features that visitors will find useful?
  • Do you have any new products or services?
  • Do you want to share an upcoming sale, promotion, discount, or contest?
  • Have you written any helpful guides, e-books, tutorials, or other downloadable content?
  • Have you received any awards or glowing mentions in the press?
  • Will you be attending or hosting an upcoming webinar?
  • Are you hosting or sponsoring a local event? 
  • Have you hired new employees - and how will they help you serve customers?
  • Have you partnered with another company or investor to grow your business?
  • Do you have an amazing success story or winning sales numbers to share? 

#2 - Choose 2-3 Keywords

While the way you should use keywords in your press release has changed over the years, they are still a critical component in SEO press releases. We recommend using a keyword research tool, like the one from our partners at Long Tai lPro, and using 2-3 targeted keywords in your press release. 

When you're first starting to research keywords, you may discover many general, high competition keywords. These are easy to use in your press release, but because the competition for them is so high, your release may not catch the attention of search engines. By uncovering long tail keywords -- longer, more specific phrases that people search for -- the competition is lower, and the search volume is higher.

For example, if your new home business is personal shopping services for seniors (highly relevant in today's environment!), your keywords may include "personal shopping" and "personal shopper." But if you add onto that to include, "personal shopper for seniors," or even "personal shopping for seniors in Palm Beach, FL" you're going to reach the very people looking for your local services. 

#3 - The Anatomy Of A Press Release

There are 5 primary parts of any press release: 

Title​: Use your main keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible, and write a succinct, catchy title that sums up your news in 100 characters or less. 

Summary​: Use 1-2 additional keywords and write a summary that builds on the title in 175 characters or less. 

Body​: News release writing should be objective and unbiased. Write in the third person and avoid opinions, excessive adjectives, and using the word "you." The body should be at least 300 words long, be broken into several paragraphs to direct the flow, contain 1-2 quotes, and 3-4 more instances of your keywords. For all paid distribution packages on Online PR Media, you can include up to 4 anchor text links. Check out this in-depth article about using and optimizing anchor text links in your press releases. 

About the Company:​ Think about this as your elevator pitch. Summarize what your company does in 2-3 sentences and include a link to your website. 

Media Contact: Ideally, someone will read your press release and want to contact you! Include your name, email address, and phone number here. 

For more details about what to include, and what not to include, check out our editorial guidelines

Hot Feature Alert: While this is a great place to start, Online PR Media offers even more resources to make it easy to start writing a press release right now. Once you create your free account, click "Resources" from your dashboard, and you'll see a library of 12 templates to choose from based on your topic. Simply copy and paste the template into your word processing document and follow the prompts to write a stellar press release!

#4 - Writing Tips

In addition to having a professional, unbiased "news-y" tone, here are a few other things to keep in mind while writing:

  • Answer "what's in it for me?" As with ALL of your business's messages, your goal is to solve a problem or answer a question, and provide helpful, valuable, and relevant information to your readers. Don't just share your news, tell your readers why it should matter to them or how it impacts their experience with your business.
  • Avoid overusing keywords. Also called "keyword stuffing," this is an antiquated tactic that should be avoided in your SEO press release. It can have the opposite effect of helping you rank, and could actually result in penalties on your website. 
  • Invite readers to take action. What's the point of someone reading your news if they're not going to do something about it? Whether it's as simple as inviting readers to visit your website to learn more, or to sign up for your webinar, it's important to write a clear and compelling call to action (CTA). We wrote this article about developing and writing a great CTA in your press releases. 

Choosing A Press Release Distribution Package

At Online PR Media, we offer multiple distribution packages to meet every need and budget. Our $79 package is our most popular one, as it includes an interactive report so you can see everywhere your news is published, as well as an embedded video and up to three files (extra images, PDFs, or spreadsheets). It also includes review and recommendations from our expert editorial team, so you can be sure you're putting your absolute best foot forward with your online press releases!

Maximizing Your Success

Many online marketers share a common mistake when it comes to digital PR. They set it and forget it. In other words, they invest time to write their press release and money toward syndication only to sit back and wait for their phone to ring. You can avoid this common mistake by thinking of your press release more holistically. Once the PR is published, use your newly won backlinks to further boost customer awareness and response. High quality links from authoritative websites can be used in your email campaigns, e-newsletters, blogs, and social media channels to get more credibility and ultimately more customers.

Online PR Media Is Here To Help

Launching a new home business is an exciting venture - use press releases to tell the world and grow your online presence! Need some help or direction? We're always here. Use the contact form at the bottom of the page, and let's connect.

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How To Maximize Traffic From Your Press Releases

Maximizing Traffic From Your Press Releases
So you've written and distributed an online press release. Woohoo! Now what? Ideally, your customers will read it and take some action like clicking the links and visiting your website. But is your site ready for them? 
While we have always recommended a mix of
anchor text links in press releases that go to your homepage, relevant product/service pages, and supporting content, we haven't really talked strategy for converting the people coming from those links. "Converting" as in, buying something, downloading something, signing up for something, or otherwise taking some desired action. 

After all, isn't that the purpose of your website? To provide something valuable or helpful to visitors so that they will reward you with business? Even if that business isn't cash-money just yet, by signing up for your newsletters, reading your content, or downloading your handy guides, they are getting to know your company, building trust, and keeping you in mind for when they need your product or service.
So now let's get serious about those visitors who are coming to your site from your press releases. They just read something that interested them and they want to learn more - that's great! Instead of just dumping them on your homepage, use this opportunity to send them to a dedicated landing page or show them a specific pop-up offer that relates to your press release topic or call to action. 

Landing Pages

There's a misconception that a landing page is just any page on your website. A landing page is generally not part of your website navigation; a visitor can't come to your website and find a landing page. Instead, they land on these pages from other locations around the internet (i.e. ads, social media posts, press release links, etc.)
Landing pages are very specific. They expand on a single topic - for example, an SaaS company that is promoting discounted renewal pricing for the holidays might create a dedicated landing page that shows the discounts, highlights the benefits, and has an easy form for people to convert (sign up for the offer!). This promotion might not be on their website, but they may promote it as an exclusive offer from a press release or social media ad. Only people coming from those sources will land on the landing page and see this offer. 

Using Landing Pages From Your Press Release Links

Consider these best practices when creating landing pages for your PR links:

  • Use your landing page to go into more depth about the press release topic and/or call to action.
  • Include a form to collect leads and signups. Just be sure to only ask for what you need to make it easy for customers. 
  • Be sure the topic of the landing page actually relates to the press release topic and/or call to action. If a person clicks a link for "exclusive holiday renewal pricing" don't send them to a landing page to schedule a demo. 

UTMs And CRO, Oh My!

In our last post, we shared tips for using UTM tracking codes in your press release links to track engagement with those links. It's particularly helpful for creating targeted pop-ups on your website based on where the traffic is coming from (often called the "referring source"). 
To create pop-ups on your website, you'll need a conversion rate optimization platform. Don't let that sound intimidating. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is simply any strategy that increases the number of people, that do what you want them to do, on your website. Want more people to sign up for your newsletter? That's considered a conversion. So is renewing a software subscription under a holiday pricing plan. It's some action you want visitors to take that you can measure and track -- and that you can ultimately increase using CRO strategies, such as pop-ups. 

Targeted Pop-Ups

Once you've mastered using UTM codes in the links in your press releases, it's time to focus on what to do with that specific traffic once it hits your website. Enter: pop-ups, a pretty powerful CRO strategy!
Great pop-ups work not necessarily because they disrupt the visitor on your website, but because they are timely, relevant and valuable. A great pop-up shows the right offer, to the right, visitor, at the right time. This is why using a pop-up to capture traffic from your press release links with UTM codes is so effective. 

As a quick refresher, to create a UTM code in Google Analytics, go to the Campaign URL Builder. For our holiday software renewal, the UTM parameters could look something like this:
Website URL:

Campaign: "holiday-pricing"

Source: "news"

Medium: "press-release"

Content: "nov-19"

You'll get a custom URL that includes the tracking code. Use this URL in the keyword section when you upload your press release on Online PR Media:

Next, go to your pop-up software and create a new campaign to capture traffic from your press release link. When you get to targeting, you will see an option for "referring source" or "where visitor came from." Click through these options until you are able to paste in the UTM link to indicate that visitors coming from that source or domain should see your pop-up.
What should the actual pop-up contain? 

  • A relevant offer. If you're capturing traffic from the "exclusive holiday renewal pricing" link, your offer should give them a way to secure the pricing.
  • Clear and actionable language.  
  • Attractive design that catches the eye while complementing your website's branding. 
  • A follow-up. Whether you're downloading your leads manually or they are automatically being sent to your email platform, be sure to have an email ready to go to confirm whatever the customer signed up for. 

Here's an example: 

And remember, only the people who clicked on your UTM links from your press release will see this offer. Because they read the release and clicked the link, this pop-up will not only make perfect sense to them, but it will be exactly what they were looking for. It couldn't be more timely or relevant than that!

Want To Maximize Traffic From Your Press Releases?

When it comes to CRO platforms that perform, we recommend our partners over at Picreel. They offer a free 30-day trial - no credit card required. And for a limited time, they're even offering free setup services. Meaning, they will install Picreel on your website, create your first campaign, and launch it on your website. It really doesn't get any easier than that!

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Using UTM Codes To Track Press Release Traffic

Do You Know How To Track Who Clicks On Your Press Release Links? 

Online press releases are an excellent addition to your marketing strategy. They are widely distributed on a variety of news and media sites, they help lend credibility to your company, and they result in numerous backlinks (links on other sites that go back to your website). Of course, the ultimate hope is that your customers will read your press releases, click the links within the release, and visit your website.

But how can you tell if your press releases are directing traffic to your site? And within your press release, how can you tell which links are performing the best? Enter: UTM codes.

What Are UTM Codes?

UTM stands for Urchin Tracking Module. In 2005, Google acquired a company called Urchin Software Corporation. This laid the framework for today's Google Analytics - widely known as the authority on website traffic and engagement analytics (i.e. how well your website is performing, who's visiting it, and what they're doing on your site). 

Essentially, UTM codes are unique website addresses created for websites to tag information about the user who clicked on the link. More specifically, UTMs can help you to understand where your traffic is coming from, as well as how and why it is coming to you. We’ll discuss this in more depth later.

How To Include Tracking Links In Your Press Releases

Online PR Media offers customers an opportunity to insert anchor text links within your press release. These are underlined clickable words that link to a specific webpage. Online PR Media refers to this anchor text as “keywords,” and this is where you will enter your keyword text and associated web address (URL). 

When choosing which words will become your anchor text, it’s important to note that only UTMs linked to a page within your website will be trackable. For example, if one of your keywords links out to the website of a company that you are partnering with, you will not be able to track clicks on this link since the primary URL links to their website - not yours. 

Parts Of A UTM

Before we get into how to create a UTM code, it’s helpful to first understand the different parts of it. The four key components, or “parameters” of a UTM are:

  • Campaign - there are several philosophies to naming campaigns, but most commonly, this should be the name of the piece of content you’re linking to. For example, if you’re linking to a blog about pollution, your campaign name could be something as simple as: pollution-blog. 
  • Source - this shows where the traffic is coming from. This should be a fairly broad category. For example, for a UTM in a press release, you could choose “news” as a source. Other common options are paid, unpaid, organic, CPC, etc.
  • Medium - this describes how the traffic got to you. This would be the subcategory of the Source. For a press release, the medium could be “press-release” or simply “pr”
  • Content - this is not mandatory, but useful to differentiate between sources that are otherwise the same. For example, if your company publishes press releases frequently, you would want to choose a name for “Content” that differentiates it from other press releases. For example, if you publish one press release per quarter, Content may be named 2019-q4-pr

One important consideration before moving forward is that UTMs are an extraordinarily helpful tool - and once you see the value they bring, it’s hard to stop creating them! If you’re generating a decent amount of content, you should consult this article on UTM naming strategies that can help you develop a system that is organized, consistent, and works for you.

How To Generate A UTM

Google makes generating UTMs easy with their Campaign URL Builder. Using the naming strategy described above, we can fill in the parameters to create a UTM for this blog to be used in a November 2019 press release. It could look something like this:

This tool will then generate a UTM in the box below, which looks like this:

Congratulations! You’ve made your first UTM code.

Inserting A UTM Into Your Press Release

This is the easy part! Once you have identified the anchor text or keywords for your press release, you’ll scroll to the Keywords and Anchors section when uploading your release on Online PR Media. In the field labeled Keyword #1, you’ll type the word(s) being used as anchor text. In the corresponding cell to the right, Link #1, you’ll paste the UTM link in its entirety. Because UTMs are long, it may appear to be truncated even though a quick scroll to the right reveals that all the text is present. 

And that’s it! You can generate a separate UTM for up to three other pages you’d like to link to. 
Bear in mind that if you will be linking to the same Campaigns in other media (i.e. sharing the same pollution blog on your Twitter account, or as a guest post on a local conservation group's site), you will need to generate separate UTMs, where Source and Medium should change accordingly. In this way you’ll be able to not only identify which links perform best within your content, but also which form of media receives the most clicks to each of your campaigns.

Interpreting Results From Your UTM Codes
Here’s the fun part: using Google Analytics, you can watch the results come in.

In your Google Analytics Account in the left-hand side bar, click AcquisitionCampaignsAll Campaigns. 

Each of these rows represents a single campaign. This page shows a summary of how many “clicks” each campaign received (regardless of source or medium), as well as some other pertinent stats about user behavior while on your site. 

More information can be gathered about source and medium when an individual campaign is clicked on:

Here we can see that one campaign received 21 users, 19 of whom came from the signature line from company emails, and 21 of whom came from organic posts on Twitter. While further analysis would be required to draw conclusions (knowing how many times the link was posted on Twitter, how long the link appeared in email signature lines, etc.) you can see how these insights can really help shape your future marketing efforts! 
Now that you know how to track traffic from your press releases, we know you're anxious to get started! Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll discuss how to prep your website to maximize traffic from press releases. Think: collecting leads, growing your email lists, and ultimately boosting sales!

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Press Release Template Press Release Template: Announcing A Sale Or Promotion It's Q4 and the holiday shopping season is upon us! While consumers may need to get through trick or treating before getting serious about shopping, for retailers the time to start planning for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the entire month of December is now.   Once you have your holiday sales strategy in place, a press release is a great way to help get the word out. And we've made it simple for you to quickly whip up something with a Press Release Template specifically for announcing a sale or promotion. Use this any time of the year when you have an upcoming special.   

Is Your Sale Newsworthy?

  In short, YES! Many retailers don't think press releases fit into their marketing strategy because their sales or promotions don't seem newsworthy enough. This is where it's important to keep your target audience in mind: shoppers. You're not writing this particular press release for journalists or your board; you're hoping potential shoppers read it. And the types of media sites and publications that are going to pick it up also cater to consumers, not business execs and investors.   So yes, announcing your sale or promotion via a press release is absolutely appropriate!   Also keep in mind that a press release makes your announcement feel more important. If a consumer reads your news as a press releases versus seeing it on social media, they may think it's a big deal. A can't miss sale. Especially if you use the release to announce exclusive offers (in store, online, members only, etc.).   

Don't Stop With A Press Release

  A news release should be a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. We always recommend
promoting your press release on social media and your own website, but you should also use additional channels to promote the sale, including:  
  • Your website
  • Popup offers on your website
  • Retargeting and display ads
  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Direct mail and newspaper circulars
  • In-store signage and fliers 

Find This Template And More On

  We've created a dozen Press Release Templates to make writing press releases a snap. Simply log into your Online PR Media account - or create a new account for free - and click the Resources link from your dashboard.   This is also a great place to start if you want to drum up some news but are stumped on a topic. Whether you've recently released a new product, hired a new manager, or added a user-friendly feature to your website, you can find a press release template for your news on Online PR Media.    Now let's dig into the template for announcing a sale or promotion.   __________________________________________________________________  


  Enter your 3 primary keywords below. You may choose to add longtail keywords as well. Use this area to keep track of your keywords as you use them. Use at least one in the title and at 1-2 in the summary. Use each keyword at least once in the body.   Keyword #1         Keyword #2         Keyword #3         Title – 100 Characters or Less (use 1 keyword, as close to the beginning as possible)   Summary – 175 characters or less (use 1-2 additional keywords)   Paragraph 1 – Announce the sale or promotion in the very first sentence. Clearly state what the offer is (i.e. discount on purchase, free shipping, price match, limited time offer, gift with purchase, etc.) This is your chance to grab your reader's attention, so make the offer sound as exciting and valuable as possible. Use an anchor text link to link your company name to your website’s homepage   Paragraph 2 – Tell readers exactly how to take advantage of the promotion or sale. What dates can they take advantage of the sale? Is it online, in-store, or both? Provide links, codes or instructions, if necessary. Use a bulleted list if step-by-step instructions are necessary.    Paragraph 3 – Describe your products or services being promoted. Clarify whether you're having a storewide sale or if only certain items are on sale. If certain items are being promoted, explain how they benefit your target audience (i.e. you're offering the lowest price of the season on the latest 4K televisions and every purchase comes with a price match guarantee through December 24th).    Paragraph 4 – Include a quote that explains why you’re offering this promotion and the value being provided to customers. (Example: "Holiday window shopping is time-consuming and when you wait too long, inventory may be gone. We're so confident that this is the lowest price you'll find on a 4K TV that we're offering a price match guarantee through December 24th. Find it cheaper and we'll pay you the difference!")   Use the following format for the quote:   “     ,” said [Name of person being quoted], [Title of person being quoted] of [company name] (http://website URL). Make the person’s name an anchor text link linking to their LinkedIn profile, if applicable.   Paragraph 5 – Tell what your company does, what products and services you offer, and any relevant background.    Paragraph 6 – Conclude with a quote that talks about how much you appreciate customers. Emphasize that if there is a favorable response to the promotion, your company will have more sales in the future.    “     ,” said [Last name of person being quoted].   About [Name of Your Company]: [Company name] (http://www. website URL)…. This is your About Us section. This should be your best written “elevator pitch.”   Media Contact: Name Email Address Phone number Website   Anchor Text & Links:   Company name –   Keyword phrase –   Keyword phrase –   Name of person quoted –   Facebook:   link   Twitter:   Link   Video to embed:   Link   Pull Quote:   Select a powerful part of one of your quotes and copy/paste it here. When published it will be “pulled out” into a box and highlighted.  

Your Turn!

  Have you used a press release to announce an upcoming sale or promotion? How effective was it?      
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Holiday Publicity Ideas Holiday Publicity Ideas For Any Business The end of the year is jam-packed with holiday happenings. Is your business leveraging them to gain publicity? You should! From Halloween through Christmas, there are no shortage of ways to get in front of potential customers that are preparing for the holiday shopping season.    Let's take a look at each month in the fourth quarter and give you some ideas for both online and in-store publicity ideas. Take what works for your business and incorporate the ideas into your holiday marketing strategy!   


  The fall season technically runs until almost Christmas, but October is the month that gets all the attention. Here's how to get on board with the autumnal festivities to drum up some publicity for your business:   Host a contest and give away a pair of football tickets. Americans lovvvvve their fall football. If you can snag some tickets and get the word out about the contest, you will get a slew of entries. This works well for local businesses - real estate agents, insurance agents, attorneys, etc. - where there is a strong college football following or an NFL team that plays nearby. This works for online brands, too! As a prize, just change it up to be a football related item, like a season subscription to the NFL Ticket.    What you get: The contact information of everyone that entered. Add them to your email marketing, direct mail, and other strategies for the upcoming holiday shopping season.    Sponsor a fall festival. Whether a community event or a school's fall festival, there is almost always an option to be a sponsor. Most festival committees offer various levels of sponsorship so that you can select one that fits your marketing budget.    What you get: Your name/logo appears on the festival's website, brochure, signage, etc. Go a step further and host a booth at the festival with fun games where you give out branded prizes or coupons for your upcoming holiday promotions.   Host a trunk-or-treat. Today's parents love the convenient new trunk-or-treat concept. Host an event in your business's parking lot. In addition to candy for the kiddos, create a goodie bag for adults with coupons or an invitation to your holiday sale. For online brands, use offer pop-ups to give visitors a special "treat," or even schedule a trick-or-treat weekend where visitors can find surprise offers throughout your site for X% off, free shipping, etc. Hype it up on social and email beforehand for a good turn out!   What you get: Face-to-face relationship building with parents and an opportunity to put marketing materials in their hands.  


  November is when shoppers really start thinking about holiday shopping. Black Friday and Cyber Monday ads and announcements start coming out at the beginning of the month, and consumers are on the lookout for them.    Black Friday pre-sale. This works for both in-store and online retailers. The idea is to entice shoppers in early to beat the rush. Of course, there needs to be a hook. You'll need to make sure your pre-sale prices will be the same as your Black Friday prices. Or, offer a price match guarantee. If shoppers know they won't be able to beat the price, they are more willing to start shopping early.   What you get: Sales instead of window shoppers. At a time when consumers are comparing pricing and preparing for the start of the season, you've convinced them to buy from you with a guarantee that they're getting the best price.   Cyber Monday preview all month long. Shoppers have a love affair with Cyber Monday and the ability to avoid the crowds and shop in their PJs. Start promoting your Cyber Monday deals at the beginning of the month. Each day, post a deal to your social sites, update the banner on your website's homepage, and even consider using popups on product pages letting shoppers know the item is going to be on sale.    What you get: Shoppers scheduling time on your website on Cyber Monday.    Show your customers you appreciate them. Thanksgiving is a time to count your blessings, and your paying customers deserve a heartfelt thank you. Take this opportunity for a softer approach - a true gift of gratitude like a free surprise gift (don't promote it!) with every in-store purchase, chocolate or nuts in the mail, a virtual gift card to someplace other than your business (Starbucks, iTunes, etc).    What you get: Recognition as a brand doing right by their customers and increased loyalty. A true gift and note of appreciation will be more memorable than a coupon to spend more money in your store.   


  It's crunch time! December is THE busiest shopping season of the month. The National Retail Foundation's annual survey found that consumers planned to
spend more than $1,000 during the 2018 holiday shopping season. How do you get a piece of that action?   Give stuff away. Yes, for free. 'Tis the season! People are already shopping in December, so make the incentives good so that they buy from you and not your competitors. Think free gift card when a customer refers a friend, a free gift with $X purchase, etc.    What you get: The sale. Shoppers are constantly looking for the best deal in December. That's not always the lowest price! Offset their cost with free stuff and they will perceive yours as the best deal.    Host another contest. Make this one fun, festive, and social! Create a branded holiday hashtag and have your social followers go on a themed photo scavenger hunt. The prize should obviously be a fabulous free item, gift card, or some other prize worth working for.    What you get: Social media engagement, contact information of contestants, and a holly jolly good time had by all!   Pictures with Santa. Same idea as your trunk-or-treat event. Get those families back out to your business, hire a (great) Santa, serve hot chocolate and cookies, and maybe even pump in some fake snow! This doesn't need to be a hard sell - it could just be another customer appreciation event to keep your brand in mind. Of course, you could go a step further and hire a photographer with instant print capabilities. The parents' free picture of their adorable kiddos would print with a tearaway coupon at the bottom… just sayin'!   Want to boost holiday sales? Start planning now and you could have more publicity than you know what to do with over the next three months!  

Your Turn!

  What promotions do you do around the holidays to increase sales? Do you start in the fall, or wait until the December shopping season hits?   
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