Direct Marketing Article
Not Making Your Sales? Maybe What's Lacking Is
By Marsha Friedman, CEO of EMSI Public Relations
In the world of sales, trust is king.
You can advertise, promote, tweet, post, blog and sell like Dale Carnegie on
steroids, but if you haven't built trust with your potential customer, it's
truly a waste of good resources.
Regardless of what "behavioral research" professionals tell us is the reason
why a consumer takes the leap of faith to make a purchase, I know from my
20-plus years in PR, that trust is one of the most essential ingredients.
And, in today's marketplace, I believe the issue of trust is even more
significant than ever.
Online commerce started exploding more than a decade ago and today the
volume of sales occurring in this marketplace is booming. More books,
consumer products, entertainment, durable goods and electronics are sold
online than ever before. It ranges from the practical, like buying books and
music from Amazon, to the ridiculously impractical, like buying a car off of
eBay. This marketplace is growing and the one simple reality is that people
aren't going to use their PayPal account or credit card to buy something
from a Web site unless they have a sense of trust in the company or product
Trust. That's it and that's all. So, how do you build it?
Assuming that you're selling something that's comparable to your competitor,
the best way to build trust is by educating the consumer. They need to learn
of your knowledge and expertise and gain confidence that what you're
offering can solve their problem or benefit them in some way. This, combined
with the ability to demonstrate your passion and hard work behind your
product, is why PR can deliver best on the promise of trust.
Why is that? Simply put, it's the only tool in the media bag that affords
you third-party verification. With advertising, you buy the space and you
control the message. Consumers know this and understand that an
advertisement is nothing more than a sales pitch. While selling is an
important part of marketing, it does nothing to build trust. But when you
are featured in the media as part of an article, or appear as a guest on TV
or radio, those placements are tacit acknowledgements on the part of the
media that your message and your voice were important enough for them to
feature it as part of their show or as coverage in the news. The Los Angeles
Times may not use the line, "...this book is a must-read," or "...this
product is a cure-all," but their inclusion of you in their news coverage is
enough to help build credibility with their readership.
Moreover, this recognition takes place in a non-sales atmosphere. This is
significant, because it's reflective of the consumers' desire to be
protected from the barrage of advertising and promotion that they feel is
simply aimed at getting your hands in their pocketbooks and wallets. People
don't LIKE being sold, but they LOVE being informed, educated and
entertained. The media presents your message in a way that is comfortable,
familiar and trusted by their audience.
And there's that word again: trust. Regardless of what you do in terms of
advertising, promotion and social media, getting real press coverage needs
to be an essential element of your marketing and promotional efforts. It may
not result directly in loads of sales. However, one thing is for certain,
without trust, your potential for sales will be much slimmer.
About the Author:
Marsha Friedman is a 20-year veteran of the public relations industry. She
is the CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.emsincorporated.com),
a national firm that provides PR strategy and publicity services to
corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. She also hosts a
national weekly radio talk show, The Family Round Table, and is the author
of the book, Celebritze Yourself.