PEMBROKE, Mass. — Companies hire public relations (PR) companies to obtain publicity, to build community goodwill, and to cast one’s firm in the best light possible.
Fees easily run in the thousands of dollars, even for solo-employee firms. Certainly, that is more than you want to spend.
But, with a little ingenuity, you could be your own PR agency. And nary would any money flow out of your coffers.
Yes, it is another hat you would wear, but the derived benefits in terms of greater recognition could be well worth the effort.
As you may remember, the first tool of PR is local newspapers, as described in Part 1.
The second tool of PR is the Internet.
You can probably get the e-mail addresses of your customers (simply by asking them), but you also want prospect e-mails. So actively seek out this information.
If your route people solicits business, they should try to obtain e-mails. Your “lost customer” list will provide additional e-mails. Possibly friends in business have their customers’ e-mails and would let you use their list.
Although it is true that many e-mails are deleted, there still is a way to get to prospects: through humor.
Make them laugh and they’ll listen to you. Start with a headline, like, “Deleting this is bad for your clothes.”
Or start with a funny cartoon involving a dry cleaner, like a cleaner opening up in a nudist colony.
Then deliver your message in two or three sentences, like these examples:
“Do you know that we are the only dry cleaner in town that delivers five days a week?”
“If we can’t remove the stain, we won’t charge you.”
“Engle’s Cleaners has a four-part checklist to make sure that we never make mistakes.”
Of course, the message is replaced from time to time.
Getting prospects to look at your messages is excellent PR, and can’t help but bring you more accounts.
The third tool of PR is becoming a public figure.
Get involved in the community. Be on the town finance committee. Join a club. Volunteer to help out at church fairs. Be Santa, or be the dunking target at the spring fair.
Mention your drycleaning business whenever the opportunity arises.
When interviewed, come back to dry cleaning by saying something like this: “You know, I built my drycleaning business by doing the little extras, by going the extra mile, by working with the customer, and that’s been the golden rule by which I live today.”
A little hokey, but it is effective because it gets you known as a good guy in the community.
Never miss a local event. Enter a float in a local parade. Be a volunteer whenever you can.
Do all this, and you’ve accomplished everything a PR person could do for you — and you get this goodwill free.
To read Part 1, go HERE.