How to bury your online competitors

What do all direct-to-consumer (D2C) advertisers have in common? Visibility! If you are spending ad dollars to promote a brand, the goal is to earn valuable impressions that will convert to sales. Unfortunately, this also makes these brands susceptible to negative press, an online war with the competition or someone looking to ride the coattails of their ad dollars all the way to the bank.

How can a product marketer ensure their ad dollars are yielding high returns from start to finish? A positive reputation, brand loyalty and management of the brand messages to own the category market share all aid in optimizing advertising campaigns, especially if you plan on transitioning from DRTV to retail.

Outranking your competitors can be achieved by: practicing proper search engine optimization (SEO), proactively engaging consumers on social networks, uploading SEO press releases, and being visible to consumers on a variety of outlets including broadcast, print and digital.

How Can DRTV Marketers Use Publicity in Commercials?

Earning a media placement allows the marketer to use the credibility factor to their benefit. For example, if a PR pitch helps land an article in a popular magazine, then the marketer for that product can mention “As seen in x magazine” in the commercial, much like Proactiv does when they mention Allure Magazine.

Using third-party editorial coverage and strategically placing it in advertisements, your website, or call center script helps to present the credible product affirmation to increase conversions either via phone or online.

Tracking PR

Using Google Analytics, the marketer can see what editorial media placements, SEO press releases or social media platforms are driving the highest volume of traffic to the websites. SEO press releases also allow the marketer to see the total number of impressions, reads and interactions, including clicking on an optimized keyword or by clicking on an embedded 2-minute video.

Press Releases to Boost SEO

SEO press releases are similar to traditional press releases in that they provide newsworthy information, except optimized releases are generally used for highlighting keywords, such as the company name or product name, as well as the key benefits. The press release will highlight about five keywords that are directly related to the product or service and these are the words that will be linked from Google keyword searches to the release. This is good for developing positive online content for new companies and gaining more public awareness or simply burying your competition online.

Now, more than ever due to consumer utilization of search engines, both consumers and media are viewing online press releases. Therefore, a company wishing to gain consumer interest is encouraged to use a press release as yet another method of communication. A PR firm can also link to a website, or include a photo, company logo, or video to a SEO press release.

Establish the Tone

When the social media, customer service and executive teams of a company work together to help their customers, the result is retention and new business opportunities. The world is now in a society where anger, frustration, apprehension or happiness can be expressed in 140 characters or less, yet heard by millions. It’s important to constantly monitor what is being said about a product, service, brand, company or person. This will not only help companies stay on top of what is being said and heard but also assist them in being better customer service agents and retain consumer interest.

Social Media: Convert Buzz into Bucks

In today’s consumer-driven world, social media is a vital area for D2C product marketing. Where is your product on a social map? What comes up when you Google the name of your product? Evaluating the status of your reputation and managing it towards a positive reputation prevents you from losing money. An active online presence creates a proactive reputation; make sure your online troops are awake.

As referenced in the May 2012 issue of Electronic Retailer Magazine, fitness product marketer BeachBody experienced that as much as DRTV has been the main driver toward generating advertising sales from the company’s DVD sales, the Internet has been a critical component in sustaining customer loyalty and generating priceless word-of mouth.

Positive Consumer Reviews = Larger PO’s at Retail?

In moving towards a positive reputation, PR can help improve consumer review ratings of products in retail to increase sales. A baby product company, for example, received just a few negative reviews leaving them with a below acceptable rating. To keep their product in a national big box retail store, a public relations company can help add to the positive reviews to raise ratings while increasing sales and keeping a product in store.

To make PR for DR a success, be sure to establish clear, measurable goals and hit those marks throughout the campaign.

Lindsey Carnett is CEO and President of Marketing Maven Public Relations, Inc., a bicoastal PR and marketing firm with offices in Los Angeles and New York. Specialties include lifestyle, health, Hispanic marketing and social media campaigns for household Direct to Consumer products. Carnett can be reached via email at Lindsey@marketingmavenpr.com or via phone at (310) 994-7380. For more information, visit www.MarketingMavenPR.com