Brands Doing Societal Good Drive More Purchases

Think an engaging site and great customer service are the only factors customers take into consideration when making a purchase? Think again. Brands who contribute to their community and society drive more purchases than those who don’t. Edelman, a public relations company, found that in 2012, buyers considerably redoubled their focus on buying from brands engaged with society. 62 percent say giving back makes their companies more successful in the long run, according to a 2012 study by the National Federation of Independent Business. Here’s customer insight and a few ways to promote your good deeds to get you started on the right foot in 2013.

Buyer Insight

While encouraging employees to volunteer and hosting fundraising events are great places to start, consumers want to see businesses really give back. They also found that donating profits or services came in neck-and-neck as the favored methods. Less direct initiatives like encouraging employees to volunteer and collaborating with other companies ranked lower on the totem pole. Three-quarters of respondents worldwide said they would recommend a product from a company that supported a good cause, and the same number would share a positive opinion of that company.

  • Nearly half of those who bought from cause-supporting brands in 2012 said they did so monthly.
  • 53 percent of internet users said that when quality and price were the same, brands that had a social purpose were more likely to trigger a purchase.

Marketing Your Efforts

Just because you’re giving back doesn’t mean your audience is taking notice. While your business may be able to market its efforts through an email newsletter campaign or an article in a paper, there are other ways you can make prospects and customers aware. Marketing your community outreach and efforts means making the most of what you have and getting customers or clients involved.

  • Use social media. Offer to make donations based on the activity of others on your social media post. Whether it’s for each new “Like”, follow or repin, let your audience know you’ll donate up to a certain amount. You’ll gain more brand awareness, give back and be more appealing to prospects.
  • Have a widget on your website. Subtly promote your efforts with a widget. One example is Sweet Tooth. When their widget was clicked, a customer could choose to share charitable actions on Twitter in exchange for an additional donation to the charity.
  • Allocate resources. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t send holiday gifts. Send donations to a foundation or organization your business supports. Then, let clients know where you’re donating and why. You may find a better response than anticipated.

Give back to your community and watch your business benefit. Get customers involved to see the best ways your charitable efforts can help your business flourish. Make sure to market what you are doing effectively so you can determine the balance of time and financial investment against the results. Find a way to give back that aligns with your business, customers and can be easily and effectively marketed. Here’s to giving back in 2013!


(Image source: eMarketer)

Catch a Sneak Peak from Netflix When Marketing Your Business

For anyone who has been living under a rock lately, Netflix is giving marketers a lesson in how to take a really good product and essentially play Russian Roulette with it . The advice to B2B marketers is quiet simple, don’t be too quick to entirely duplicate the Netflix sales and marketing plan of recent months or your efforts to script a successful business plan could get shot down.

In the event you have not been staying up to date on the soap opera that is “As the Netflix Turns,” here’s a look at some of the data:

Netflix’s third quarter reportings include:

  • Drops in domestic streaming subscriptions, DVD subscriptions, unique domestic subscription
  • 810,000: Subscriber losses in the U.S.
  • Declines in operating margins

Now don’t for a second think that Netflix is closing up shop and laying everyone off anytime soon.

The company, which has been tremendously successful for the most part, reported its profits went from $38 million in Q3 2010 to $62.5 million for the same time period in 2011.

Despite those numbers, Netflix stubbed its toes earlier this year with its now infamous announcement to raise prices and make customers who wanted both DVDs and online streaming to have to pay for a pair of plans instead of one. The proposed plan would have led to Qwikster, which died a quick death.

Needless to say, the outrage over such a move meant countless subscribers saying they would not renew their plans. The fallout from the proposed split and price increase led to the company doing spin control in a variety of mediums, including on its company blog.

According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, “We think that $7.99 for unlimited streaming and $7.99 for unlimited DVD are both very aggressively low prices … and they are the right place for Netflix to be in the long term. What we misjudged was how quickly to move there … Our primary issue is many of our long-term members felt shocked by the pricing changes, and more of them have expressed that by canceling Netflix than we expected.”

So as a B2B marketer, what exactly can you learn from the decisions of Netflix as of late?

Among the things to consider are:

  • Any major price changes should be well thought out, especially during these financial times;
  • Communication with your base is important. While you’re not going to ask customers if they’d like a raise in fees, float it out there that your costs are rising, i.e. what can we possibly do to avert passing these along to you. There could be an amicable trade-off of services/costs in order to make everyone happy;
  • Do as much market research/surveys before pulling a major move like Netflix did with wanting to split off services. Feedback AHEAD of time from customers would have shown them that this was truly a bad idea;
  • Use social media to dispel any rumors, any incorrect facts or statements etc. It seems Netflix was late to the party when it came to defending itself on different SM platforms when all heck broke loose;
  • Market with the idea that your competitors will very likely take advantage of a negative situation you’re putting yourself in, so how will you be ready to deal with that?

Any price increases or major alterations to product and/or service, both too much and too fast, are bound to come back and get you.

In fact, they could cause people to leave in the middle of your production. Tell us how you’ve handled price changes in your business.

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SEO Tips from PR Experts: How to Optimize Your Next Press Release and Drive More Traffic to Your Site

[ Ed: We are excited to feature Verse Communications, a Los Angeles based public relations firm, as our newest guest blogger. To learn more about Verse Communications, click here.]

SEO.  Google these three letters and you will find approximately 136 million results.  What does it mean, and more importantly, how does it translate to your business?  Simply put, search engine optimization means learn some basic algorithmic tips and you will generate more awareness for your business, increase search results and hopefully see an uptick in web traffic and lead generation.  When it comes to the public relations side of SEO, and related tactical initiatives such as issuing a press release, SEO can play a critical role.  There is a lot on the Web that delves into verbose detail regarding SEO and how it should be applied to your PR efforts, specifically press releases.  Unfortunately, too much information can sometimes be overwhelming, specifically to a small business owner who barely has enough time to execute their daily operations, let alone focus on the PR side of their business. 

Fear not, we have some basic search engine optimization tips to help make your company’s press release ‘pop’ a bit more, and it will only take you a few extra minutes.  Once you determine what the news is you are writing about (and make sure your press release is just that, newsworthy), here are key search engine optimization tips to embrace when fine tuning for that maximum impact.


For starters, your press release headline is the single most important piece when it comes to SEO.  Your Company name and the press release headline is the page title that search engines use to identify your release as an actual Web page, and in effect, rank you in search results. Make sure that header speaks directly to your news in a compelling, clear and concise manner (that is also what people will view when search results come up).  Use no more than 80 characters, with key words leading the way.

If you need another line to add more detail, write a sub-headline that also incorporates just a few key words (again, the most relevant words relating to the core of the release).  Also use keywords in the first sentence of the initial paragraph and throughout the body content of the release.  Note, do not repeat key words more than two or three times.  Otherwise, those slinky search engines will mark your release as dreaded spam.

Anchor texts

Provide readers with an easy way to get more information by using anchor text(aka hyperlinking a word to a specific URL). This achieves two critical objectives: 1) allows you to link out to more detailed information without making your release too verbose; and 2) has enormous potential to increase overall SEO for the site you are promoting (namely your own).Some additional things to keep in mind when playing that algorithmic game of SEO: Keep your overall press release compelling and focused.  Only write about the core news you want to convey, and do so in a clear and concise manner.  This is not a document to write narrative.  Review each and every word on the page and make sure it meaningfully adds something to your news.  If you are not sure how to accomplish this, consult a PR expert.

  • Your overall press release should not exceed 500 words.  Search engines spider the first 300 – 500 words on a page.
  • Write out full URL’s to important sites  
  • Build important back links by linking relevant keywords that support your message to deep, specific pages of Web sites

Now that you know how to write a press release that can increase its visibility and improve the position of your site’s overall search engine ranking, it’s time to distribute it.  Remember, news writing should be short and to the point.