What independent businesses should be doing right now

Whether your business is hurt or helped by this pandemic, you’re likely experiencing unprecedented spikes or dips. While this article is aimed at home businesses, much of the advice shared by Media Relations Founder and CEO Lonny Kocina is relevant to any independent business right now.

Media Relations Agency has stayed strong through recessions and post-9/11 by helping our clients navigate marketing environments that can be downright scary. In addition to cutting expenses, Lonny advises businesses to communicate with customers and employees twice as much as usual. “Customers need to feel your presence more than ever and employees will assume the worst if you are not talking to them,” he says in this article. 

We’ve seen a dramatic uptick among clients of all sizes asking us for help writing content for blogs, newsletters and social channels. We’re also doing much more designing and sending newsletters for our clients than ever before. This is a healthy mix of B2B and B2C communications. If you’re not sending newsletters, now is the time to give them serious consideration. 

Lonny also describes the pros and cons of using all of the promotional channels, now that personal selling is pretty much off the table for the next month or two.

  • Publicity: Media coverage is a powerful promotional tool as it provides ample time to explain the product, wide reach and it delivers a message that is generally trusted by the consumer. But you do give up some control over that message. 
  • Websites: These give you a place to sell your product or service, and ample bandwidth needed to tell your product’s story. However you will likely need to use media coverage to drive people to your website. 
  • Social Media: Social posts reach customers on a conversational level but they aren’t as good as a salesperson for building rapport. 
  • Advertising: Today, ads can be both inexpensive and highly targeted. However, the message is often short and it’s easy to be skeptical of an ad. 

Interest in other sales strategies such as setting up and managing Amazon stores is spiking.

Lonny also advises, “It’s good to have the basic marketing concepts down pat so you can make intelligent marketing decisions. Many marketers ride the wave in good times without fully understanding what underpins good marketing.”  

Lonny’s bestselling book, “The CEO’s Guide to Marketing outlines a results-driven SAM 6 system that is designed to bring structure to your marketing program. He explains why entrepreneurs/small business owners should read it now. “I remember the scary times when my business went through downturns. I believe my book is the most practical marketing book ever written and it’s worth reading. It’s not the panacea but high sales solve all problems and good business books are an entrepreneur’s best friends.”

We also offer a free SAM 6 implementation companion manual and other complimentary SAM 6 tools on our website.

Written by Heather Champine

Heather is a multi-faceted leader. She’s part marketing strategist, part consumer psychologist and part motivational cheerleader. “I love understanding what drives people to take action, especially when it involves getting the media to run stories about our clients,” she says. With more than 20 years of experience, she has the keen understanding and insight to know how to run an integrated campaign and what it takes for our clients’ stories to become the news. She enjoys leading campaigns for complex industries such as medical devices and technologies, as well as fun industries such as hair salons. She thrives on pursuing creative ways to educate consumers about clients’ products, and ultimately inspiring them to buy. “I appreciate becoming a part of each client’s marketing team. I cherish the long-lasting relationships, and successful marketing programs we have created together.” Heather also finds joy in her daily collaborations as part of our creative team. “I am grateful to work with publicists, writers, designers and other marketing experts, all enjoying what they do because they are using their God-given strengths. Our publicists have great instincts because they all have media backgrounds. When things get hectic, it’s often Heather who cracks the first joke. “We encourage people to be a little goofy and unique. Some of the best ideas and solutions emerge because we know how to have fun,” she grins. “I may say something like, “Remember this is PR not the ER. Now, lighten up and go book a great story idea with the media!”

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