I will start with some point-form notes on using email effectively as
part of a PR/marketing campaign. I have included two case studies
from conferencing services companies as well as one from Cisco
- The one thing to be avoided with email campaigns is 'mailing fatigue'
- This can result in your emails being ignored, at best, or in
generating animosity and annoyance towards your brand
- It is therefore important to limit the frequency of communication
and thus making each opportunity count
- The best way to avoid mailing fatigue is to operate on an 'opt-in'
basis. - Only email those who have given you their address and
explicitly given permission for you to contact them.
- Grow your opt-in list by collecting emails in conjunction with
offering some small free sample/special offer/service/product via a
- Trade shows are also a great opportunity to collect contacts of
people in your industry
- Also, limit sending emails to at least biweekly or weekly
- Ensure that each successive communication contains substantially fresh content
- The best way to attract interest is to combine marketing materials
with useful content, tips, articles
- There are two main approaches to email strategies for customer relations
- Sales Email: overview of your company's offerings
- Directed Newsletters: news as well as industry-relevant content
- One-to-One: tailored communications meant to build relations
between sales consultants and prospects, ideal for B2B companies such
as your own
- Combining sales emails and directed newsletters
- Newsletters can be effective in piquing interest but need elements
of the sales email to communicate offerings to potential customers
- Companies can combine elements of both into a periodic
communication or alternate between newsletters and sales emails
- Case Study: Tarsus Group
- Tarsus Group is an international media group which organizes the
Labelexpo Americas trade show which serves the label and narrow-web
- Tarsus were able to generate a lot of registrations for a trade
show with a carefully planned email campaign of alternating weekly
sales emails and email newsletters
- Began with 'soft' sales pitches, along the lines of 'reserve the date'
- Then, a review of content on the show's website
- Closer to the show date, emails focussed on specific event
highlights, i.e. new exhibitor innovations, conference agenda
- In final weeks, harder sales pitches: calls for pre-registration,
discount dates, reminders to book hotels early
- In final week a friendly 'see you at the show' message
- Traffic to website increased nearly 10-fold after mailings
- Online registrations doubled after first week
- Weekly messages did not result in 'mailing fatigue' with this campaign
- Newsletters were a bit more effective that sales emails
- Use short copy for sales emails, slightly longer for newsletter
- Best to begin campaign about 3 months before a show, synchonize
with offline campaign
- Case Study: Cisco Systems
- Cisco found results from traditional email broadcasts were diminishing
- Also found that contacts trusted the advice of their account executives
- Combined these findings to increase their email campaign response
rates by nearly 1100%
- Used Adaptive Media Messenger, H2F Media's Web services application
- Allowed Cisco account executives to create personalized messages
based on a general marketing template
- Over two dozen templates designed by internal marketing teams and agencies
- Templates contained fixed elements like Cisco logo, and
customizable elements such as text fields or 3D product models
- Response and CTR could be tracked
- Email comes from a trusted sender
- Does not look generic, more likely to be given attention
- Still reflects company's consistent marketing themes
- Personalized performance tracking
- Can generate huge increases in response rate (11-fold in Cisco's case)
- Requires investment of time on behalf of account executives
- Not effective for broadcasting new products/services
- Viral Marketing: A Creative Alternative
- Companies you wouldn't expect are using infectious humor and games
to spread the word about their services
- Basic strategy: design a small, fun Flash game with information
about your business and send to your opt-in list. Recipients will
voluntarily forward it to friends in the industry, getting your
- Case Study: uConference
- uConference was a relatively unknown niche company in conferencing services
- Hired e-tractions to design a flash game around office humour:
- Forwarding the email to others would enhance the game
- Most people forwarded the game four times (the maximum allowed)
- 30,000 referrals, nearly 7,000 new visitors to uConference's site
- 28% click through rate
- High click through rate from people being referred, rather than
original recipients; referal from a friend is more trusted
As a result of the nature of the information regarding the other
points of your question, I have written the rest of the answer in the
form of a verbal presentation so that you could adapt it to PowerPoint
as how you see fit. I have included a number of case studies as well
as links to sources where you may find further information.
Case Study: JammXkids
The marketing agency for the new direct-to-dvd video series called
JammXkids speak of their experience with using a website as part of
their PR campaign. Initially, they didn't see the corporate PR
release and the website as closely linked initiatives, but soon
realied that they were wrong.
"We worked with the PR group to put out a corporate press release--
not the one to the news media, but to industry publications like the
Hollywood Reporter. At the same time we put up a very basic web page,
with just the logo and a contact link."
"Well, most of the response generated since the press release hit has
come via the web site. We've gotten several emails. It's averaging
about 2 per day."
Inquiries have come from both the national and local level, including
a cable network that has expressed an interest in licensing the show
and a restaurant chain who wants The JammXKids to do concerts.
Aso interesting is that the marketer states even if she had known
people would use the website as the primary mean of getting in touch
with the company, she would not put more information up on the site.
"At this stage, it's almost better being elusive. We can make meetings
with people to talk, and shape our presentation around the audience.
People don't get preconceived notions."
While the last part of the JammXkids case really depends on what type
of company or project the website is made for, it does bring up the
question on what consists a good PR page and how to best use your
website for PR.
PR using the website
One potential use for the company website is the online press room, or
press center. This is the part of the Web site that is specifically
targeted to media. Although this section is usually open to everyone,
its purpose is to provide the media with accurate, up-to-date
information on the company. If your company has an active media
relations program at any level, make sure your Web site supports this
effort. Many companies often mistakenly ignore or downplay the
importance of this feature.
Some key points to keep in mind when making the PR page is listed
clearly on the following page:
If you'd prefer, CornerBarPR has a three step process, using an
easy-to-understand analogy that refers to 'picking up guys', for
making your site press-friendly.
Here's an excerpt:
Step One: Working the Scene
Show 'em your package. The media section should include everything:
all news releases, company backgrounders, product and service spec
sheets, executive bios, and downloadable photos. DuPont
(http://www.dupont.com/) is a sexy little number with a visible link
to a News & Media section from their top-level page that includes
daily news items, news releases for the past two years, and speeches
sorted by speaker or by date. They put it on display for the world to
see, and they should have no dearth of dates.
The three steps are explained in a detailed, easy to understand manner
with examples of sites with best practices.
Now that we've aware of the importance of PR through website, and how
to design the PR room, we look at how to attract visitors to your PR
Online PR expert Steven Van Hook recommends attracting visitors with a
"menu of delights". According to Van Hook, serious visitors yearn
for more than just eye candy. They want texture, taste, substance. Of
course they came to learn more about your company but they'll come
back for seconds if you can top it off with a little extra.
"The L.L Bean site provides useful travel information on national
parks. Black & Decker proffers handy home-improvement tips. The Tampax
site shares secrets on health and looking good. Information should be
spooned in appealing bite-sized bits if you want them to swallow. I've
found the writing voice best suited for the Web is a short, snappy
broadcast style; fewer words per sentence, fewer thoughts per subject.
Long blocks of boring black text will be clicked behind in a flick of
the mouse whiskers. And even the best writing is just so much Spam if
it's without something worthwhile to say. "
Phil Libin, president of Corestreet, reluctantly created an online
blog/journal to share his thoughts with the public. The blog was not
too personal, but also not an official statement. Instead, the blog
would fill a public role that complemented CoreStreet's official
"RESULTS: Launched in January 2004, VastlyImportant.com is already a
bigger success than anyone expected, and in more ways than expected.
The blog averages about 1,000 visitors a week, with roughly 120
uniques per day. (Note: this doesn't include CoreStreet staff.)"
You can also use feature articles for marketing and PR. Writing a
feature article about your own product, service, or company is an
excellent marketing techniques that can be used. "Sending the article
to trade, consumer, or business publications that correspond to the
topic can get pages devoted to you at no cost, not to mention the
prestige and recognition brought to the author and company. Why
prestige and recognition? Well, having an editorial piece gives you a
lot more credibility than paid, sponsored advertising. "
The use of the internet in managing PR attacks is still a developing arena.
With the wide reach of the Internet, PR people are becoming the
lightning rod for customers who were having problems with the company
and its products and services. Some PR people take the position that
these complaints and attacks should be ignored. However, the
following case study shows a company that risked losing customers in
droves by not responding to these queries.
Clearly, if there is an attack or a wave of complaints, these should
be addressed properly rather than looking the other way. The best way
to address these problems is not by using email, phone, or any private
two-way communication medium, but to use your website to get your
story across, like a letter.
This site was launched when Martha Stewart was being pursued by the
SEC and then charged with crimes. As well, the website letter should
be part of a consistent PR campaign, in synch with the offline
efforts. Examples and details on how to handle your PR nightmare is
available at the following link:
If you would like elaboration on any part of what I have presented,
please feel free to ask for clarification before closing and rating my
answer so that I may best help you.