Why Clips Matter

By: Margo Pierce

More than 100 million people go online to research a company, product or service before they spend a single penny. That means these savvy shoppers, whether for business or personal needs, are probably checking you out before they pick up the phone or send an e-mail.

Marketing research shows that Baby Boomers (people born 1946-1964) number 77.2 million and 30 percent of those are regular online users. Generation X (born 1965 – 1979) number 83.3 million and are the most active online users. Generation Y (born 1980 – 1994) are 70.4 million in number and are the “most embedded” in social media.

This staggering number of Internet users includes some portion of your customer base – a fact you can’t afford to ignore.

The Impact of a Clip

Considering that 73 percent of adults now use Internet to research and find businesses and 92 percent do their research before going to the store, you need to know how these potential customers learn and how they will obtain the information.

Most will likely use a search engine to find your Web site and any customer reviews or comments. If that search brings back a social networking conversation about how much your current customers like your product and a blog post about your excellent customer service, that will have the potential to increase sales. Negative comments are equally important, but for other reasons.

If the source is a business journal or local newspaper, the credibility of that publication adds strength to the perspective offered. Social networking content is as valuable as the “over the back fence” recommendation made by a neighbor. Regardless of what people are saying and writing, a business owner needs to be aware of this valuable cyber-media resource in order to leverage the positive and do damage control on the negative.

How Clips Can Help Your Sales

Being aware of the “buzz” about your company means you will be better prepared to promote, sell and address concerns about your produce or service when you finally get to talk to a potential customer. Keeping track of the competition is also a helpful way to develop new ideas to augment a sales pitch or find ways to build up the benefits of your offerings. Even your Web site can benefit from this media intelligence.

If a potential customer goes straight to your Web site, she can find those glowing comments from unbiased sources. Better than a canned referral from a “satisfied customer” written specifically for you, clips about your company show potential customers that independent, credible sources have good things to say.

The electronic version of a print-edition newspaper article that is partly reprinted on your site and linked back to the original source creates an opportunity to prove the claims you make about the quality and benefits of your product or service. They can also attest to the character of your business by showing your commitment to community involvement when an article focuses on your involvement in a local charity event or contributions to a local food bank.

Now What?

In order to take advantage of the power of media mentions – Web clips, TV clips and print clips – its important to develop a strategy for how these clips will be found, preserved and utilized within your company.

Simply handing a four-color, glossy copy of a newspaper article to a sales representative isn’t going to close a deal. But that same article can be posted to your Web site and added to your Facebook page, the headline Tweeted to your existing clients and the content of the article worked into a sales pitch. Doing all before it’s handed to the potential customer in an electronic or paper sales packet gets the most mileage out of your media mention.

There also needs to be a way to stay on top of the most current information being circulated and archiving that valuable material. Having one article that’s two years old isn’t going to carry as much impact as a long list of positive articles and comments over the course of a year. Ongoing access to those articles and mentions can be difficult when Web sites and blogs are updated hourly – a commitment to preserving and consistently collecting the information is essential.

Finally, make sure everyone in your company understand the value of clips. Media mentions are only valuable when they’re leveraged properly. The value of clips is best explained in this way: which is more likely to persuade a customer to choose you over the competition – an ad you place in a publication or an article that sheds a favorable light on your company, staff or services?

Answer: Clips are cheaper than advertisements and they have a much greater impact.

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Margo Pierce, author of The Complete Guide to Wills, Estates & Trusts: What You Need to Know Explained Simply (Atlantic Publishing, 2008), is an award winning freelance writer with over 300 articles in print in newspapers and magazines across the United States and Canada. A 2009 Peter Jennings Fellow with The Peter Jennings Project for Journalists and the Constitution, Margo also received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and was a finalist for the 2008 Richard J. Margolis Award. Margo also has more than a decade of professional experience in marketing, communications and public relations with for-profit and non-profit organizations. www.writerdiva.com

One Comment

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    24 Nov 2010 |