Angela Murphy, Electrical Saftey First

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ost electrical retailers are small or medium-sized businesses, serving a

local community. Not surprisingly, they don’t have the money or the resources to undertake big PR campaigns to raise their profile. But the fact is you don’t need a lot of money – or a lot of people – to make your presence felt. Here are a few tips to get you on track. Often, businesses turn to paid advertising to get their name out, rather than using PR techniques aimed at providing free coverage. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand what is meant by public relations – or recognise its benefits or what it involves. It’s about reputation – the result

of what you do, what you say and what others say about you. Using a range of techniques, such as press releases, events and interviews, you can generate interest. Here are a few tips to help those SMEs to raise their profile without spending a fortune. And, while I can’t go into depth here, there are some links for further information and help at the end of this article.

In the beginning Start out by reviewing your current customer base; check out who your competition is targeting; review your products and services to ensure a good fit with your current and potential audience. And then evaluate what you come up with.

Get invloved Local events are a good way of promoting your business and highlighting your commitment to the community. This doesn’t have to involve money – goods in kind or simply attendance at an event can also do the trick. Local papers may want to know

about any activity or event, so if you are fundraising for a charity or holding a special event, a short press release to local media is much more likely to be covered. Particularly if you have an interesting photo to accompany it. Developing a calendar will also help you make the most of

key dates and events. In addition, local radio stations

often want expert ‘talking heads’. It is worth finding out what magazine programmes (i.e. the ‘talking’ shows) are on in your area. Are there any relevant to you? Or is it that time of year when your activities might be of interest? For example, do you specialise in audio visual or recording equipment? Programmes or stations focusing on the local music scene could want your views on relevant new products. Be prepared to think outside the box!

Local radio stations often want expert ‘talking heads’. Find out what magazine programmes are on in your area.

Be a customer resource

Your expertise is key to what you are selling but you can also support and educate your customers by providing them with related useful information. For example, at Electrical Safety First, we have a range of guides to help people use electricity and electrical products safely; information available covers anything from keeping older people safe at home to details on recalled products and how to keep safe in your garden. There are many places with plenty

of information on the various points here – website links below. Do plenty of research and why not also pinch a few ideas from retailers in other industries! tips-for-small-business-owners/ pr-small-business/article/1387001 examples/

Paul Laville, CEO, T21 Group

they often enquire about price, size, brand, colour, spin speed or whatever else. But these are just the kind of things you would find on an e-commerce website’s filter menu, and given that most customers have already researched the products they want online, what’s the point of asking questions they’ve already found the answer to? Besides, if that was all your customers needed to know to make a decision they’d have probably bought it off your website already. So what haven’t they learned from


hen retail sales people are trying to ascertain the needs of their shoppers,

their online research? That’s what sales people need to find out. Also, if you’re asking questions about

the customer rather than the product, not only is it better salesmanship, it also means that you’re giving your c ustomers a personal experience. In your shop, every interaction you have is truly unique. Trust and loyalty can be gained from a website, but it can be gained far quicker, and with longer- lasting effects, from a face-to-face conversation. On the shop floor you can

differentiate from the online experience by digging deep to truly understand what your customer’s buying motivators are and then

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