Wasted money on PR guy...need help figuring what's next

22 replies
So I started up an herbal dietary supplement company recently and hired a PR freelancer for 4 months now. I'm on a bootstrapper's budget but felt convinced that getting in press/media was the way to getting the company out there. I also felt that with a PPC or gimmicky-looking sales letter, I would be ruining the company image I want to be putting out there (since it is a socially-conscious business too).

Right now I realized I have f'ed up to say the least. Almost 20% of my budget has gone to this PR guy to no avail and a grand total of 2 sales since January.

I'm letting the PR guy loose after this month, and I'm about to hire a copywriter for a sales page. I then want to do Google Adwords to draw attention to this page. I really need to do this as best as possible to get sales coming in, but before I do I'd prefer everyone's opinion here. You guys obviously know the best ways to bring in attention/sales asap, and what I've done under my own guidance clearly hasn't worked in the past.

Is the sales letter/Adwords my best plan of action now, or are there better ideas out there?

#adwords #figuring #getting sales #guyneed #money #sales letter #startup #traffic #wasted
  • Profile picture of the author zuberr
    Do you have a fanpage on Facebook already?

    Think of a way to make your website go viral on social media sites. It builds a sense
    of trust when something is recommended by someone you know.

    Maybe a contest of some sort?
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  • Profile picture of the author TheArticlePros
    Sayan, as much as I hate leaving short answers, if you drop down to the Copywriting forum and the CPC/AdSense/etc forum, you will get much higher-quality answers to your questions. You might also find people who can copywrite for you and help you to manage your campaigns.

    -- j

    Posting About Life & Video Games:

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  • Profile picture of the author sayan1014
    @zuberr I have a FB page but the likes are just some of my friends. I think I've only had 1 like that was brought about by itself. I'm keeping the FB page there for now but honestly since I have limited time (I have a full time job too), I'd like to focus on one form of marketing.

    @Jay thanks, will post there as well...on that note, with my budget is it worth hiring someone to manage the campaign or is it possible to learn the process well myself in say a month?

    @Ken didn't know about the quality score issue...is there a way around this, or is it just simpler as you've mentioned to use the content network.

    Time is working against me unfortunately so I have to speed this process up as much as possible. I have loan and insurance payments monthly meaning I need sales asap or I'm out of business in December. Any tips to get started with paid ads and get my sales letter converting asap?

    Feedback has been great already and any more ideas pushing me in the right direction would be great!
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    • Profile picture of the author TheArticlePros
      Originally Posted by sayan1014 View Post

      @Jay thanks, will post there as well...on that note, with my budget is it worth hiring someone to manage the campaign or is it possible to learn the process well myself in say a month?
      My answer to questions like this for years has always been "yes!!!" Here lately, after watching and reading this forum and a few other forums, I'm backing off of my enthusiasm a little bit as I have realized that not all people are created equally when it comes to learning things.

      Based on what I've had time to read over in the PPC forum, I'm sure that I could learn and start running successful campaigns in a month or so using any network that I could find. I don't know if I'd be hitting grand slams with the knowledge at first, but I know I could break even and start turning a profit pretty quickly, so I wouldn't "waste" money hiring someone.

      You have to assess your available time and skill set, though, to see if you think you would be capable of it as well. If one of those factors is lacking, then you may well do better by hiring someone.

      -- j

      Posting About Life & Video Games:

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    • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
      Originally Posted by sayan1014 View Post

      I'd like to focus on one form of marketing
      I know how tough it can be to balance everything (especially when you have a full-time job to contend with, too!), but by only focusing on 1 type of marketing, you're putting all of your eggs in one basket -- and that's never a good idea.

      The first thing you need to do is get your site in order. Without an intelligent, authoritative site, all of the ads in the world aren't going to convert. If I were you, I'd avoid some gimmicky sales letter and focus on how your products/services benefit people. Forget the hype, the red exclamation points, and the big bold guarantees, and just be honest. (just my $0.02 )

      You may also want to start a blog. It's a great way to establish yourself as an expert (and with a niche like yours, I'm sure there's no shortage of things to write about). Plus, every time you update it, you'll get "credit" with the search engines for updating your entire site. Remember, the search engines love sites that frequently get updated with quality content. If you don't have the time to do it all yourself, you can outsource the writing -- so that all you have to do is copy/paste the finished product and hit "publish".

      Once you've got the site taken care of, move off-site. PPC probably offers the most immediate traffic. I used it when I first started... I gave myself a $10 daily budget and told myself I would only use PPC until I could build up my SEO and start to generate "free" traffic. It took 2 or 3 months, and I haven't had to use it since. At $10 a day, I didn't have a ton of ads, but I was lucky enough to get a few bigger clients out of it that at least paid the ad bills!

      In the meantime, look for guest posting opportunities in your niche. Again, if you don't have the time to write the posts yourself, hire a writer to do it. That way, you'll build some decent backlinks (but, more importantly, get your name, your link, and your expertise out in front of targeted traffic). There are a couple of free sites that provide great guest blogging resources -- Ann Smarty's MyBlogGuest and Cathy Stucker's Blogger LinkUp. Luckily, even just 1 great guest post can spread like wildfire and bring you a ton of traffic. Publish them on a consistent basis, and you'll see a massive traffic boost.

      Since you've already got it up, keep up with the Facebook Fan Page (post all of your latest blog posts, links to your guest posts, interesting tidbits, etc.) You won't see a ton of success overnight from it, but it's something that can build slowly but surely.

      It may seem like alot, but once you get a strategy in place, it's really not that hard. Hope it works out!!
      Sick of blending in with the crowd? Ready to stand ahead of the pack? The right content writing services can get you there...
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  • Profile picture of the author zuberr
    I am not an expert copywriter, but in my opinion, you should test at least
    2-3 versions of your salesletter to determine which one works best for you.

    I understand you don't have much time available, but if you have a budget,
    maybe you can drive highly targeted traffic to each version of your salesletter
    quickly with Adwords. Be cautious with Adwords though, choose the right
    keywords to target.

    Sometimes, small changes in your salesletter can greatly increase or decrease
    conversion. So, test!

    All the best.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
    I know that the PR guy mentioned by the OP might differ from press releases (and blasts) but they quite often seem to be performed by people asking for a lot of money without delivering any results.

    Sorry to say but Press Releases seem to be the new gimmicky way for people to get ripped off by some guy or even company just spamming the internet and building backlinks. This is what they call a press release?? Some of these people should get off their @** and do actual work.

    I recently hired PRWeb to do a blast for my new book and the results were appalling. I could have gotten way more clicks/visitors with a Twitter blast of my own or buying a couple of $5 gigs from Fiverr.

    If all it takes for a PR company is to blast out your press release to 30,000 people (or so they claim) - heck I can do that and I would only charge a fraction of what these goons are charging.

    And the worst part... some lady from PRWeb calls me on the phone and tells me that the reason why it's not performing well is because I need to "buy more of their services" That I should do a blast twice a month (that equals to me spending over $300 a month). No thanks.

    PRWeb might work for some people but def not for me. Pure hype and no results.

    Sorry I got caught up in my own rant, haha.

    My best advice is to grow your company organically with SEO first by writing quality articles into your website and also spreading them out into other websites with value. Compete for some key words and slowly build up your fan base with an optin-box.

    Don't attempt buying PPC ads unless you really know the process inside and out, and you run tests first.

    Lot's of good advice has been given by others here.

    Best of luck.
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    • Profile picture of the author wordwizard
      From what I can tell, PR should be just one part of what you're doing. It can really help with backlinks, and it can also get SOME visitors to your site.

      I've found it quite helpful for certain lead generation projects, but not so much for selling stuff.

      What's on your site is important too. Do you have a high quality free or low cost offer that will entice people to sign up for, say, your newsletter, so you can continue to build a relationship with them and market to them?

      I wouldn't spend ANY money on PR until all that's in place, and working well.

      Also, making sure your copy is good should come way before you drive traffic to the site...

      One more... have you thought of using teleseminars to promote your site/page/product. None of these bring huge numbers, but everything helps you build that presence and reputation.

      FREE Report: 5 Ways To Grow Your Affiliate Income

      Let Me Help You Sell: Sales Letters, Email Series, Pre-Sell Reports... PM me & we'll talk!
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      • Profile picture of the author sayan1014
        @wordwizardI have the fill in box for the newsletter but its just 'there' not with an offer or anything. Do you guys recommend the pop up boxes?

        @Christiani yea the Pr guy did some press releases and also reached out to media like magazines, etc and got a few articles credited to us. Nothing was prominent enough though to impact traffic

        @zuberr I've been reading up on copywriting and definitely will be using a few different headlines and changing small things. One thing I saw somewhere that I liked was changing to the active tense by just adding an 's' to a word.Gives for example is more powerful than just give. I don't understand really how to choose keywords with Adwords. There are so many and it seems confusing to knock it down to good ones. any tips?

        The major issue is also traffic in general. I feel like no one is even getting a chance to view the site and product offer with just 300 or so views per month.
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  • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
    I think you should check out solo ads. Since you don't really know your conversion rate yet, you can't pay a lot, but you may find one or two programs in the WSO or JV subforums that will meet your needs. Guaranteed clicks from targeted buyers can be much better than PPC.
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    • Profile picture of the author Pungku
      I need help with my new mineral makeup site. I need PR and other white hat traffic generation techniques.
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  • Profile picture of the author Thomas Michal
    Sign up for Commission Junction.

    If you want a quick read about doing PR by yourself buy this book:

    Amazon.com: Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to...Amazon.com: Dirty Little Secrets of Buzz: How to...
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  • Profile picture of the author SkillDan
    In my 30+ years of successful marketing, I've come to the conclusion that just about any marketing tactic can be successful or a complete flop, depending upon how much effort/money you put into it.

    Rather than point you to the "next best thing" to sink your money into, let me address your question about publicity.

    Publicity CAN be a great tool. I have generated massive sales from publicity. That stated, you can lose every last dollar, paying somebody else to do your publicity for you.

    My experience is that if you want great publicity, you MUST have a good story to tell. Not sure what your pubicity guy was doing for you, but if you were just doing press releases about "Company X launches New Product" or something boring like that...nobody cares.

    Regardless of what marketing avenue you utilize, you must have a great story to tell, and be sure to answer the "Who Cares?" question. That one piece of advice can make all the difference between success and failure.

    Regarding publicity...you do not need to hire some pricey publicity guy. You can learn how to draft your own press releases and communicate directly with reporters and bloggers.

    I own a database of almost every media outlet in the U.S. and send out press releases for free, whenever I want.

    You can do the same thing. PM me and I'll point you where to get the database (cost about $400, as I recall), and the other tools you need. Then you'll never spend another dime on some publicity guy.

    My last FYI on publicity: My experience is that the online services PR Web, etc. can be good to get you some activity (assuming you have a good story to tell), but my personal experience is that if I am reaching out directly to reporters with a good story, I tend to get much better results (and sales).

    Hope this helps!

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  • Profile picture of the author JimMichael
    Believe me, you can't get good PR on a bootstrap budget.

    We charge a lot for our services, because good PR doesn't come for anything near free!


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    • Profile picture of the author rhinocl
      Originally Posted by JimMichael View Post

      Believe me, you can't get good PR on a bootstrap budget.

      We charge a lot for our services, because good PR doesn't come for anything near free!
      You don't hear enough about this. People think you can get good PR written and distributed for $32. I went to a workshop, followed the directions and wrote my first PR piece.. Sent it out through free services. The local PR master got his piece re-published 400 times. Mine- less than one.
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  • Profile picture of the author igl0w
    try ranking for generic terms and product names, will be better than PR guy
    #1 SEO REVIEWS and FREE METHODS BLOG - delivering quality posts since 2009
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
    What I am wondering is... since when did spamming become anonymous with a Press release?

    If I pay good money to one of these professional PR companies I don't care if they send it to 30,000 people or not. I would much rather have then send them to a well targeted group of 5,000 (or even less) with a follow up, or maybe even two.

    Instead of me getting phone calls that try to get me on the hook for $370 monthly for sending out a blast twice a month. And when I try to bring up certain points on the press release performance, all I get is the line: "Oh I'm just a sales lady, you need to talk to someone else."

    Anyways, my advice to anyone is to save your money and do as much as you can for yourself, or get a assistant from the Philippines first. Good luck.
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  • Profile picture of the author robertwin45
    Normally, ppl don’t like any investing strategy that costs a lot of money. However, I totally agree that it's hard to gain success with bootstrapper's budget.
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  • Profile picture of the author sammib01
    I agree with Christiani and Beckett. You should do SEO the right way and you should make sure your website is professional and effective.

    Free offers are always good and will get you a mailing list but you have to get people to find your site first. You could try Affiliiates on different plattforms they only earn money when they make a sale so it is no cash upfront.

    Social Media is always good. Get a Facebook Fan page going and do a few product and Branding videos and put them on YouTube, also get something going on Twitter and possibly Pinetrest. People will find you and it will get them to your website.

    Adwords and/or Adsense can get expensive quick if you do not have expierience "BE CAREFULL" using them and set your budgets low as well as your bids. Do not loose the farm on them.

    Try to find partners who offer simular but nocompetative products/services and work together with them. They get space on your website and you get space on thiers. This could work well.

    Also checkout what the competition is doing, especially the big guys and follow what your budget will allow. You can find out where they have thier backlinks using Market Samurai, Traffic Travis or something simular and go after the same backlinks or relevent simular sites.

    Make sure you are listed in the right places for your industry and find people who will put you on thier list or even do ads for you as Affiliates on thier site. You would be suprised how good this works. Just do a little keyword research and Google the words you find individually and checkout the websites. Many are struggling and are in the same position you are, together you are stronger and have a much larger reach for your target groups. I believe this would be the best way.

    Hope this helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author sayan1014
    You guys/gals are awesome. Thanks so much for the tips and nudges in the right direction. It's a big help for us newcomers!
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  • Profile picture of the author James Foster
    I'm surprised no one has mentioned creating your own affiliate or wholesale program.

    Set it up with someplace like CJ.com and let affiliates who already know how to drive traffic do the heavy lifting for you.

    Then all you need to do is have a copywriter track and test conversions.
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