3 Low-Cost PR Strategies for Small Businesses

By Grayson Kemper, Senior Content Developer for Clutch

Small businesses often struggle to find low-cost solutions to create awareness and promote their brands to the public.

There are, however, many public relations strategies that your small business can implement to create discussion and awareness about your company.

In this article, we share three public relations strategies that can help build your brand’s reach, awareness, and reputation without overextending your budget:

  1. Online reputation management (ORM)
  2. SEO
  3. Community building and engagement

1. Online Reputation Management

Businesses that monitor their online reputation can effectively gauge public perception about their company and find opportunities to meaningfully engage with customers about their feedback and challenges.

While online reputation management agencies can provide a full suite of service for both proactive and reactive online reputation management, the cost may be too hefty for some small businesses.

Some ORM strategies, though, can be done in-house, with the proper care and attention. Two in particular are encouraging online reviews and social media monitoring.

Reviews provide opportunities for brands to build a meaningful connection with consumers. Responding to both negative and positive reviews is essential to building brand authority.

Encouraging customers to leave reviews can create benefits for your small business, regardless of whether the review is positive or negative.

  • Brands that respond to negative reviews by helping to correct a problem prove their dedication to customer satisfaction.
  • Brands that thank people for positive reviews show the public they’re engaged with customers and that they appreciate feedback.

A recent survey by The Manifest found that over half of small businesses respond publicly to negative reviews, while nearly half respond privately.

Companies  that respond to reviews and comments are able to build awareness and strengthen their brand reputation.

For example, when a Zappos customer posted a shipping complaint on the company’s Facebook page, the company responded with an offer to help resolve the issue.

Source: Facebook

In another thread, a customer wrote to praise a customer service representative at Zappos, and the company responded immediately by thanking the commentator for his feedback.

Source: Facebook

Social listening also is an essential part of online reputation management. Specifically, it helps companies understand what people are saying about them online and gives them broader insight about general perceptions about their company

There are a variety of free social listening tools that your small business can use to track social conversation about your company and respond quickly.

2. Organic SEO

Optimizing your website for search engines can help to get your brand and its products in front of new people daily.

Over 60% of people click on the top 5 results of a search engine results page. If you are able to earn placement in a prime spot, you create an opportunity to earn the attention and potential patronage of search audiences for keywords related to your business.

People also increasingly rely on Google results to find local businesses – i.e., “laundromats near me.” Investing in local SEO allows small businesses to establish a presence for local searches that can help attract and retain key local audiences.

Though SEO has a time cost associated with its implementation and maintenance, small businesses can benefit greatly from a strong SEO strategy.

Include some of your best reviews on the welcome page of your website, to encourage Google to feature these positive reviews.

3. Community Engagement

Rather than simply treating social media as a method to communicate to the public, you should strive to create a community through your company’s social media.

To do this, focus on sharing content that is highly relevant to your followers interest. This sort of content on social media creates opportunities to truly engage with your followers.

According to The Manifest survey, 56% of businesses do not engage with  their audiences through social media. This creates an opportunity for your business to gain a competitive edge by building an active social media audience.

For example, SEO expert Rand Fishkin recently founded SparkToro and has used social media to create discussion and engagement to grow brand awareness.

Source: Rand Fishkin on Instagram

Starbucks, for example, shares a mix of entertaining content, including inspirational quotes. Recently, it shared a quote that garnered over 800 comments.

Posting engaging content on helps customers better understand your company, and by extension, creates appeal for your products.

Small Businesses Can Engage Customers Using Inexpensive PR Strategies

Small businesses can create visibility and appeal through low-cost public relations campaigns such as online reputation management, organic SEO, and community engagement.

About the Author

Grayson Kemper is a senior content developer for Clutch, the leading research, ratings, and reviews platform for B2B services and solutions providers. Clutch serves as a resource for businesses searching for top PR firms, app developers, and other marketing and technology services.

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How Online Reviews Improve Your Public Relations

By Grayson Kemper, Senior Content Writer for Clutch

People value and increasingly reference online reviews for your company during their vetting process for services providers.

Reviews are the online form of word-of-mouth marketing. Evidence shows that 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.

According to a recent survey, almost all consumers (97 percent) take customer reviews into account as they are making purchases. In addition, customers spend over 31 percent more on a business that has predominantly positive reviews on their site.

These statistics demonstrate that online reviews can both influence whether a customer decides to partner with or purchase from your company and how much they are willing to pay to do so.

Given these stakes, your business needs to use online reviews to engage people online and improve your public relations. If you can do so, you open the opportunity to make a positive impression of your business, better promote your products, and generate more sales.

How Online Reviews Can Benefit Your Business

Reviews can improve your relationship with customers. Customers trust and often engage with online reviews. Reviews also can result in increased customer conversions. Customers who read positive reviews about a business have a 133 percent higher conversion rate.

As clients browse the reviews posted on your site, they will gain more confidence in your products and business as a whole.

Negative reviews can actually work in your favor as well. As long as you handle negative reviews properly, you can prove that your business values excellent customer service.

Online Reviews and Directory Sites Help SEO and Web Traffic

There also are SEO benefits to online reviews.

All major search engines offer reviews, such as Google Reviews, particularly for local listings. Allowing your site to be listed and reviewed increases the chances that people encounter and click through to it, which increases your website traffic.

In addition to search engine reviews, you can list your company on directory sites such as Angie’s List or The Manifest. These sites generally rank well in search engine results for a broad array of terms, which presents the opportunity to earn secondary traffic. They also provide an opportunity to demonstrate the results you can produce for your clients, a crucial factor of consideration for every potential client.

How to Turn Online Reviews Into PR Tools

Your business should encourage your customers to leave reviews on your site.

Client reviews largely contribute to your company’s reputation. Positive reviews can increase your company’s credibility. Even if you have negative reviews, you can improve your image if you can demonstrate a sincere willingness to fix an issue or improve on past mistakes.

Online reviews are a powerful marketing tool, as they play a significant role in influencing customer purchase decisions. If handled correctly, reviews can be used as a PR tool to improve the reputation of your business.

Grayson Kemper is a senior content writer for Clutch, a B2B research and reviews firm in Washington, D.C. He focuses on marketing and emerging technologies research.