Why Wouldn’t You Include Links in Your Press Releases?

By Chris Crum – Wed, 06/02/2010 – 2:50pm.

Businesses Missing Out on Traffic Opportunities

Press release distribution service BusinessWire shared results of a poll, which found that 85% of those who send out press releases put links in them. That means that 15% didn’t. Granted, this is only a small poll of less than 300 people, but it may still be indicative of a greater issue that not all businesses include links in their online press releases.

In fact, BusinessWire says by its estimate, the percentage of those who don’t include links in their releases is much greater. “Interestingly, internal research of the Business Wire file of approximately 1,000 press releases each work day, suggests otherwise,” says BusinessWire. “By our reckoning, only 13.5% of press release issuers use hyperlinks to drive traffic or amplify their messages in the context of their press releases.”

“The advantages of including relevant, timely hyperlinks in your press releases are well documented,” BusinessWire says.  “Links can amplify your message, help increase your search engine optimization, and drive traffic to your website or other relevant sites.”

The company has a podcast posted on this topic.

Press Releases - with or without links?

Reasons cited for not including links in BusinessWire’s poll included “Just didn’t think about it,” “I don’t know how,” “I don’t see the point,” and “I don’t know what a hyperlink is.”

If you fall into that last category. I strongly recommend learning.

The web has made it easy for businesses to gain great reach through press releases. While widespread coverage is not always guaranteed, services like BusinessWire, PRNewswire, and a bunch of others make getting releases in front of journalists and bloggers quite easy.

Releases can be found in search engines, Google News, and are often shared via social media sites just like any other content, if they are interesting enough. Also keep in mind that press releases have long search shelf-lives. Releases can stay around in search results for random queries even if they are old. Just because they’re old does not mean they aren’t relevant, and they may be stumbled upon at a later date by a journalist or blogger who is researching a story, if not by a consumer.

Is Print Marketing Still in Your Mix?
By Chris Crum – Wed, 05/05/2010 – 12:34pm.

Study Suggests Businesses Sticking with Print

FedEx Office released the results from its annual Signs of the Times national small business survey, finding that small business owners are “eager to lead the charge” out of the recession. According to the results, about three quarters

(72%) say they’ll be the driving force behind the U.S. economic recovery this year. 51% said their own businesses have already or will fully recover by the end of the year.

How important is print marketing to your business? Let us know.

Marketing opportunities appear to be one of the key reasons businesses are so optimistic. 42% of those polled are

considering increasing spending on marketing and advertising this year, while 30% say they may increase spending on sales initiatives.

Read the rest of this entry

Report: Most Small Businesses Still Not Sold on Social Media

By Chris Crum – Wed, 04/21/2010 – 5:05pm.

Many Businesses Still Ignoring Social Networks

Citibank put out a new report indicating that most small businesses still are not leveraging the social media tools available to them, despite the “relentless buzz” around them.

Are you ignoring social media?
Tell us why.

According to the survey of 552 small business executives across the United States, in the last year 37% of small businesses haven’t used a Web site for marketing or expanding their business and 84% have not used ecommerce to sell their products or services. 62% aren’t using basic email for marketing their business.  Yet among those businesses that do have a Web site, 74% say their site has been effective at generating more business.

“Many small businesses today have yet to really harness the marketing and communication power that online tools can provide them,” says Raj Seshadri, the head of Small Business Banking at Citibank. “Our survey reveals a huge opportunity for many businesses to begin using some of the basic online tools, such as email marketing, to drive their sales.”

65% of small businesses are not placing online ads to expand their business and 67% have not used search engine optimization, according to the survey.

Other Noteworthy findings include:

– 72 percent say they are likely to use a Web site for marketing or expanding their business in the next 12 months – up 14% from those who do today.

– 24 percent will likely use ecommerce to sell their products or services online over the next 12 months – up 50% from those who do today.

– 30 percent say they intend to use social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for marketing or expanding their business – up 58% from those who do today.

“This survey shows that many small businesses have yet to add new tools to traditional marketing methods that they have found effective in the past,” said Seshadri. “This may be because the online world does not fit their business model or other factors such as inexperience with technology or lack of time to effectively enter these marketing channels.  It’s encouraging, however, to see that many intend to utilize more of these tools in the next 12 months.”

According to Citibank, there is a disconnect regarding the importance placed on word-of-mouth marketing by small businesses.  63% say word-of-mouth marketing is the most effective way to market their business and find new customers, but interestingly many don’t view social media as a word-of-mouth channel. 81% say they have not used social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.

Among those not using social media sites, 47% don’t think these networks have value to their business. 21% think they’re more for personal than business use, and 18% don’t know enough about how to use them.

Michael Stelzner, founder of SocialMediaExaminer.com released another interesting report this week, finding that 22% of marketers were just getting started with social media marketing and another 43% had only been doing it for a few months.