Odds are you’re inundated daily with people telling you how and where to spend your money on advertising. Some ‘guru’ or friend-of-a-friend hit it big, and you should do exactly what they did. “I’ll show you how to be an Instagram millionaire!” Or, “you should put all your money and time into online video.” Even, “the Yellow Pages are the future – no one will expect it!” OK, maybe not that last one. If you’re still considering the Yellow Pages, we have other things we need to discuss…

But what is the right answer? Everything sounds like a good idea – inbound marketing, social media, videos, local print ads, direct sales, even direct mail. Can you do it all? Not if you have a fixed marketing budget, and certainly not if you’re trying to do it all yourself.

One of our clients provides ongoing education to massage therapists. They created their own unique modality of massage therapy. But the part of their business they wanted to grow is providing ongoing training to massage therapists. Reaching consumers is not a top priority for them. They need to reach massage therapists – to get out the word about who they are, and why they’re different. And, to get these prospective students on board.

When we first started working with them, they knew that what they offered was unique. They didn’t know how to communicate it to potential students. We started our relationship with a messaging session to drill down and ferret out the core message of who they are, and what they do. From there, we helped them refine how they talked about their business, both internally and externally. This gave them a foundation, upon which we could begin marketing their business.

Despite being Florida-based, they offer training in several states, and attend national and state conferences. They already had proof that their training gets results – they set up booths at the conference and perform their unique therapy on attending massage therapists. But they can only reach so many potential students this way. We needed to think, and act, bigger.

The founder already had a regular column with one industry magazine, but we wanted to broaden their local awareness. We helped craft a story idea which got them into the local newspaper. While this was mainly consumer-focused news, we were able to highlight the unique differences of their massage therapy, and help position the founder as a leader in the industry. We call this ‘expert positioning’ – positioning the business as leader and source of knowledge about their industry. – a foundation of credibility for the company.

No one was complaining about all the calls and new clients the article generated.

Building upon that awareness, we conducted outreach to other industry publications, creating articles that focused on the benefits of undergoing their training, rather than the founder’s experience. This outreach helps solidify our core messages in the eyes of our potential students, and gives them an important third-party endorsement. You can tell everyone you’re the best thing since Amazon same-day delivery and no one will care. When someone else says it, people pay attention.

advertising your business cartoonBut, getting into the news wasn’t the only challenge.

There were two other areas where our client needed help – they needed something tangible to show current and formed students that they were a long-term partner, and they needed to fill their classes.

We tackled the first problem – the differentiator – by building an Intranet for certified practitioners who had gone through their training. The Intranet contains advice and marketing materials to help build their own massage practices, news and updates from the main office, a way to find other local practitioners, an FAQ, and the ability to share updates with the group. We envisioned the Intranet as a way to help form a sense of community, even for massage therapists who may be separated geographically.

The last part of the puzzle was developing the sales funnel for their full certification. They offer educational credit courses as a first step to becoming certified in this massage modality. We use Facebook ads and website landing pages to build awareness of, and generate signups for their educational credit classes. These signups, even if they don’t join, can then be marketed to in the future for the full certification training. We also create and run Facebook ads to generate interest in the full certification.

Over the past year, through our partnership, we have reached tens of thousands of massage therapists, generated thousands of leads for the educational credit courses, and hundreds of leads for full certification. And the client is growing – adding more trainers, more training dates and more locations. The marketing plan we created and implemented allowed for a multi-faceted approach to building awareness and driving action.

This is why PR and digital marketing work well together. They each have their strengths, and their weaknesses. But together, they are the underpinnings of marketing successfully in this new era. And, they’re a natural fit for new media. You can share your news stories online and expand their reach exponentially.

Our client could have created TV commercials or radio ads, done direct mailings, or many other forms of advertising. But we wanted to find the way to best reach their target audience. There will always be companies and individuals yelling about the next ‘amazing method’ for marketing. But it really comes back to knowing how to reach your audience, and how to effectively communicate with them. Snapchat that.


Background in traditional and digital media. Loves startups, local business and online marketing. Read more about me here.

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