"In the old days we used to put unique 800 numbers in press releases, " John Coe, President of Database Marketing Associates says. Now Coe advises his B-to-B clients add a URL which links to a special offer page or microsite onto all their press releases.
It used to be that press releases just went to the press. However, these days all major release distributors, such as PR Newswire and BusinessWire, automatically include online distribution to the news areas of sites such as Yahoo, AOL and dozens more. Releases are also included in electronic newsfeeds that distributors such as Factiva sell into corporate intranets worldwide. Therefore, many release readers may be your end-target, business executives. And as Coe explains, "Press releases are generally looked on as being more credible than sales materials." This means every single release you send out could be generating sales prospects for you.
That's why Coe advises against using your standard home page Web address as the URL in your releases. He says, "You can't measure response, or collect leads, unless you're able to tie your stimulus to a response." Coe recommends using a white paper, brochure, tech report or company newsletter as an offer.
Coe also recommends that business marketers maintain two relationships to make the most of releases: close communication ties with the PR, IR and marcom professionals who prepare and send your company's releases so hopefully you'll hear about releases before they go out; and an account with an outside firm who can build a response microsite for you super-quickly during emergencies when there's no time to wait for your internal Web development folks to get one up.
Case in point, recently one of Coe's client's PR departments posted a release to their Web site without telling marketing beforehand. Luckily Database Marketing Associates already had an account with TouchScape who were able to whip up a special mini-site for the release's online click throughs in less than an hour. All the results flowed from the microsite into the client's database. To learn more, contact Coe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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