Public Relations and Marketing

FischTank Marketing and PR Founder Eric Fischgrund will speak on an upcoming January 31st panel entitled, “How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?” He will discuss the role of media relations, content marketing and digital strategies to achieve this goal.

The free event is hosted by B2B Growth (B2BNXT), and will include other speakers including Forrest Leighton, Scott Swanson and Patrick Charron. To learn more, please click the link here or below.

How to grow your B2B business in 2019 – what works best for organic growth?

Thursday, Jan 31, 2019, 6:00 PM

85 Broad Street
27th Floor, 85 Broad Street New York, ny

23 Members Attending

The event is free to attend, featuring awesome food + drinks and an even better panel discussion! We ask that you are working at a B2B company in a marketing/business development capacity (or you’re the owner). We bring 5 special panelists (including the VP of Marketing at MakerBot), all with extensive experience helping B2B companies beat their co…

Check out this Meetup →

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

FischTank Marketing and PR

I’m not sure how to start this post. As I begin, I’m at 33,000 feet – cruising altitude as they say – and some guy two seats up on the right has been taking selfies of himself for the last 10 minutes, grinning as he reviews them. Insta-worthy? Maybe. It seems pretty weird to me, but no one else seems to care so why should I? I’m returning from a business trip to Asheville with two colleagues, making this as good a time as any to start reflecting on the past five years of FischTank.

The LLC paperwork for EMF Media d.b.a FischTank was filed in late December 2013; I put in notice at a place where I was very unhappy, and brought my first client aboard shortly into the new year. I had limited experience in business development, even less experience in bookkeeping, and now – very little income. Still, I was excited in a professional sense for the first time in a long time.

The first few months were not easy (try working at home when you only have two clients). I took meetings that went nowhere, attended networking events that had no purpose, and at one point went door to door to try and win contracts from small businesses in Jersey City. I also drove my wife crazier than usual. There were sleepless nights, stressed out mornings, and a never-ending supply of self-doubt. Those feelings haven’t gone away and I don’t think they ever will, but in early 2014, that was my 24/7. Funny how something can suck and be so exciting at the same time.

But this story isn’t about me or the “entrepreneurial struggle” that many of the self-proclaimed experts drone on about on LinkedIn and Twitter.

The FischTank story is and has always been about people. I was joined by Matt Bretzius, my partner at FischTank, who is smarter and more disciplined than I am. There is a 0% chance this company is anything beyond me in my apartment living room without him. We made one hire, then we made another, and now we have a growing group of bright, creative, and really unique professionals people. Gone are the days of my personally PDF’d invoices, disorganized spreadsheets, and envelopes stuffed with receipts from coffee shops and cab rides. We now have a bookkeeper who is actually good at math and record keeping. We started partnering more strategically with other marketing, SEO/digital, creative, and PR agencies, building a stronger referral network filled with individuals who have also helped shape the company.

Our clients are awesome. I don’t write that to kiss ass, it’s just reality. Collectively they’re a group of innovative and smart risk-takers, and a pleasure to work with each day. Nothing drives us more than when we see how hard they work to achieve their own goals. We enjoy telling their stories.

To everyone who falls into a category above, I’m eternally grateful for what you’ve done. You know who you are. To all of my colleagues, past and present, this five-year milestone is for you as much as it is for Matt and I.

It’s not all roses and sunshine. We’ve learned many lessons, some of them painful but each of them valuable. Sure there were partnerships, hires and clients that didn’t quite fit, and while not everything ends well, through it all we’ve maintained our integrity and evolved. From these experiences, we’ve built a positive culture we can be proud of.

The only takeaway or piece of advice I have for others, should you choose to listen, is to place a premium on resiliency. Bad days, weeks and months will come. You will get home late after a bad day and think maybe you’re not cut out for this stuff. Self-doubt will creep in when you’re at your most vulnerable and it will eat away your confidence. When this all happens, you cannot give in. Get up, show up, and keep coming at them.

The last five years have been the best education and experience I could ask for, exceeding any and all expectations I had on January 15, 2014. Will FischTank last forever? No, nothing does, but we’re having a helluva lot of fun today.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

FischTank Marketing and PR

Companies ask about media relations all the time: “why is (insert competitor name) always in the press, and I’m not?” or “This company shouldn’t get the media coverage that we deserve!”

Great question. The truth is, your competitor is probably getting more positive press coverage than you because they’ve become more of a resource for journalists than you are. No, I’m not referring to money when I talk about resources, I’m talking about unique expertise on relevant subject matter that may be important for the journalist’s respective audience.

Companies and organizations that expect heavy news coverage need to prioritize forming and maintaining healthy, two-way relationships with the press. This means providing expert commentary, distributing embargoed or exclusive news releases ahead of time, sharing feedback on a topic even when you know it won’t be included in the story, etc. Provide VALUE! This means pointing the journalist in the right direction for insight, explaining why something is relevant or irrelevant, and putting the end result (that of the quality of the story/segment) above your own corporate objectives. Trust me, it will pay off later.

This emphasis on relationships and smart information flow is at the crux of everything we do here at FischTank. We work with journalists each day who are looking for insightful sources to quote and important announcements to cover, and ultimately introduce them to our clients.  It’s one of the reasons we’re recognized as a top Public Relations Company on DesignRush!

Learn more about the way we do things by contacting us at info@fischtankpr.com or by reading some of the other information on our website designed to educate and inform on public relations and marketing strategies. The strongest relationships we with have with our clients are founded upon collaborative partnership and understanding. We provide transparent insight and leadership when developing a media relations strategy, emphasizing assets and content, spokesperson capabilities, communications and marketing objectives, and other facts that align our actions with our client’s best interests.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

The team at FischTank Marketing and PR would like to congratulate Rebalance, a Bethesda and San Francisco-based investment firm committed to making premium wealth management services affordable and accessible to everyday Americans, on winning the prestigious 2018 Pacesetter IMPACT Award™ for Innovation and Growth, awarded by Schwab Advisor Services.  The conference took place this week, with the honor being bestowed on the firm yesterday.

Rebalance is an innovative, trendsetting company that has established itself within the retirement investment and personal finance industry. A consumer-first organization, Rebalance has advocated for transparency and working in their clients’ best interest, two standards that are unfortunately often neglected in the financial advisory space.

Please watch their video and learn more about the firm here.

Rebalance was recognized for its innovation and approach to bringing world-class investment expertise, holistic planning and financial advice to investors at a lower price point by combining cloud-based technology, ‘best-in-class’ portfolio management and seasoned investment professionals. Rebalance, and members of its team, received the award on the main stage at Schwab IMPACT®, the nation’s largest and longest-running annual gathering of independent advisors

Rebalance wins a prestigious award in financial services

Schwab Pacesetter IMPACT Award 2018 Winnter

.

Rebalance also brings “big league” investing capabilities to everyday Americans and is known for the savings it creates for its clients, as well as its emphasis on providing prudent investment advice based upon the expertise of its internationally-recognized Investment Committee. Members of this committee include Burt Malkiel, the world-renowned Senior Economist at Princeton University; Dr. Charley Ellis, who chaired Yale University’s famed investment committee; and Jay Vivian, the former Managing Director of IBM’s Retirement Funds, where he oversaw over $100 billion in IBM investment funds.

The Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.’s IMPACT Awards® program recognizes excellence in the business of independent financial advice. Nominees are evaluated and selected by a panel of prominent leaders from both the business world and the financial services industry.

 

 

 

 

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Why public relations and SEO tactics can work hand in hand.

This article was originally published on Forbes.com

As someone who is immersed in both client management and business development, I frequently hear from companies about the roles that online search and SEO play in their business.

For some of the more B2B and niche companies, especially those selling an expensive product or service, it’s important to own the first page of Google for searches around your name or the industry you serve. For B2C companies of all sizes, especially those exclusively selling products online, it’s not that online reputation isn’t important — it is — but hyperlinks pointing to your corporate URL and product pages are critical to driving revenue.

PR for SEO is now a focal point for many modern marketing programs, serving as the ultimate intersection of public relations and SEO/digital marketing. Over the years, I’ve seen many PR firms offer SEO and SEO firms offer PR, both without truly understanding how the functions can work hand in hand. Now, PR for SEO is more important than ever as a long-term investment that should not be ignored by CMOs and marketing execs. As the founder and CEO of an agency that offers this type of service, I’d like to provide more insight on how you can effectively leverage PR for SEO.

What Is PR For SEO?

For media relations and communications folks, the PR aspect of an SEO campaign is likely quite similar to what you’re hopefully already doing with clients today. We’re all familiar with how contributed content in the form of bylines and op-eds are an effective communication tool. They demonstrate expertise and thought leadership, and the published pieces often make for good sales material and social media fodder.

However, many companies either fail to understand or simply don’t prioritize the benefits of SEO that come with contributed content. These pieces are generally accompanied by a short byline of the author, typically a corporate executive, that includes a hyperlink to the website. This hyperlink is extremely valuable. When a credible website publishes your corporate name URL, Google and other search engines recognize this through algorithms as a supporting reason for why your site (and brand) is credible and should rank higher.

Further driving the SEO function, your contributed piece should incorporate keywords relevant to your product and business. The ability to secure the piece with keywords and on-brand focus, coupled with the corporate mention and URL inclusion, should now play a prominent role in most any organization’s marketing program.

How To Do It With Credibility

Now that you know how PR for SEO works, make sure you understand the ins and outs of how to do it with credibility. Before creating content, identify a list of online news sites that are open to receiving contributed insights/op-eds. Use SimilarWeb or SEMRush to get an understanding of a site’s digital audience or unique visitors per month (UVMs), a number that supports the quality of the news site and thus its published hyperlink.

Alex Deckard, an SEO Manager for Aeroflow Healthcare, reviews the total number of backlinks for a website, and also its most popular pages to better determine what that site’s audience is really looking for. He pays close attention to topics covered by the publication, knowing that content that’s relevant for his company will thus improve its ranking on Google and other search engines.

It’s important to understand the value of content writing and thought leadership. If you choose to hire a PR firm to lead your program, make sure you find one that understands this. It’s not as simple as just drafting an article and changing words around to repurpose it for other publications. Most quality news sites seek completely original and company/product-agnostic articles. After all, credible news publications have dedicated readers that deserve creative and insightful content. This means your organization cannot write an op-ed about the company itself, but more about the industry or various trends experienced as an expert within the sector.

By publishing a good article, you will likely experience more article-sharing and general buzz on social channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. A good public relations professional should understand these nuances, and have the capability to produce solid content to power the PR-for-SEO program.

Once a few articles have been successfully placed, the process should get easier to repeat. Frequent brainstorming with corporate executives helps keep content fresh, which cannot be understated. By identifying timely topics and providing value to the publication, a high-volume PR-for-SEO strategy is very achievable.

How To Measure Results

There are a number of resources for digital marketers to measure more technical as well as traditional KPIs. Speaking traditionally, bylined articles are great sales and marketing tools and are commonly featured on corporate websites and social media platforms.

Many digital marketers and SEO specialists who manage and work with PR teams use a combination of KPIs to ultimately determine both short- and long-term return on a PR-for-SEO program, including but not limited to UVMs, URL link, quality of the news site, social shares, total link quantity, and long-term search engine position and rankings for specific online searches.

Thinking Long-Term

PR for SEO is very different than more technical onsite SEO upgrades and link-building, and must be viewed as a long-term project with significant upside. It can take days or even weeks to develop an article and identify the right news website for submission, and sometimes even longer for it to publish. These articles often stay online forever, meaning the content reflecting your current brand and values may become a permanent search result for your company and for the name of its author.

An op-ed submitted today may one day result in site traffic and sales of next year, meaning the long-term value of a PR-for-SEO campaign is something that must be featured in any marketing and communications program.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Podcasts are all the rage right now. Sure, they’ve been around for roughly 10 years, but in the last three years or so, they’ve really taken off with 50% of households reporting that they are “podcast fans” at the end of 2017. Podcasts have become a prominent medium for experts, fans and enthusiasts of all kinds to come together and share opinions, conduct interviews and take deep dives into topics across all industries. Similarly, topic-specific radio shows are a great way to drive awareness among target audiences. Understanding them can take time, as the lines between these shows and podcasts are often blurry, i.e. a program that airs live on the radio might also be posted online as a podcast series. As more niche programs are launched and gain momentum, they are a great outlet to explore to establish yourself and your company as thought-leaders in a particular industry.

Identify your spokesperson and define their expertise

Unlike an interview that will be transcribed and quoted in a written article, in a podcast, the spokesperson’s voice is heard by the audience. This may seem like a rather obvious fact, but it should be noted to emphasize how important it is for your spokesperson to be comfortable with public speaking. Even if the podcast or radio show is being pre-recorded to air later, it will still be their voice that listeners and subscribers hear. Guests with a dynamic attitude and captivating tone can go a long way. Not only does this keep up the energy level for the host conducting the interview, listeners will pick up on their passion and expertise and be more likely to research your client and their organization after hearing the interview.

Most Marketing and PR professionals can likely can think of some client spokespeople right off the top of their head who fit into the category of a dynamic interviewee. Once you have an idea of who will do the talking for a possible podcast or radio interview, you need to figure out what they will be talking about. When it comes to these shows, even those that are focused on a particular industry, the broader your spokesperson’s knowledge base is, the better. While it’s great that they can talk in-depth about their company and any current announcements or initiatives, it’s likely that the host or producer of the show won’t bite on an idea that seems too promotional or self-serving. A wider knowledge of the industry or ability to comment as an expert on a current trend is incredibly helpful. It’s good to always keep an eye and ear out for any breaking trends within the industry and discuss internally to see whether or not it’s something your company is able to offer commentary on. An expert opinion or hot take on something newsworthy can often be your foot in the door!

Search high and low for podcasts and shows

 I know I began this post by saying that podcasts are everywhere, and this is still true! However, not every one of the many shows out there will be a fit for your spokesperson’s expertise. If you are dealing with a particularly niche subject matter or industry, finding the premier, most-trusted programs will require a little research. As I mentioned before, having an expert that can comment on broader issues, even if they aren’t directly related to your company’s current initiatives, goes a long way. Let’s say your company works in veterinary oncology, can they also talk about other veterinary topics? What about general animal health or tips for pet owners? The more topics they are comfortable with, the more options you have when it comes to shows to reach out to.

Start with a simple Google search. Begin with the most specific, niche search terms your corporate leadership can speak on to see what’s available. Once you’ve explored those results and flagged any relevant targets, widen the topic and repeat the process until you’ve gotten to the broadest subject matter your expert is able to discuss. Be sure to thoroughly vet the targets you find, as you don’t want to waste time reaching out to a program that hasn’t posted a new episode in two years!

Another place to look is social media. Check in on relevant hashtags for the client’s particular industry to see if anyone is talking about a popular podcast or radio program. Follow industry reporters and other thought-leaders on Twitter and LinkedIn. You never know when they might drop a reference to a new podcast or show that would be a fit.

Make the introduction

Once you have a solid list of podcasts that you believe would be a good fit for your spokesperson, it’s time to focus on approach. You want to make an introduction as personal as possible, so the host or producer clearly understands why your spokesperson belongs on the show as a guest.

After justifying your reasoning for reaching out, share a bit on the expert and why they’re uniquely qualified to be a guest. When pitching media around a trend, any specific expertise you can offer that will set them apart is crucial. When pitching a more general introduction, highlight a unique perspective they might have that would make for a good discussion on an upcoming episode. Like with any pitch, try to keep it brief and put all your important info upfront, you only have a few precious moments to capture the target’s attention.

Podcasts and radio programs are great tools for tapping into niche audiences and building your corporate reputation as an authority on a particular subject matter. As PR and Marketing professionals, the process of researching and pitching these types of programs needs to be approached a little differently than other media relations outreach. However, by developing a keen understanding of your company’s knowledge base, keeping an eye out for industry trends and news and a solid introduction, you can lock down a great interview opportunity that will likely lead to more as your organization becomes a well-known voice in the industry!

 

Erin is an Account Manager at FischTank, working with clients across a variety of industries including renewable energy, healthcare and marketing technologies. Erin also has experience executing media relations and marketing campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations. Erin grew up in Wayne, Pennsylvania and graduated from Hofstra University on Long Island. She enjoys corgis, Peanut M&Ms and classic rock. 

Like many marketing and communications firms, the FischTank team often hears from current and prospective clients “How do I drive web traffic?”

Many times, we can help by strategically placing articles that drive potential customers, clients or investors, or by securing articles and bylines laden with backlinks that support and drive SEO.

There is an abundance of information to read on the Internet (duh!) on this subject matter, and this is what we’re reading this week:

Marketing Technology Tactics To Increase Engagement and Attract Attention

“Change happens at the speed of technology for marketing professionals, but your agency can adapt to this rapid pace by leveraging these changes.”

Influencer Marketing Done Right Can Drive All The Traffic To Your Newly-Launched Wesbite

“Unless you already have a bursting-at-the-seams Rolodex and a stable of superfans who are waiting impatiently for anything and everything you give birth to in the world, you might be cutting the ribbon of your new business, blog, site, app, community, or nonprofit to a fever-pitch crowd of bumpkiss.”

Inbound Marketing Not Bringing You Results? Try This.

“According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Report, businesses that focus primarily on inbound marketing save more than $14 on acquiring each new customer. Further, 80% of B2B decision makers prefer consuming brand related content over advertising while making a purchase decision.”

SEO Game Changers Influencing Business Growth in the Year 2018

“SEO is the best way to gain a significant presence on the world wide web. SEO trends are constantly evolving with the changing landscapes. To stay competitive, you’ll have to be constantly aware and update your strategy as needed.”

How SEO And Content Marketing Work Together To Fuel Your Online Success

“SEO without content marketing is like a body without a soul. In particular, SEO is actually strategized around content marketing since every website needs words, articles, substance, keywords, etc. In order to be successful, both must go hand in hand.”

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

FischTank media coverage generates ROI

***This blog post originally appeared on CommProBiz***

Whether potential clients or companies we’ve already partnered with, at some point comes the question:

“How do we measure success?”

“What is the ROI for media exposure?”

“Is this working?”

These are fair questions that must be asked, and the answer is the same every time – your ROI depends on your objective. Some organizations retain PR and Marketing firms because they’re looking to achieve some form of conversion, such as a sale or new business lead. Others do so because they seek to use media placements as content for some marketing function, perhaps as signage at a trade show, or as a marketing/sales touchpoint like an e-mail blast. Others evaluate media relations efforts for the SEO and online marketing value they bring, especially when a hyperlink is included.

The point is, each company and organization that retains a firm like ours should know exactly what their objective is prior to engaging, or at least let that become a focal point for strategy discussion.

If it’s e-commerce, or the sale of products via a website, then you may be looking at a two-pronged approach for success. One – how do you create impactful media results that drive interested customers to the website to make a purchase? Two – how do you improve your online search position so that when people Google or conduct other online searches around certain terms, your company name shows up on the first page or within the first few entries?

The former of the two approaches is obvious – to produce media coverage that directly reaches consumers and influences their buying decisions. To this point, no two pieces of media exposure are created equal. If a media relations team secures an article in USA Today, yes, that could drive traffic. But also consider the audience. If the article is about something technical in nature, there’s a very good chance the ROI of said USA Today article could be very low. However, if that very same article were to publish in a blog read by only 8,000 people, but who also happen to be your specific customer type, you could very well garner more sales/conversion from that blog exposure. To this effect – focus on the audience, not the circulation.

With respect to the second approach regarding online search, the value of strong digital content may be difficult to measure per individual piece, but the sum of all efforts most definitely can be quantified. More and more often we work with companies whose primary objective is the search engine optimization (SEO) value of the media coverage we secure on their behalf. Will a hyperlink be included? Will it be chock full of keywords that also mirror the search terms your company wants to rank for? Will these articles show up on the first page of Google? Securing high quality link backs to corporate URLs on a constant basis will ultimately drive traffic for, and interest in, a company.

“Not so fast! My company doesn’t conduct business online. We’re very B2B, and most of our business comes from networking, our sales/marketing team, or (insert some other form of sales process or transaction)”

Let’s take a step back. Despite what some may say about the current state of media, there is still a significant trust that comes with media exposure. Being quoted or featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, NPR, influential trade publications, and others still provide tremendous value. Whether you’re a pre-revenue company seeking investors or a 100-person organization that relies on its sales team, media exposure gives you one crucial asset: touchpoints.

If you’ve ever signed onto LinkedIn and seen a CEO of a competitor posting about being quoted in an important article, that’s a touchpoint. If you’ve ever seen a blog post on a website highlighting “recent media coverage in ________),” that’s a touchpoint. The same can be said for media placements sent via e-mail to shareholders, PDFs of articles sitting on table tops at conferences, and “As Featured By” sections on the front page of a website.

What these examples demonstrate is simple: expertise and relevancy. Media coverage means your company understands its role within its respective market, speaks intelligently to its audience, and understands the value in thought leadership.

Of course, these ideas listed above are not comprehensive public relations strategies, they’re singular tactics desired to achieve specific objectives. Everyone wants (and deserves) to know the value they’re receiving when they commit time and budget to a public relations campaign. By looking in the mirror and asking themselves what they want and need most, companies can attain media exposure that yields both long and short-term return on investment.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

Equity crowdfunding appears to represent a simple solution for businesses – both start up and firmly established – that are looking to raise money to fund their vision. By allowing investors (and fans of the brand) to invest in their company online, companies view this funding mechanism as a way to bypass banks, brokers, and toxic financers. You file significantly reduced SEC-paperwork, throw a website up, and wait for your offering to go viral. Once the internet does its thing and your hyperlink is shared by e-mail as well as endless Facebook and Twitter accounts, the raise will be complete and you can begin planning the listing of your IPO.

If this seems too easy and too good to be true, you’re right – it is.

Unfortunately, too many companies and individuals are being talked into this strategy without the appropriate background information, and as such, the results of poorly executed crowdfunding campaigns are much easier to find than the success stories.

But there are success stories that were made possible only because of those who adequately planned for them. Over the past year, I have spoken with at least 30 companies considering some form of equity crowdfunding (Regulation A+, Reg CF, 506c, testing the waters, etc.). One thing I am continuously surprised by are those who are unprepared to commence an online raise.

As such, here are some general tips for marketing an equity crowdfunding campaign:

  1. No two campaigns are alike. Like any marketing or communications initiative, no two companies are the same, and thus, no two crowdfunding campaigns should be executed the same way. The biggest mistake I see is thinking that a one-size-fits-all marketing approach that “worked really well in the past for another company and their raise” – will be successful. It won’t.

“Successful equity crowdfunding does require a great marketing plan executed by a creative marketing team,” said Kendall Almerico, CEO of Bankroll Ventures and one of the country’s leading experts on equity crowdfunding. “Coca Cola, Cadillac and Calvin Klein do not market their brands the same way. Equity crowdfunding companies must engage a team that understands and markets the company in a unique way that stands out from all the noise.”

Take this into consideration before planning, as each company and campaign requires its own messaging, its own advertising strategy, and its own look and feel. Figure out what your strengths are, and market to them. For example, if your story has great visuals, find a way to leverage it via some form of multimedia, preferably video. Perhaps you are an emerging company working in a high-growth industry with plenty of competition. Focus on how to differentiate yourself from the competition, while outlining the existing market opportunity and what it means for you and your investors.

  1. Get your online presence in order. Raising money from a diverse audience and group of sources can be difficult, but nothing makes equity crowdfunding so challenging as to do so with a poorly designed or ill-functioning website. The investment website is the primary way you are soliciting funds, and as such needs to clearly lead potential investors through the offering process. Think about it – using the analogy of an open house – why leave your trash on the front lawn, not fix the fence, and neglect a new paint job? Getting your digital presence ready means focusing on messaging for the website, carefully reviewing the design and aesthetics, proofing all content, and last but not least – making sure the user experience is a positive one! Do not underestimate the importance of the landing page for your online offering.

Further, legal context with regards to selling securities online must be considered. “General solicitation under the JOBs Act can open up many doors for a company seeking investments, but please, run your proposed content by your securities lawyer,” said Andrea Cataneo, securities attorney with Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP.

“Solicitation can mean advertising, webinars, internet offerings, group presentations, but it does not mean hype or exaggeration.”

  1. Identify and market to your audience. Understanding your ideal investor profile isn’t easy, but it needs to be done to build and leverage a captive audience. If you are a company reading this and looking to raise money online, and already possess an existing database of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of contacts (be it customers, clients, partners, etc.) with e-mail addresses, congratulations! You are ahead of the curve. Or, perhaps you already have a good feel for the sort of individual who is likely to invest in your company, and now you just need to go about marketing directly to them. Review site demographics, consider the profile of past investors and interested parties, and try to make that determination early, but… 
  1. …If you don’t have an existing audience, build one. Far too often a company approaches us with a great idea, a designed website and video that clearly spells out the investment opportunity, and a strong message for the media. This should result in success, right? Well, not always. Equity crowdfunding requires some form of direct marketing, and to do so, a company must have a base, either a significant social media following or a database consisting of contact information. If you don’t, social media advertising has proven to be a lead driver of web traffic and conversions. Consider running a Facebook advertising or Google AdWords campaign that drives specifically targeted people to your investment landing page. As many know, online advertising can be precisely targeted, and is a great way to get an idea and offering in front of potential investors.
  1. Stay credible, my friends. Ah, so you finally have it figured out! Plan and processes? Check. Significant database to market to? Check. Brilliantly laid out investment landing page that seamlessly takes investors through the process? Check. Perhaps you are missing one last tool – news flow. Most public companies know this already – distributing press releases that outline corporate announcements, market opportunities, industry events, and other newsworthy items are proven ways to remind current and potential investors that you are a very active company. Similarly, getting featured in third-party, earned media (no pay for plays!) builds credibility, whether it’s in a trade publication, a daily newspaper, radio show, or broadcast television. Working with a media relations and corporate communications firm is a great way to produce press coverage, and reminds investors that you are a real company making news within a high-growth industry.

Equity crowdfunding was meant to spur innovation and growth, while providing Main Street investors with a means to access high growth companies. It is certainly not an untapped source where everyday web users are patiently waiting to visit an online investment opportunity. Be prepared, be proactive, and remain top of mind, and maybe the idea hatched in your own home will one day be listed on a major U.S. stock exchange.

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.

PR and Digital Firm

One of the ways FischTank has been able to grow is relatively simple — hire smart professionals who can take certain responsibilities and weaknesses off your hands.

Stepping back for a moment to share an example. As a marketer/communicator, writing is one of my few more effective skillsets. Comparatively, numbers often pose a significant challenge for me. Although the books were getting done, invoices were going out, and taxes were being paid — handling accounting for FischTank was a tremendous time suck, and was getting in the way of my ability to execute other initiatives such as client services and business development.

As we’ve scaled FischTank, my partner and I have made great efforts to hire a team that provides solutions. Naturally, this includes the accountant/bookkeeper who maintains invoicing and expenses in QuickBooks, coordinates payroll, and pays our taxes. It also includes the team in our office that now handles all facets of what we do for our clients — account management, reporting, writing, research, media outreach, website audits, social media strategies, and other marketing and public relations components.

If you’re a CEO reading this and nodding along — I encourage you to apply the same thinking to your marketing and communications efforts. Perhaps you’re putting off blogging until next week? Do you see your competitors continue to receive media coverage and wonder why the press isn’t writing about you? What are you doing to maintain some form of a digital media presence? Is your website acceptable or lacking updates? Where do you begin when writing a press release? Home come you aren’t using e-mail marketing?

Certainly many of you have asked one of these very questions. Some of you may find more than one example familiar. Perhaps many of you have suggested handling your company’s marketing and media efforts on your own. If so, best of luck and I’m sure you’ll do great. The question is — at what cost to yourself?

Eric Fischgrund is an entrepreneur, writer, sports fan, music-lover, and founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing and PR, a marketing and communications firm based in NYC.