By Dianne Beiermann
Monday, September 12, 2005; 6:45pm EST
Many of us have the dream of saying good-bye to our day job and starting our own successful home business. Dianne Beiermann did just that. Dianne had worked for corporate America and she had survived layoffs and poor pay. She had enough and wanted out. She dreamed of having her own business and being her own boss.
Dianne adds: 'I always wanted to work from home. As far back as I can remember I dreamed of owning my own home business. For years I read books on mail order and working from home. But for a long time it just remained a dream. Until my last job, that was when I finally decided to stop dreaming and take action. What motivated me to make a move was in early 2002, the company I was working for at the time, decided to have a mass layoff of many departments within their organization.
They ended up firing four people from my department. I had missed the ax but it really hit home for me. I knew I didn't want to live this way, always worrying about the next time there would be a lay off. Wondering if I would get the ax, it really changed everything for me. I know that there was no such thing as a safe secure job. I didn't want somebody else deciding my fate. I wanted to decide it. This is what finally pushed me to take action."
That was when Dianne took the plunge into the world of online business selling a mix of inexpensive gifts and gadgets. It was a slow start at first. Dianne explains, 'I started my online business back in July of 2002. The best way to describe my website was a mix of inexpensive gifts, ranging from garden gifts to religious gifts. When I first started, my site was pretty unfocused.
Because I was selling a mix of unrelated gifts from many different categories I decided to focus my attention on selling wholesale to already existing retail websites that carried garden items or religious gifts. The supplier I was using gave their distributors the ability to sell wholesale to other companies so that is what I concentrated my efforts on doing. I spent most of my time contacting the website owners to sell wholesale to them."
Her real success came several months later after a great deal of study in the library reading books on everything from, finding a niche to free publicity.
Dianne found her niche selling automotive themed gifts for the home and office (http://www. pwmenterprises. com) and she found her customers through writing new product announcements and emailing them out to the editors of national magazines and online magazines. We asked Dianne how she found her niche for selling automotive themed gifts and this is what she said:
'Back in February of 2003 I was thumbing through my supplier's catalog looking for new product ideas when I came across a wood pen shaped like a gear shifter and clock shaped like a steering wheel. I knew that I finally had something really unique and different and I started to build my website around these new automotive themed gifts and accents. My site went from being a mix of inexpensive gifts and gadgets to a site focused on gifts for the automotive enthusiast. That was a real break through moment for me because once I found my niche it made it much easier to target my audience. That was when I started to focus on sending the editors of automotive magazines new product announcements on the items I carry."
Since Dianne had no money to advertise with, she had to think outside the box. After spending months reading every book she could find on getting free publicity, she implemented what she learned. By adding some of her own ideas, to her surprise the editors started publishing her new product announcements and her sales took off.
Dianne adds, 'One of the main ways I am able to drive targeted customers to my site is through my efforts to get free publicity for my new products (also referred to as 'New Product Announcements").
Back in March of 2003 I started to send out press releases via email to every car magazine I could find. I was sending out press releases for about three weeks when something amazing happened. After my third week of sending out press releases I started receiving phone calls from customers who wanted to purchase my gear shift pen. I was pretty shocked at first and didn't know where they were coming from. After the third or fourth phone call I started asking the customers how they found us and they said they read a blurb about our new product in Auto Week magazine. I was really stunned. I couldn't believe my press release got picked up. With this first taste of free publicity my business sales exploded.
I was getting a lot of hits to my website (for the first time) and people started placing orders online as well as calling into order. Because I also had the steering wheel clock and a couple other automotive themed items, the customers were purchasing these products as well. In five weeks I sold hundreds of the pens and steering wheel clocks. After this experience I started hunting online for more new automotive related products to introduce to the editors and in a nine month period I grew my sales ten times by mainly emailing the editors press releases on new product announcements. I sent out these press releases on a monthly basis and ended up getting my products in several automotive and men's print magazines and online magazines."
To this day (2 years later), she still receives free publicity for her products and company, PWM Enterprises, Inc. As her company continued to have rapid growth, several people jumped on board to help with business development. Now, Dianne's company has grown thanks in part to their hard work. She says the key to her success was partly due to all the free publicity she has received.
Their company, PWM Enterprises, Inc. now manufactures their own product line of gear shift themed accents. They have sales representatives in New York, Ohio, and Arizona and their manufacturing facilities are in Wisconsin. Her company sells wholesale now and offers corporate imprinting on their patent pending product line. We asked her what other methods she uses to find new customers for her business, 'To help get the word out about our product line we exhibit at car shows, expos, and gift and market trade shows. We will be exhibiting at SEMA in November, which is the largest trade show in the automotive after market industry."
Dianne has also launched another very successful website, www. productpressrelease. com where she has written an e-book on how a person can copy her success for getting free publicity by emailing the editors.
Dianne added, 'After, I started getting the free publicity for my company, PWM Enterprises, Inc. I had many friends and business associates ask me how I was getting the free publicity. They were very curious and really amazed that I was able to get free publicity for my products just by emailing the editors. Since I did not have a background in public relations and previously knew nothing about publicity, they were even more stunned at my success emailing the editors.
People wanted to know everything they could about the process. They wanted to know where I found the editor emails and what I wrote in the press releases. They really needed someone to help walk them through the process. I had so many people asking for my help that I decided to write an e-book on the subject of getting free publicity.
The e-book is titled, "How Anyone Can Get Free Publicity Just By Using Their Email." The e-book has been instrumental in helping many of Dianne's customers obtain free publicity for their own websites and products. Included in the e-book are several successful samples of 'new product announcement" emails that she sent to the editors. For more information visit: http://www. productpressrelease. com.
Dianne gains a lot of satisfaction from her ability to help others achieve the same success she has had by using free publicity. We asked her what are four top key methods for getting free publicity, and this is what she said:
'I would be happy to share some key ways to getting free publicity. Below are 4 of my top methods I use to this day."
1) Personalize the Press Release
Whenever possible find ways to personalize the press release. Here is a simple technique you can use:
Address the e-mail to the specific editor of the magazine. Instead of writing: "To the editors of the magazine" Take the extra step of searching the magazine's website for the name of the editor and address them accordingly.
2) Be prompt to an editor's request
Be prepared when the editors contact you. Many times an editor will want to contact you and ask some basic questions about your company. Another reason they might contact you would be to include your product in their next issue.
When this happens the editor will ask you for a 300 dpi photo of your product to be e-mailed to them so they can put it in the magazine. Through the years of doing e-mail press releases, I have learned to contact my suppliers before I send out a press release and ask them for a 300 dpi photo. I keep the photo(s) on file in a computer file folder marked 'editor's photos." They are easy to retrieve and since I already requested the picture ahead of time, I can just retrieve it from my file and send it to the editor
within minutes of the request.
3) Be consistent and patient while emailing the editors
It is very important to be consistent when you email the editors. Try to introduce a new product on a monthly to bi-monthly basis to the editors of the magazines. If you do it on a consistent basis before you know it, one of your products could be picked up in one of the magazines. It is also important to be patient with the process. You may not here anything for a few months and then all of a sudden you
will find out that a magazine picked up your press release and is running it. On average it takes print magazines a month to three months to print your press release. For online magazines you could have your press release picked up within days or weeks. That is why it is important to target both.
4) Website Focus
Make sure your site is focused on a specific category of products. I cannot stress this enough. The editors will often check to see if your site features products that are in the same category as your product press release. This is one of the key ways you can get free publicity for your products. Because when you send out a press release on a new product, the editors will check your site to make sure that you offer similar products. Once they see that you offer a wide range of products in this same category, you will greatly improve your chances for getting free publicity for your products and website.
She says it has been a dream come true to have two successful businesses and she really enjoys being able to share her success with others. Dianne has some helpful advice for individuals wanting to start their own internet business. 'Finding a niche is critical. Stay focused on one particular type of product or service. It is ideal to look for products that are not readily available on the internet or big box retailers. Keep your costs down in the beginning and do as much as you can on your own. Don't let anyone steal your dream of having your own successful online business. Believe in yourself, learn from people who have already achieved success and then take action!"