LOOKING FORWARD TO 2024

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2024

We are once again in the middle of the busy holiday season and in between celebrations and completing tasks before the end of the year, I believe it is important to take a breath and appreciate all the good things in life. As I look back at this year, I am so thankful for ‘Team LFPR’ and our wonderful clients. My team of young, talented and energetic professionals inspire me every day and the supportive and lively culture we have developed is a real blessing. I am also deeply grateful to all our clients who entrust us with their marketing programs.

2024 will mark fifteen years since I emigrated from London, England to the Coastal Empire and thirteen years since I set up LFPR. It is amazing to think how LFPR has developed since then. We have a range of wonderful clients in education and government, businesses and nonprofit organizations and I am proud that we still donate 20% of our billable time to nonprofits. What began as just me and one marketing assistant doing traditional media relations, crisis management, copywriting and strategic counsel has grown more than I imagined. With six full-time staff and three part-time remote workers, including James, our new web developer, we have become a full-service marketing agency. While we still offer these traditional services to create narratives for our clients’ brands and organizations, we are now highly focused on marketing for the digital age. From website development, SEO/SEM Services, online and digital marketing and comprehensive social media programs we are well placed to maximize our clients’ online presence. Another area of growth for LFPR is graphic design and content creation – including videography and photography as well as event organization and promotion: we love taking a vision and using our expertise to develop creative solutions in partnership with our fabulous clients.

I could not be more excited about the next chapter in the LFPR story. Wishing everybody a Happy and Healthy New Year!

BLOG – MARCH 2023 – MARKETING TIPS FOR BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONALS

BLOG – MARCH 2023 – MARKETING TIPS FOR BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONALS

By Lesley Francis

blog-march2023

In our fast changing world, marketing is one sector when staying abreast of change and ideally ahead of the curve can make a big difference to the success of your business. For small businesses and independent professionals, who are already usually slammed just doing their job, it can be overwhelming. It is important to avoid the temptation to either ignore the need for it or undertake lots of different promotional activities – without enough strategic direction or planning.

People often say that they have plenty of business and don’t have the time to worry about marketing. I would challenge you to look closely and honestly assess if the business you have if the type you want you want and provides you with a good return on investment (ROI). If it is then I am sincerely pleased for you as clearly your marketing words – whether this is via word of mouth/online customer endorsement, traditional or online advertising campaigns, public relations, a fantastic website, information dissemination via third parties or any combinations of these. I would just counsel you to ensure that this remains true as your business matures, and the economy evolves.

I am often asked for some marketing tips so there are some starting points for you to consider whether you or a trust employee has the expertise and time to dedicate to marketing programs. Here are my top five tips:

  1. Focus on your website and online presence. Your website, google listing and other online presence such as social media can generate high quality inquiries, phone calls and sales. People use the internet to check out businesses – usually from their smartphones so your website needs to be up to date. You would be surprised how many businesses forget to update opening hours, contact information or even their address! Your website has the power to increase or decrease every other marketing activity. Have the best website you can afford and make sure it is mobile friendly. WordPress has great templates that are simple to update and easy for customers to navigate which is why it is our platform of choice at LFPR.
  2. Search Engine Optimization or Marketing (SEO and SEM) improves your search engine rankings so customers can find you first when they search online, and the quality and quantity of your website traffic improves. Remember mobile searching is far more common than desktop searching now and update you’re website regularly with blogs and special offers. Think about ‘keyword analysis’; what are the top key words for your business and try to use these on your website. Remember that localized website content will help as well.
  3. Google Listings and Positive Reviews. First make sure you have your business and kept your Google listing updated – you will need to sign up for this online. Research your competition so you know what offers, guarantees, and prices you are up against in order to make your business attractive. Identify and promote your USP (unique selling point) such as service, quality, longevity, but try to differentiate yourself from your competitors. The most powerful endorsements are from other people so ask your customers to provide positive reviews which can be used on your website and online promotional tools.
  4. How is Your Elevator Pitch? Do you have a clear, brief message that is typically about 30 seconds – the time it takes people to ride from the top to the bottom in an elevator. Get comfortable with what you have to say so you can breeze through it when the time comes and don’t bore people and always be politically correct and empathic. Remember to keep it up-to-date, especially after all the changes we have all experienced over the last three years. Looking at my own business, when I founded LFPR twelve years ago, our focus was very much on traditional public relations. Now we are a full-service marketing agency with expertise and experience in website building, social media programs, online advertising and promotion as well as the excellent media relations and crisis management services we have always offered.
  5. Make Sure Your Social Media Strategy is Working. Identify the most important social media platforms that align with your customer base. Facebook is the biggest and most popular, but Instagram becomes more important every day and attracts a bigger and more mainstream audience every day – not just young people Images and videos are powerful and popular but

Source: Richmond Hill Neighbors magazine | Issue March 2023 | Page 22

Keep Up With LFPR
Website:
www.lesleyfrancispr.com

Email: info@lesleyfrancispr.com
Phone: 912-417-5377
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @lesleyfrancispr

LFPR is a full-service marketing agency offering a full range of event management and promotion as well as graphic design, website development and digital promotion, social media services, advertising and ruble relations.

BLOG – JANUARY 2023 – CRISIS AND ISSUES MANAGEMENT

BLOG – JANUARY 2023 – CRISIS AND ISSUES MANAGEMENT

By Kristyn Beasley, VP of Marketing

blog-jan2023
So, everybody hopes that they will never see or hear that terrible media article or broadcast about their business, or a critical social media post that goes viral, but it happens more often than many people thin. Even though the majority of businesses are ethical and focus on customer satisfaction, it only takes one unlucky event, bad decision, duplicitous employee, or even an unhappy customer to push you into crisis mode. If you think about it, however conscientious you might be, it is impossible for business owners and leaders to be all-seeing and all-knowing, especially when it comes to employees. Honestly, if you have never been “burned” by or disappointed in an employee, and if personnel have never lied to you or withheld information, you are fortunate. Those type of employees typically don’t last long, which is one of the reasons all new LFPR team members are subject to a three-month trial period, both ways, in case it is not a “good fit”. We have been very fortunate with our team at LFPR, but it happens. Crisis management if defined as “the process by which a business or other organizations deals with a. sudden emergency situation.” At LFPR we offer issues and crisis management services and there have been frequent times over the years when we have received an emergency call from organizations, businesses and individuals who are not clients but who have a criss and need help immediately. Nightmare, right? By definition a crisis is unpredictable and low-probability but when it happens it can cause significant negative effects to a business or professional which can take tears to overcome or cause a business to fail. This is much more likely when crisis management is reactive, or in other words the reaction is knee-jerk or panic driven and appears defensive. However, speedy responses are vital and “no comment” is not much better than a defensive and emotional reaction, as it is often interpreted as implying guilt. The best outcomes are when companies have already invested in issues management and have a plan in place – which is what LFPR does for our clients. This plan includes an agreed course of action including who should be the company spokesperson, with one backup in case that person is unavailable due to travel or sickness. These individuals should have had media training and either an agency or in-house expert to handle drawing the media statements, questions and answers, and field interview requests from the media. It is vital that everybody else in the business knows to be polite and courteous to inquiries about the issue but not get drawn into discussion. Even the best-intended statements by the person who answers the phone at your office can be used in a negative way. Taking a detailed message, contact information, and making sure that the spokesperson or PR agency does get in touch quickly is vital. Also, remember that the media are just doing their job to the best of their ability. Journalists have a commitment to comprehensive reporting and serving the public as a watchdog so don’t take their interest in your misfortune personally. They are trying to give you a chance to explain your side of the story. What if you don’t have na issues management plan in place? All is not lost. Do not stick your head int he sand and hope it will go away and above all do not throw fuel on the fire. There are times when it is better to let critical social media pass or just politely answer once. ALWAYS take a breath and if possible, get professional advice. Tackling a crisis early on is best and is known as pre-emptive crisis management, which seeks to prevent or resolve a crisis as it emerges. Proactive crisis management is when organizations take the initiative early int he crisis and work to shape how events unfold. Don’t despair if there is little warning of a crisis; responsive crisis management can be thoughtful and quick and significantly improve the outcome for your reputation. Source: Richmond Hill Neighbors magazine | Issue January 2023 | Page 22

Keep Up With LFPR
Website:
www.lesleyfrancispr.com

Email: info@lesleyfrancispr.com
Phone: 912-417-5377
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @lesleyfrancispr

LFPR is a full-service marketing agency offering a full range of event management and promotion as well as graphic design, website development and digital promotion, social media services, advertising and ruble relations.

BLOG – NOVEMBER 2022 – FOCUSING ON SUCCESSFUL EVENTS

BLOG – NOVEMBER 2022 – FOCUSING ON SUCCESSFUL EVENTS

By Allie Robinson, Account Director

blog-nov2022

At the time of writing, LFPR is in the middle of helping our clients with “event season”. Form galas to ribbon cuttings and grand openings, we partner with our clients to ensure their events are successful and reinforce brand messages and are synergistic with other marketing initiatives. Events need to deliver a Return on Investment (ROI) and exceed expectations. Although events are coming back strong after the pandemic, many people are more selective abut what they will attend, slower to RSVP and still value their downtime at home. So, what does this mean for event organization and promotion? 

First, set objectives and a budget. Access if your organization really needs to have a big gala or is something casual and low key more appropriate? Will the event be held in person, virtually, or both? What are you looking to achieve? Community awareness? New clients or supporters? Fundraising? Sharing knowledge with attendees? Extensive media coverage? Often events are multifaceted with a range of goals so prioritize these and be vigilant about ensuring these are met; be prepared to discard confusing or superfluous details. 

Next, do your research – make sure that you have costed for every aspect, check community calendars to maker sure you are not competing with similar events in the wider region, such as a fun run of a fundraising gala as people only have a limited amount of time and disposable income. Plan for and budget for the unexpected – such as severe weather causing plans to be moved inside, canceled, or postponed. 

Have a clear and concise plan. Everyone who has a hand in the event needs to be on the same page and know exactly what is going to happen when. It is helpful to create shared documents that everyone on the team can update when event details are confirmed. Examples of different organizational documents could include an expense spreadsheet, an itinerary of the event, or a shared folder with all event designs in it for promotion. This will help your team understand what is accomplished, what still needs to be done, and what the plans are for the event. It is also important that each event team member has a clear and distinct role in the planning process. Different roles include planning vendors, fingering out logistics, a media promotion team, and someone who can develop design concepts to promote the event. Having members understand that they have a clear role int he process avoids one member of the team getting overwhelmed and covers all your bases. When starting to plan an event, it is good to have roles spelled out and assigned, creating documents to keep the team organized, and keeping open communication between all parties. 

Media promotion is vital to having a successful event, and I’m not just saying that because I work in public relations. Media coverage helps make people become aware of the event and creates genuine interest. LFPR not only has the expertise to help with all this detailed planning and keep our clients on track, but we are very focused on how to make the news. What is the point of a ribbon cutting or launch if nobody hears about it before and after it has take place? You may choose to spend a lot of money on advertising the event, but it is perceived more positively when the media coverage is editorial – meaning that the editor, broadcaster or online influence is writing independently because they are convinced that it is of genuine interest to their audiences. It is important that your event gets genuine coverage that generates a positive buzz about the event. 

Always have a Backup Plan! In this region, you never know what the weather will do until it happens. That’s why it is crucial to have a back up plan and a backup tot he backup place. If you know your event is outside, consider renting a tent or having a secondary location that is ready to go int he event of bad weather. If for any reason you need to postpone or cancel the event, make sure you communicate with all the attendees and the media that the event has been canceled so they know not to show up or know where they are supposed to go. 

After the event is complete, the work is not over. Meet with your team to evaluate the event; discuss the strengths and weaknesses in your process and the event itself. Then, take what you discussed and remember those things when planning your next event. 

Planning an event can be a great way to shed a positive light on your business or organization and meet marketing objectives at the same time. It is crucial to assemble a great team, establish clear roles, have a clear plan, keep open communication, and promote your event in the best ways possible.

Source: Richmond Hill Neighbors magazine | Issue November 2022 | Page 26

Keep Up With LFPR
Website:
www.lesleyfrancispr.com

Email: info@lesleyfrancispr.com
Phone: 912-417-5377
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @lesleyfrancispr

LFPR is a full-service marketing agency offering a full range of event management and promotion as well as graphic design, website development and digital promotion, social media services, advertising and ruble relations.

BLOG – SEPTEMBER 2022 – DIGITAL MARKETING

Blogs

By Shelby McKee, VP of Digital Design

blog-sept2022

Many business people are very confident about their knowledge and expertise in their own sector but when it comes to digital design and marketing, they are often out of date and confused. We hear comments like, “We gave it to the intern to design” or “I paid good money for a website five years ago”. Imagine letting a junior mechanic make important repairs to your car, or not servicing or even changing the oil in your car for years at a time. You wouldn’t dream of doing that, so why do so many businesses ignore their online presence? There is nothing more likely to put off potential customers than seeing a neglected, unprofessional website with out-of-date information. Your online presence today is yesterday’s shop window. In today’s world, especially since COVID-19, people immediately search online for information about a business, and are quick to consider or dismiss the business depending on what they see online. 

So, what is digital marketing? Digital marketing starts with a great website. This is the place that your target audience, potential clients and customers will go when they want to learn more. It needs to be crisp, clear, compelling, and represent your organization’s look and feel and tone. Your website should be user-friendly, accessible and fast, so that anyone who visits your website has a positive experience. It should visually tie together all the other strands of your well-thought-out marketing campaign. And these days it absolutely must be fully optimized for mobile users, as more people check websites on their cell phone than a computer. We all have the frustrating experience of trying to navigate a traditional “desktop” website on your smartphone! Devote resources to your website, spend time on its content, spend as much as you can afford and keep it updated. 

A good, solid social media presence comes next, Being not he right platforms for your target audiences (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Pinterest, etc.) is key to getting widespread engagement for your business or organization. We also recommend featuring a live feed of your social media posts directly on your website. For example, your website can include a vibrant gallery of your latest Instagram posts. This builds trust with your audience and provides a more dynamic and engaging experience. And don’t forget customer reviews and positive recommendations and testimonials – people want to know what other peoples’ experiences have been with you. 

Remember when we used to get excited to receive a newsletter or update from an organization or business by email rather than in the old-fashioned mail? Now, many people are overwhelmed by the number of these that they receive so while these online communications are very powerful marketing tools, they need to be targeted, offer valuable information to the recipients, be sent with people’s consent and not be too frequent or you will be blocked forever!

All these digital marketing needs should come together in a way that maximizes exposure in the right places. We do this for our clients in a number of ways:

  • Social media marketing
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Search engine marketing (SEM)
  • Content marketing
  • Influencer marketing
  • Content automation
  • Data-driven marketing and many more.

In our view, the best digital marketing campaigns tie closely into our more traditional media outlets, including print, broadcast, and event management. Remember, for ANY type of marketing to be successful, it needs to reach enough of the right target audiences enough times with a message that convinces and prompts the desired action, change in behavior or opinions. 

LFPR is a full-service marketing agency offering a full range of website development and online promotion as well as traditional graphic design, social media services, advertising and public relations. 

Source: Richmond Hill Neighbors magazine | Issue September 2022 | Page 25

Keep Up With LFPR
Website:
www.lesleyfrancispr.com

Email: info@lesleyfrancispr.com
Phone: 912-417-5377
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter: @lesleyfrancispr

LESLEY FRANCIS ON THE ROLE OF PR & MARKETING

Lesley Francis

on the role of public relations and marketing

Lesley Francis

on the role of public relations and marketing

Lesley Francis is the CEO of Lesley Francis PR. She talks about having a strategic plan with your advertising and public relations and understanding the difference between the two.

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

BLOG – JUNE 2022 – SUMMER NEWS

Here is summer, which – other than the worry about hurricanes – is one of my favorite times of the year, with long evenings and the chance to go the beach or enjoy the pool at weekends. It was great fun hosting our annual LFPR pool party last weekend for our dedicated employees and family members as we celebrate our 11th year in business.

Joy and celebrations are important at LFPR because we all work hard, and the mutual support and teamwork I see every day at our company is something I really value. Team LFPR loved attending the wonderful wedding of our recently promoted account director, Kristyn Fielding, as she became Kristyn Beasley. Talking of promotions, Allie Robinson, a two-year LFPR veteran and former senior account executive, is now an account manager. We formally welcomed Emily Vonck, who served as the agency’s spring 2022 intern, to the team as our new full-time marketing assistant. We are also enjoying having Caroline Boykin working with us as our summer intern. We wish Crystal Vogel and Hollie Barnidge all the best and thank them for their hard work over the years as they leave LFPR.

One of the biggest growth areas for LFPR’s marketing services is in our online work, and to recognize her contributions to it, Shelby McKee has been promoted to digital design director. She manages the design of responsive, user-friendly websites, as well as branding, digital and print materials, while tracking and analyzing website performance metrics and user engagement to make effective and data-driven design decisions. Zack Adams also joins us as our part-time website developer, and we are thrilled to have his technical expertise on our team. Every staff member is dedicated to this company, its success, and the clients we serve, as is evidenced by the quality work they produce and their wonderful attitudes. I am proud to offer these well-deserved promotions and excited to watch their careers continue to grow.  

 Check out some recent new websites we have built for our clients:

One of the things that I really value at LFPR is the long working relationships we enjoy with our clients. As the 10th annual Savannah VOICE Festival (SVF) is approaching this August, I look back at how LFPR worked closely with SVF over the years to build the profile of this amazing celebration of the voice! Looking back at some other wonderful client events and initiatives earlier this year, we were thrilled to be the media partners for Historic Savannah Foundation’s Preservation Month in May, Savannah African Art Museum’s Juneteenth celebration and the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire’s Pooler Run for Heroes.  LFPR also partnered with the Savannah Challenger, a premiere professional tennis event presented by St. Joseph’s/Candler and hosted by the Landings Club at the Franklin Creek Tennis Center on Skidaway Island, which returned for its 12th annual year after a break due to the pandemic.  Turning to education, we wrapped up another school year supporting Savannah’s only K-12 charter school, Savannah Classical Academy, with event and marketing services.  Looking to the business world, Georgia Tech-Savannah’s first breakfast Learners and Leaders seminar was well-attended in person and online, and the panel and discussions about the hot topic of supply chain and logistics were of the highest caliber.

Until next time, take care and enjoy your summer!

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

ANOTHER GROUNDHOG DAY

Here we are already one-twelfth of the way through 2022 and according to Punxsutawney Phil, the world’s most famous groundhog, we can all look forward to another six weeks of winter. If only we could say the same for the shadow of COVID-19, which shows no sign of ending any time soon. 

In spite of that, there has been much to celebrate at LFPR, including the wedding of our senior account executive, Allie Robinson – who does not have to go through the hassle of changing her name as she married Austin Robinson (no relation, of course). It was a beautiful occasion and team LFPR were lucky enough to be there on her big day. We are looking forward to our senior account manager’s wedding date in April as Kristyn Fielding will become Kristyn Beasley.  

We welcomed a new website developer, Shelby McKee, to our team, and she is doing a great job. We are also enjoying having our new spring intern, Emily Vonck, working with us part-time as she completes her studies at Georgia Southern University. Looking back to the holiday season, LFPR was proud to support the Salvation Army by volunteering to ring the iconic red kettle bell to help raise vital funds for the organization’s annual fundraiser that supports local families and individuals in need. Team LFPR was also a media sponsor for nonprofit organization Combat Boots to the Boardroom’s second annual gala just before Thanksgiving. We also worked with our client, Beyond The Bell, for the grand opening and ribbon-cutting of their new Macon location.

Our clients are forging ahead with plans for 2022 and we are partnering with them to raise awareness for some exciting initiatives. Savannah African Art Museum is celebrating Black Heritage Month with a series of workshops and a brand new exhibit which explores the importance of cowrie shells in African culture. LFPR has worked with the 200 Club of the Coastal Empire for eight years, and we are delighted that President Mark Dana has agreed to become the nonprofit organization’s first full time president and CEO. Look out for media coverage about the Valor Awards on Feb. 10. Looking forward, Historic Savannah Foundation is planning for the launch of their affordable housing initiative later this month and March’s Women in Preservation Month observance. Georgia Tech-Savannah is planning a full season of OSHA training classes and in-person summer school. 

We have recently been contracted to work with American Veteran Properties here in Richmond Hill (check out their new website built by LFPR at americanveteranproperties.com). Talking of websites, our own website now has a brand new look and feel.  We are also enjoying working again with Bill Eberlein, shark tooth diver and owner of Megateeth! Check out his Instagram account and in-depth features in Connect newspaper and Liberty and Richmond Hill Neighbors magazines.

Until next time, take care and wishing you all health and happiness for 2022.