Switch2Health’s HARO Success Story: We Sold Out in Two Weeks!
“It was June when HARO got us into Better Homes and Gardens,” recalls Goutham Bhadri, VP of Business Development at Switch2Health. “We’d just released our new product, the S2H STEP. When our coverage appeared in the magazine, our whole production run sold out in two weeks.”
Switch2Health had a fascinating product and story but little money to publicize it. The business is a loyalty program for health. In 2010, they launched the S2H REPLAY, a device that tracks a wearer’s physical activity and distributes rewards for it. By running or walking, wearers can earn rewards ranging from Sports Authority gift cards to spa vouchers.
“When our coverage appeared, the whole production run sold out in two weeks.”
“We had no marketing budget,” says Goutham. “We had no PR background. But we had a new product, and so we signed up as a HARO source and began pitching in response to every relevant reporter query: requests for unique gifts, health devices, fitness stories – anything like that. We soon caught the interest of Dan Tynan at Family Circle magazine, who was looking for unique back-to-school gadgets. After we sent him product samples and images, he emailed and told us we were going to be in the next edition.
“On the day the article ran, we had hundreds of enquiries from people asking about the product. How did it work? What were the rewards? We had a huge spike in interest and sales – for a small business like ours, it made a critical difference. From that point, I was hooked on HARO.”
As Goutham continued to reply to HARO queries, the team’s success began to grow.
“We kept pitching,” he says. “We actually got more members of the team pitching so we could respond as quickly as possible. We got another big hit: Better Homes and Gardens featured our new S2H STEP pedometer. When that article circulated – and Better Homes has a readership of millions – the whole production run sold out completely in two weeks.”
“We had so many new customers,” he smiles, “we had to create a waiting list. Now, we order more inventory when we know we’re getting HARO publicity.”
The growth didn’t stop there. Goutham compiled the increasingly high-profile media coverage he’d got through HARO and began using it for his marketing communications.
“When we do a promotion to our Facebook fans or our email list, we promote our news coverage. It’s a content marketing strategy which creates a secondary sales boost and also helps us position ourselves as a fast-growing company. In fact, it recently helped us get a slot for our STEP product on QVC. They asked to see our track record of media coverage. When we showed them everything we had, they put in a purchase order and booked us for a seven-minute feature, airing this month. It’s going to be a great day.”
“Now, we order more inventory when we know we’re getting HARO publicity.”
“I really can’t think of any other form of marketing that allows a small business to generate the sort of impact HARO does,” Goutham says. “You get access to some of the leading reporters from the biggest newspapers, magazines, TV shows, and they’re looking for your news. It creates a completely level playing field. You don’t need to be inside a particular PR network. You just have to be a business with a good story.”
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