In this series of articles, we have been exploring the various sections needed to create a marketing plan that can take your business forward. Although many people think of a marketing plan as something relevant only for promotional purposes and for increasing brand recognition, there is much more to it than that. In part 7, we looked at marketing materials. In part 8, we explore promotional strategies.
A marketing plan effectively acts as a business plan – a road map that can show you which steps to take, and when to take them. A well-researched marketing plan will help you to grow your business. Whether you are a start-up or an established business, creating this document will open doors, helping you to find customers, suppliers, and (perhaps most importantly) investors.
Setting the Ground Work for Your Promotional Strategies
This is one of the most important sections in your marketing plan because it outlines how to reach your target audience – if you can’t reach your audience, you won’t make any sales. But, before you start this section of your marketing plan, you need to have completed two key tasks:
1. You must have researched your target audience and have a clear understanding of who they are.
At this stage, you should have the answers to a wide range of questions relating to your target audience, for instance:
- How old are they?
What type of content do they engage with?
Where can you find them (e.g., on social media platforms, through mailshots, by email, etc.)?
What language choice will pique their interests (e.g., informal, informational, spectacular, etc.)? We covered this in Part 2 of this series – if you don’t have the answers to this question, you need to revisit this section.
2. You must have outlined your budget.
Here, you should have a good understanding of your initial start-up budget (if you are launching a new product or business) and the percentage of that budget that you are able to set aside for your marketing project.
If you have an established business, then you must have set your marketing budget already.
What Are Promotional Strategies?
When thinking about this section of your marketing plan, a good place to start is by asking yourself, “What options do I have to promote my business?”.
Your promotional strategy is about finding the promotional methods and techniques that will reach your target audience and attract them to your product.
Promotional methods are the platforms you use to reach your target audience e.g., television advertising, digital marketing, etc.
Promotional techniques are the details of the promotion, e.g., video content, blogs, discount codes, giveaways, etc.
You can combine techniques and methods in different ways. For example, you could run a TV advert with video content outlining the product and include a discount code.
Ideas for Promotional Methods and Promotional Techniques
We are fortunate to live in a time where there are many different promotional approaches available to suit a range of budgets and business goals. Options include:
Online advertising (e.g. Google Ads and social media advertising)
Television, radio, and billboards
Trade shows – as an aside, they usually offer “marketing packages” where you send over relevant information that they then upload to their sites, across their social media accounts, and in their publications. £££This is normally free, so take advantage of it£££.
Let’s now explore some of these methods and techniques in more depth. When making your choice, think about which ones are most effective for your target audience that fall within budget and time constraints.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Reddit, provide businesses with a fantastic opportunity to promote their products. Most platforms allow you to create targeted adverts, making it much easier to reach your audience.
Customers often like this approach because it provides them with the opportunity to interact with your business. Use these platforms to showcase your product, offer discounts, and trigger discussions. You can learn A LOT from these discussions, e.g., where you might need to tweak your product to make it more attractive.
For ideas to maximize the use of your digital marketing campaigns, take a look at some of your (successful) competitors and see how they do it.
We explore online marketing in greater depth in the next article, so make sure that you check it out for further help and advice.
Giveaways are an incredibly popular promotional strategy and that’s because they work. These are great for getting a new product out there in the world. People are invariably interested in getting things for free so giveaways will pique their interest and make them more familiar with your brand. Even if they don’t win, they will have a greater awareness of your product.
This strategy works well both on social media and at trade and networking events. Word starts to spread and people start talking about your business. They want to engage with you, either by visiting your stall or by sharing your page.
Referrals are a great way to enhance customer loyalty and attract new customers. Offering discounts and freebies to customers who refer new people your way is a tried and tested method in marketing. Your customers feel rewarded for their custom and new people develop a positive outlook of your brand – your brand is one that cares about its customers.
Great Customer Services
The benefits of great customer services are often overlooked by businesses. Here’s a great video of Jeff Bezos outlining the importance of looking after your customers:
This is definitely something that warrants further research. Take a look at the Amazon model in relation to its customers.
There are many ways to enhance customer services. Here are a few ideas:
After-sales surveys: find out what they like and dislike about your product and services and make changes where necessary.
Review section: provide a review section and make sure that it’s impartial and that you address complaints and concerns quickly.
Contact: make it easy for your customers to reach you.
Keep them updated: send them order receipts early and regular updates on purchases, including delivery times. Amazon even lets you track the driver to see how far away they are from your house!
Deescalate: always try to soothe angry customers by offering them workable solutions to the issue they’re raising.
Your promotional strategies are integral to the success of your business. You must spend time thinking about the type of content that your target demographic will respond to and offer them relevant promotions in the right places.