Having a winning marketing promotion plan or marketing communication plan is critically important regardless of whether your business is growing or facing challenging times. In fact, when business is slow, this is the time to try to gain market share and drive customer mindshare with focused marketing promotion strategies.
Promotion is one of the critical four P’s of the marketing mix – the others being Product, Price, and Place (Distribution). Get these four components right, and you’re well on your way to having a marketing strategy that will support and grow your business.
What is promotion? Here’s an easy definition:
Promotion is communicating with your target customers to try to influence them toward buying your products and/or services.
How is that different from advertising? Advertising is just one way you can choose to promote your product. There are other effective ways to do promotion also – many of them cheaper than paying for advertising space. A strong marketing promotion plan should use a combination of different methods. The key is to find the methods that are appropriate for your business, marketplace, and professional style.
In addition to advertising, here are a dozen other top tactics you can include in your marketing promotion plan to increase sales:
Depending on your product or service, you can give your customer a “free” small add-on bonus when they purchase a product or service from you. You see this a lot at retailers (get a free T-shirt if you buy two pairs of pants, etc). “While supplies last” or “for a limited time” can also be a good way to promote this.
Publish a regular newsletter to existing clients and opt-in prospects. You could either do this through the mail, or via email. A newsletter provides you an opportunity to show your expertise with informative articles, and keep your company foremost in the consciousness of your prospects.
A giveaway or a premium is a small gift that reminds your customer of you and your service. There are many options: key chains, coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets, baseball caps, paperweights – you can have them engraved, imprinted, silk-screened, or embroidered with your company name and contact information.
Giving potential customers a free way to sample your product or service is an excellent way to attract attention and make a positive impression. Make sure your free offer is being given to the specific target audience you want to reach.
Demonstrations are an option to attract people to your place of business or your website, and show them how to best use your product, and establish your credibility.
You should be able to find places where your target customers tend to go, where you could sign up to give a presentation, such as your local Chamber of Commerce, trade associations, interest groups, conferences, clubs or other organizations.
A good option is to write an article for a trade journal or online article site. You can then reprint it, and mail it to your customers, and prospects. This positions you as an expert, and is a particularly good promotion choice for a consulting business.
Do something to make customers (or any other group you particularly want to target) feel important and appreciated. One example is the airline frequent flyer club, but this can be adapted to almost any type of business.
These are usually most appropriate for a business-to-business marketing promotion plan. You have the option of either scheduling in-person seminars, or offering a webinar online.
For example, a cookware store might decide to sponsor cooking contests, inviting food editors, professional chefs, and cooking teachers to be judges. They could get publicity from announcements and publications of the winners and the winning recipes. The food editors, chefs and teachers might also mention or recommend them to their own clients.
For best results, offer a significant price break: 15 percent or more. By using a “coupon code”, you can also use this as a tool for evaluating advertising.
Donating your product or service to a charitable cause often results in positive exposure to community leaders, charity board members, PTAs, and civic groups. This works best if volunteers for that charity are potential customers.
First, make sure you really do have something newsworthy to say. If so, there are plenty of online resources available to help you in writing a press release that will get media and customer attention.
In addition to these ideas for your marketing promotion plan, take a look at this article with some winning internet marketing promotion strategy tips to successfully market your business online.