It’s all well and good to have a great product or service, but it won’t be very successful if people don’t know about it!
This is where the last component of the marketing mix comes into play. Promotion is all about delivering influential and targeted messages to key markets. You may use different promotional strategies to achieve certain business goals or to capitalise on opportunities as they present themselves. Here are many some of the ways you can promote your products or services.
Paid advertising encompasses all kinds of mass communication promotion, through TV, radio, online, in newspapers and magazines. Advertising can be extremely useful as it can reach wide audiences and it allows you to have control over the messages you distribute to your audience. The downside to advertising is its expense. Many forms of paid advertising, namely TV, radio and billboard advertising, can be very costly. Advertising online or in local newspapers or magazines may be more cost effective options to reach large audiences, on a small budget.
Posters and flyers are examples of traditional print media that can be used to promote your products and services. They are often created for special events or promotions. You can design these yourself or employ a graphic designer to create them for you. Just make sure they are eye-catching, creative, easy to read and well distributed.
Having small promotional items can be a fun and interesting way to promote your product or practice. Businesses sometimes offer free items to customers (such as pens, badges, USB flash drives, magnets, t-shirts or stickers) to encourage brand recognition and to increase the probability of re-purchasing at a later date. If you choose to make small promotional items, try to pick something that fits with your business branding and style.
One of the cheapest ways to get people to notice your products or services is to get your story published by the media. You can do this by creating a media release or press release. This is a document that is created with the purpose of pitching a newsworthy story to the media.
Having an online presence is highly recommended for any small business or new project. Websites, social media platforms and blogs all have the potential to attract new customers and assist in keeping in touch with existing customers. Promoting your business online is also relatively inexpensive, so it is perfect for those with limited budgets.
Websites and Blogs
Having your own website or blog allows you to promote your business online, with more control over content and layout comparative to social media platforms. It is also possible to use your website or blog to sell products, take bookings, sell tickets or allow people to make enquiries.
The cost of a website or blog will depend on a number of factors, including the complexity of the site and how much you are willing to set up yourself. Sites such as ‘Wordpress’, ‘Blogger’ or ‘Blogspot’ are great tools to use if you don’t want to pay a great deal to set up a basic site.
It is also possible to create a custom domain so that your blog can act as a personalised website. Rather than being in the format “www.myartsproject.blogger.com” a custom domain allows you to drop the hosting site from the URL. This looks more professional and comes at a small cost but having your own domain name will help to differentiate you from recreational bloggers.
If you’re looking for something a bit more complex, you can employ a web development company or freelancer to set up a site for you.
Here are some things to consider when putting together a website or blog:
If you’ve got lots of spelling or grammatical errors on your site it can look unprofessional. If writing isn’t your strong point, get a friend to check it over or use spell check before you post anything up!
The online world is a visual one and good design will go a long way to drawing attention to your work and making your site user friendly. Consider things like text size, colour schemes, white space and images when designing your site.
Can you manage your online presence yourself or will you need help? If time management is an issue or if you don’t feel confident online then it might be wise to seek outside help from a web designer, attend a short course or watch some online tutorials.
Social media platforms, used effectively, can help you to engage positively with customers, promote your brand, and advertise events, special offers or news.
With sites such as facebook, google +, twitter or instagram, people must opt in to receive your updates. This means that you will most likely be reaching consumers who are already interested in your products, making social media sites the perfect platform for keeping in touch with your followers.
Here are some things to remember when using social media to promote your business:
Always consider your target markets when considering the information you post online.
Make sure you keep your social media platforms up to date and respond to any requests or questions.
Moderate your time online. It’s very easy to spend hours on social media and forget about your other work. If you’re prone to getting carried away, set yourself a time limit and stick to it.
Avoid bombarding your followers with too much information in a short period of time.
Be sure to balance out your promotional plugs with some industry news or content relevant to your audience to keep people interested.
Social media isn’t for everyone. Just because other businesses have used social media effectively, doesn’t necessarily mean you should too. Consider whether social media will fit in with your marketing strategies, and will reach your target audiences before you commit.
Organisations such as Propel, Creative Crops, Show Me Perth, Enjoy Perth, Tourism WA and Eventfinder, have the facilities for you to upload your own business listing, artist listing, event or news to their websites. It’s easy to do, and it’s great free promotion!
Word of Mouth
A personal recommendation from a friend or relative will always be more persuasive than any volume of advertising and promotion. So how do you generate positive word of mouth?
Be ready to talk about your business in a positive, exciting and interesting way.
Let your products or services do the talking! Create unusual and extraordinary items that excite your customers.
Use creative and innovative ideas to get people thinking or discussing your goods or services (e.g. run a competition, create a short promotional clip or give away unique promotional merchandise).
Create a positive user experience. Good customer service goes a long way!
Take all feedback on board and use it as an opportunity to learn more about your customers.