We’ve all been there: Stuck trying to figure out what kind of promotion to run to showcase your new product, show off your studio or salon, or when you really need to get rid of some perishable products.
Where do you start? Much like with everything else, it begins with your customers. These handy tips – like using the correct channels – can help optimize your promotions to get your business flourishing.
Go Where Your Customers Are
Don’t just create a promotion for the sake of it. A promotion is a way for your business to add value to customers or potential customers.
A simple way to think about it is to put yourself in their shoes – after all, we’re consumers as well. Ask yourself whether you would really go out of your way for this promotion. If your answer is yes, then you’ve got the hallmark of a good promotion.
I’ve worked with many businesses in my day that would want to do a promotion. “I want it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, everywhere!” They’d demand. “This is the next greatest thing since sliced bread!” Apparently.
And it probably was, they had some great innovation, but just “sticking it everywhere” won’t help the customer connect in the same way.
Consider where your potential customers interact online: A post on Facebook is easily shareable, but lacks localization.
Consider running a week-long ad through your Facebook business page with some audience targeting (location, interests and other demographics). You can cross-promote it to Instagram, since they probably hang out there, too.
Are they a typically younger set? Discover ways that small businesses can connect with them on TikTok.
Want an even more direct route? Automate a personalized text message for your current customers that they can forward to their friends with a link to your website (luckily Thryv has you covered on this channel).
Make It Tangible … and Maybe Viral
Sticking a “Get 10% Off” promotion on your Facebook wall may reach a lot of people, but it is likely not reaching the right customers, or creating the vaunted “word of mouth” that you’re seeking from a promotion like this.
Instead, try something more tangible: A cash-back offer, a printed t-shirt or even a coveted gift (with your logo, of course) included in the purchase. These types of items often mean more to them than a simple discount.
These types of items get people talking – and in a world that’s ever more digital, it’s a great way for your business to stand out from the crowd.
But you’re not done yet. Ask customers who receive the t-shirt or gift to post a photo of themselves with it on their social media and tag your business (don’t forget to give them all of your social media handles).
Put a deadline on this posting activity and offer a reward or drawing for a gift for those who play along. (This is where your 20% off discount can come in handy!)
Plus, you’ll accomplish two things: You’ll find out their preferred social space and you’ll get some highly valuable user-generated content. What could be better than customers who are happy to promote your business for you?
Consider Old-School Methods, Too
Finding the right channel or spin for your promotion can be the difference between achieving your bottom line or giving away too much for nothing.
Don’t overlook traditional marketing methods. While it may seem like nobody sends postcards anymore, COVID-19 has people spending a lot more time at home (among other interesting trends).
Sending a direct mail piece to local customers helps your business get discovered while promoting a new product or service.
The Most Important Step …
Running a promotion is a great way to take advantage of your digital assets. I have worked with businesses on their promotions in the past and the biggest faux pas was the old “fishbowl competition.”
You know the drill: A business offers a prize for anyone who drops a business card into the fishbowl, and after say, a month, they draw a name from the fishbowl and there’s the lucky winner!
It’s one way to collect customer data to help with further promotions and communications down the line.
However, most businesses skip the second – and most important – step. Entering all that data! It’s a time-draining exercise, and I know a few business owners who came back to work with a few lost locks of hair from trying to read tiny print all night.
Beyond the Promo
Nowadays, there are more efficient ways to gather customer data, but the incentive remains the same. If you have a lot of phone numbers but no email addresses – or vice versa – it could be a great way to improve your data and build your customer database.
Asking someone to complete their profile in exchange for a chance to win a prize is a great incentive. Plus, it’s an invaluable process for you. Choose your weapon – SMS text or email – to reach those customers and ask them to complete their contact info digitally.
With a healthy database paired with a customer relationship management tool, or CRM, you can centralize all of your interaction with customers.
You’ve got access to email communications, estimates and invoices, online appointment scheduling and – of course – more efficient ways to send promotions utilizing automated marketing tools.
Ultimately, running a promotion comes down to what you want to achieve. These tactics can help you find new customers, create deeper relationships with current customers and build long-term growth for your business.