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Industry professionals use business promotion to get more attention for their products, services, and brands. Promotional strategies may answer the question, “How do you get your offerings in front of people?” Steps like creating a cohesive message and identifying a target audience to receive it are just two parts of a more comprehensive promotion plan you can implement with your company.

What Is Business Promotion?

Business promotion is a broad marketing term that includes all methods companies use to promote visibility for products, services, events, and brands. It includes concepts like advertisements, efforts like campaigns, and items like branded giveaway products. There are multiple categories into which your promotions can fall, including:

  • Personal selling: Consumer and company relationship building tactics, such as trust and loyalty, through marketing, sales, and customer service
  • Sales promotions: Discounts, giveaways, free services, contests, and coupons
  • Public relations: Planned efforts, such as sponsoring a charity fun run, to maintain a positive brand image with the public as a whole
  • Above the line promotions: Traditional and online advertising

Promotion vs. Advertising

While some marketing and finance teams may use the terms promotion and advertising interchangeably, they aren’t the same thing. Advertising is one specific type of promotion. It’s a single action you take to promote a product or service. Generally, advertising refers to controlled or paid media messages. In contrast, promotion is the sum of all efforts your company undertakes to increase consumer awareness of its products and services.

Types of Business Promotion

There are many types of real-world and virtual promotions a business can use to bring awareness to a company and include them in a marketing plan. Some include:

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Business Documents

Business documents like business cards can help with networking. The small contact cards provide information about individual employees and the company as a whole. Other types of business documents used in promotion include branded letterheads and customized email signatures.

Charity Events

Charity events, or any events, are great venues for promotion. You can host your own event, sponsor one, or attend as a vendor. Taking part in community or large-scale events gives you the space to interact with the public and promote yourself in a way that isn’t intrusive into their lives.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing promotions target specific audience members. The strategy uses tools like email newsletters and direct-to-home mailers. The point is to reach the audience where they are rather than getting them to come to you.

Discounts

Whether it’s a promo code, coupon, or word-of-mouth promotion, offering free services or discounts can be a way to promote your business. Offering these incentives can help draw new customers to your company. They may feel like they can try your products or receive a deal before committing to being a loyal customer.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a common tool for people interviewing for jobs, but it’s also helpful for business promotion. The short two- or three-sentence pitch tells the most important details of what your business does and how it helps or solves problems for customers. The owner, the marketing department, or a collaboration team may create the pitch. Use it at networking events, trade shows, or anywhere that can help you capture leads.

Face-to-Face Selling

Face-to-face selling is when you put your salespeople out into the world to promote your products. Consider the employees who distribute food samples at stores like Sam’s Club or Costco. They’re engaging in face-to-face selling. So are the employees at mall kiosks who give product demonstrations. Telemarketing is also a type of face-to-face selling because it requires real-time interaction between two or more people.

men sitting at wooden slat table with hands and yellow legal pads visible

Image via Unsplash by @dylandgillis

Flyers

Flyers can be helpful promotional tools for small and neighborhood businesses. Put them in mailboxes, hang them on community bulletin boards, or display them in shop windows. Other distribution options include putting them in customer bags at checkout or providing a table of community flyers at your shop for people to browse and take at their leisure.

Google My Business Account

You may think of Google as a search engine, but it’s also a business directory. Tools like Google My Business allow you to get your company listed on the platform’s maps and search features. It also lets you optimize your search engine content to get discovered more easily and receive reviews from users to get additional advertising at no cost.

Guest Posts

Engaging in guest posting on other websites and blogs can get your brand more exposure. This type of content marketing can increase audience reach in your niche or bring people interested in the industry to your company. They also provide the chance to create partnerships with other organizations, which may lead to more collaboration and promotional opportunities in the future. When creating copy for your guest posts, consider working with a content marketing company like CopyPress to deliver polished, SEO-friendly pieces for even better exposure.

Hashtags

Create a hashtag for your company on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. You can use this tag in your social media posts and so can loyal customers and new clients to increase brand recognition. Crafting posts that use other popular hashtags is another way to insert your brand into a trending conversation and reach a larger audience.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising exists online and offline. Online paid advertising may refer to pay-per-click (PPC) ads for search engines and other websites. Offline, it may refer to billboard ad space, television commercials, radio spots, or magazine and newspaper ads.

Public Relations

Public relations (PR) as a discipline refers to how the world as a whole, not just your customers or followers, views your brand or company. PR often promotes a positive brand image to gain favor for an organization. It’s also helpful when acknowledging and handling things like negative reviews or unsatisfied customers.

Social Media

Social media is a free or inexpensive online tool that can help you promote your brand right to the consumers. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are spaces to share photos, videos, and other advertisements. This method also provides the opportunity to capitalize on influencer marketing or work with well-known internet personalities to grow your exposure and audience.

Speaking Engagements and Webinars

Taking part in an online or offline panel discussion, seminar, webinar, or other speaking engagement can help you reach members of your target audience. These venues give chances to share your business values and expertise with the public. They also allow you to make meaningful connections with the people you hope to turn into clients or customers.

Sponsorships

There are all kinds of events, teams, and programs that look for sponsors and donations throughout the year. These opportunities usually come with the promise of recognition. For example, a little league baseball team may put your company name on the back of their jerseys as a sponsor.

Stickers

Adults and children alike enjoy stickers. They’re fun and easy to create, and you can often print them yourself. People can attach them to all kinds of things, like laptops or notebooks. This is a free, or relatively free, promotion for you, wherever customers take the items affixed with branded stickers.

Vehicle Decorations

Employees, freelancers, and others may promote your business using their vehicles. One type of vehicle decoration is wraps for company cars. This brands them with the business logo and contact information. Other options include window stickers, bumper magnets, bus ads, and sunshades. These options expose potential customers to your company in traffic, in parking lots, or during any type of road travel.

Website

A professional-looking website can be a promotional tool. It allows you to post your most up-to-date information, inventory, and other content. Even the smallest businesses can benefit from a single-page, simple website that contains information like the company hours and contact information.

Word of Mouth

According to Nielsen, 83% of people trust product and service recommendations from family and friends. Word-of-mouth advertising is when one person recommends a brand, product, or service to someone else. It’s free promotion, which helps your budget. To capitalize on it, provide great customer service that gets people discussing your brand positively. Online reviews can also serve as word-of-mouth marketing in a digital space.

How Does Business Promotion Work?

Promotion is necessary for businesses to attract customers. It’s what keeps companies in business and gaining revenue. But all businesses don’t use the same kinds or levels of promotion. This is because each one has its own unique needs. You can look at factors such as company size, store location, or customer and audience preference to determine those needs. New businesses, start-ups, and small businesses may go through a trial-and-error period to understand exactly which promotional styles work for them. This can include experimentation, testing, and research to create the right balance.

Once promotions circulate out in the public, their purpose is to show customers or potential customers how your business differs from your competitors. They can also show how choosing your company may be a better value. For example, a candy bar company may offer buy-one-get-one-free coupons to get two of their products for the price of one. This may be a better value than a competitor’s company that doesn’t provide similar incentives, and the coupon-providing company may gain a bigger customer base they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Should I Be Promoting My Business?

Yes, you should promote your business. Aside from the fact that without promotion you won’t have a business, there are other significant benefits, including:

  • Building customer loyalty
  • Finding partnership opportunities
  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Increasing customer traffic
  • Offering additional value to customers
  • Increasing sales and profit
  • Sharing important information with leads and consumers
  • Showing how your brand differs from the competition
  • Targeting the right audience

Business Promotion Strategy Fundamentals

Business promotion is one of the 4 P’s of marketing, along with price, products, and placement. A promotional strategy is a plan you create to get influence in the market and reap the benefits discussed in the previous section. There are four fundamentals of promotion, including:

  • Building awareness: This fundamental makes your target audience aware that your company, products, and services exist. It comes from identifying your ideal consumers and connecting with them through marketing messages and outreach.
  • Developing interest: Once you identify the audience, get them interested in what you provide. This means capturing their curiosity, providing value, displaying the differences between you and the competition, and nurturing new leads.
  • Creating demand: The availability of products and services isn’t enough to create conversions. Make people want—or better yet—need your products in their daily lives by using emotional language in your promotions and lead nurturing tactics.
  • Promoting action: Use calls-to-action (CTAs) to make your audience recognize not only that they need your products or services, but they can take action to gain them. Any place where you can make a conversion, such as your website, email, social media, or other advertising, is a good place to add a CTA.

Business Promotion Strategy Overview

Having a promotional strategy helps you navigate the path to reaching your marketing goals. Use these steps to help you create one for your organization:

1. Set Promotional Goals

Setting achievements for your promotion guides the strategy. The process can help you stay productive and make smarter choices when deciding which tactics work best for your business. Align the goals with your overall marketing strategies. Segment your goals into smaller, more achievable milestones to stay on track and adjust your promotion methods as the strategy progresses.

2. Create a Budget

Creating a balanced budget for promotions can help you invest in strategies that help you reach your goals. The budget determines which paid promotional method fits into your overall business plan. It can also help you determine how much labor and resources you need to meet each marketing goal.

3. Define the Target Market

Knowing exactly who you plan to target with your promotions can help you make smarter decisions. It can also save you money and help ensure you’re prioritizing efforts that reach the right people. Conduct a SWOT analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. This analysis can help you understand the value you offer currently and what you can improve. The information from the analysis gives details that lead you to the right demographics for your customer base.

4. Choose Promotion Types

Once you’ve done the research, you can pick promotion types that resonate with your audience and work with your budget. The first time you create a promotional strategy, you may enter a trial-and-error process to determine which ones work best. Make sure you select promotions that lend themselves to achieving your goals.

5. Incorporate Marketing Messages

Your marketing message is one of the most important parts of the promotion strategy. It gives the audience the information they need to understand why your company, product, or service meets their needs. It also explains the value and presents the call to action to get them to take the next step. You can develop a good marketing message by looking at the problems your audience needs solved and understanding how what you offer can fix them.

It’s also helpful to highlight how your product or service is better than the competitors or what makes it unique. You may change your marketing message depending on the promotional channels you use.

6. Build Your Promotion Schedule

Determine how and when you’re going to push your promotions to the public. This includes both in-person and digital calendars for content, events, and advertisements. Using a traditional calendar and scheduling tools can be a good way to visualize your promotion schedule as a whole. Research the best times to post content online so you can maximize your promotion abilities. You can also create urgency with your promotions by using emotional or otherwise engaging language to show limited-time offers or low stock.

7. Measure Your Efforts

The only way you can tell if your promotions are working is if you track their progress. Set metrics to track your goals and review milestones regularly. Collect as much data as possible to make sure you’re seeing the full picture of your promotions rather than just a small piece. This can tell you what’s working and what isn’t. Stay flexible with your plan and change the strategy in real-time if something isn’t working. This can get you closer to achieving goals and save you time and money.

Promotional Marketing Metrics

Tracking your performance and analyzing the results can help you develop better strategies. Here are some content promotion metrics you can track online to determine if your digital promotions are working to achieve your marketing goals:

  • Average time on page: The time a user spends on a specific web page during each visit
  • Backlinks: Hyperlinks that connect your website to another web page
  • Bounce rate: The percentage of visitors who log into and then leave your website without viewing other pages or browsing
  • Click-through rate: The percentage of users who visited your website and clicked a specific link
  • Comments: The number of responses, replies, or other instances where visitors provide feedback about your site, products, or content
  • Conversion rate: The percentage of users who complete a desired action, such as making a purchase
  • Cost per conversion: The price per ad space for each PPC ad that someone clicks on and takes them to your website within a certain period
  • Downloads: The number of times people transfer files or data from your internet repositories to their own devices
  • Email forwards: The number of times someone sends an email from you to another account
  • Engagement rate: Explains how much your audience engaged with your content through means like comments, clicks, likes, or shares
  • New subscribers: The number of new accounts that follow or subscribe to your content
  • New visitors: The number of new IP addresses that reach your website
  • Organic keywords: Keywords that help drive free traffic to a website through search engine optimization
  • Page views: The total number of times a specific website receives a visit or page refresh
  • Ranking position: The spot in which your website ranks on a search engine results page (SERP)
  • Referring domains: The source from where you receive backlinks
  • Returning visitors: The number of IP addresses reaching your site that have visited previously
  • Shares: The number of times someone took your content and passed it along to other people by adding it to their own page, tagging another account, or reposting it with credit
  • Traffic sources: Tell you from where your visits and traffic come, such as through search engines or paid or organic advertising
  • Unique visits: The number of single browsing sessions from original IP addresses for a website within a week
  • Unsubscribers: The number of accounts that opt-out from receiving further communication from your company that have received it in the past
  • Visits: The number of single browsing sessions for one website

In business, promotion can increase the visibility of your company or services. Finding the right promotional tactics for your organization and budget may take some experimentation. Once you have a plan, it can help expand your audience and gather more leads.

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