Promotions can be an effective way to build your business. A good promotion creates buzz and can help bring in new clients or introduce your regular clients to new services. A great promotion allows you to do the same without costing your bottom line.
But a mistake many of us make is that we don’t devote enough time and thought to designing our marketing strategy and planning out our promotions over the course of the year. We get caught up running our business and leave planning of promotions to the last minute, which can lead to lost opportunities and promos that just aren’t effective.
A little bit of planning goes a long way. Set aside some time to lay out your marketing plan and plan out your promotions for the next year. Identify promo opportunities, such as holidays, local events, and specific times of the year, that might otherwise slip through the cracks if you wait until the last minute. Having a plan in place allows you to maximize your resources and gives you more lead-time to design effective promotions. Creating a plan also gives you the opportunity to revisit it regularly to review what is and is not working and then make changes to improve it.
This is also a great time to involve your staff. Utilize their creativity & expertise when putting together the plan. Successful promos will come from having a staff that not only understands the purpose behind why the promotion is being offered, but also feels like they had a stake in coming up with the ideas.
Here are three key things to think about when planning promotions.
What is the purpose of this promotion?
Promotions can have a number of purposes depending on the needs of your business at any given time. Targeting the focus of your promos allows you to drive your customers to do what you want them to do. The most common reasons to have a promotion are to:
- bring in new business
- create value incentives
- feature a person, product, or service
- boost business during slow hours, days, or months
Who is your audience?
Knowing your audience allows you to tailor the promotion to meet their needs and expectations.
- Are you offering this promotion to your entire email list or just to a select group like your VIPs?
- Perhaps you are looking to bring in new business
Figuring out your target audience allows you to design a promotion that fits their wants while fulfilling your business needs.
What is the incentive?
Incentive is the piece of your promotion that encourages your audience to do something. In this case, it is to take advantage of your promotion. The most common incentives are:
- Price savings – offering a service for a discounted amount or bundling it into a package deal
- Value-added offers – offering add-ons to a purchase, such as extra services or a gift with purchase
- Coupons – a percentage or dollar discount
When considering the incentive, be sure to take into account how the incentive will affect your bottom line. A successful promotion has an incentive that makes both the client and you winners.
So you’ve created & run what you hoped was a successful promotion and now it’s over. Now is the time to you go back and evaluate the effectiveness of your promo. Some questions to ask:
- Did the promo successfully meet the purpose?
- Did we get the expected response from our target audience?
- Did the promo bring in more money than it cost to run?
This is the perfect opportunity to figure out what worked and what didn’t work and use that information when creating future promotions.
By taking some time to create a marketing plan, and then devoting just a little bit of time on an on-going basis to evaluate and update that plan, you are setting yourself up to run successful promotions designed to help you grow a successful business.