You may have the greatest product ever, but if you don’t tell the world about it with a well-crafted promotions plan, it will sit on the shelves collecting dust until the day comes when you finally have to close down your business. Remember: you know what is great about your business because that belief in its greatness drove you to create it in the first place. However, the rest of the world is probably not thinking about you and what you have to offer. So you have to tell them and you have to tell them in a way that makes them wait outside your business in the long lines, wanting what you have to offer.
Many small businesses shy away from promotions. They think they can’t compete with the advertising, public relations, and promotions budgets of their larger competitors. But in truth a good promotion strategy and implementation does not have to be expensive. And if you stay focused and create a clear plan, it doesn’t have to be time-consuming either.
First, develop a strategy. This should be included in your business plan. Here are the steps to developing a strong and clear promotional strategy:
Identify your target buyer
Consider what kind of customer you want to do business with and the kind of audience your product or service will appeal to. Take into account demographic (i.e. age, gender, location, marital status), lifestyle (i.e. athletes, club goers, outdoor enthusiasts) and psychographics (i.e. personality traits and emotions that affect buying decisions) information. In other words, imagine who would want what you’re selling and develop a plan that would appeal to them.
Make Them Want What You Have to Offer
Distinguish your product or service from all the rest. This has to be meaningful and accurate, otherwise you will lose credibility with your consumers. First you will need to know what features, benefits and brand attributes your target buyers consider when making a purchase. For example, if you are a local nursery, your target buyers might take into account return policies on plants that don’t survive, quality of the plants you have in store and availability of informed people who can assist them with plant choices and directions for caring for the plants.
Create a strategy and make it clear
Write down who your target buyers are, what your competitive environment is, and what distinguishes you from the pack. The fancy phrase for this is your “positioning strategy statement.” You must develop a consistent message, look, and feel in all of your promotional campaigns.
Think about the personality of your business in relationship to your target buyers. Is it a young, hip, friendly, casual environment? Or is it a more reserved, traditional and slightly more conservative environment? These characteristics will inform the look, feel and tone of your business, as well as promotions.
Create a strong and memorable message that impacts your target buyers
This can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Think about your business value proposition (BVP). If you have clearly identified the unique features and benefits of your product/service that truly matter to your target buyers, you will be well on your way. Take this information and brainstorm potential slogans, keywords in all marketing messages, and visual images that correspond to your BVP.
Consider your budget and tighten accordingly
When promoting your products, services, and business, there may never seem to be enough money. However, remember that not all promotion costs money. Creating a mix between word-of-mouth, customer referral programs, public relations, and advertising will save you a lot of money. Imagination and relationship building are the keys.
If you’re looking for an experienced business advisor and CPA to help you craft the perfect promotions strategy, call Williams & Kunkel CPAs today in Flower Mound at 972-446-1040 to have a chat.
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