Promotional strategies to grow your business.
BOGOF. Buy one get one free. It may be crude, but it works. However this brutal supermarket-style discount offer has given promotions a bad name.
Consequently many small to medium sized businesses shy away from the idea of doing promotions as they are perceived as too crude for their type of business and also believe they will damage or cheapen their brand and adversely effect their business and reputation.
But this is not the case at all. Promotions can be good for your brand and your business if done correctly and with your customer in mind.
Assuming the mass market, hit ‘em hard strategies such as BOGOF, x% free, two for the price of one “special” etc are just not right or viable for you. What else can you do to create a promotion?
In short there are many other strategies that you can use, but I want to share one particular on with you that is perfect for small to medium sized businesses.
Before you launch into doing a promotion, you need to understand what is the purpose of your promotion. Now that may seem obvious and as simple as “I want to increase sales”, which is obviously true, but a good promotion can have greater long term benefits that can enhance your brand and positioning in your marketplace and build better customer relationships.
The point is that a promotion gives you an opportunity to engage and communicate with your audience in a positive way and offer something of increased value and benefit to them. That is why it’s important to get away from the idea of promotion = money off and more that promotion = enhanced customer offer.
So whilst the BOGOF type of strategy can no doubt have a big impact during the promotion, you also need to consider what will happen to your business when the promotion stops. In many cases this can actually create a real dip in sales to below normal levels.
However for the larger brands in supermarkets the aim is to use the promotion to change or influence longer term buying habits.
So existing brand loyal customers will actually consume more of their product and previous customers will be tempted back to the brand (albeit short term) and the brand will be tried by a new raft of customers who’ve been incentivised by the promotion.
The net result is not only a short term spike in sales, but also the development of longer term sales through new buying and consuming habits. However unless you have very good profit margins, this type of strategy is just not viable or practical both in the short term and longer term.
But running a promotion does not have damage your bottom line. There are many ways you can create a promotion for your customers and prospects that doesn’t cost you anything and in some case can actually increase your margin.
So here’s an alternative strategy that I’ve found works really well, that will enhance your brand, give you market presence – and cost you nothing.
The super easy, no cost promotion.
This is a great strategy that can be done at little or no cost to you but will enhance your brand and your offer. It’s the JV (Joint Venture) promotion.
This is how it works. First you need to identify your Joint Venture partner(s). So take a look both your suppliers to your business and also think about what type of businesses might benefit from a little more exposure to your customers.
After all for this type of promotion there needs to be something in it for everyone; yourself, your JV partner and your customers and prospects.
For example if your business was an estate agents, you might want to do a joint venture promotion with a firm of solicitors or maybe even a gardening or cleaning services company. In both cases these business could benefit from some access to your customers in providing them with a potential new client.
The next step is to create a package or offer that connects your business or offering with that of your JV partner. This needs to be of real value to your customers. And as it is your JV partner who will be benefitting from access to your customers then it is your JV partner who will be offering or giving away something for you to offer to your customers and prospects.
For example back to the Estate Agents. You could JV with a solicitors and offer a free legal consultation or JV with a gardening services business who offer a free garden design service.
The point being that your promotion needs to have a real benefit for your customer and offer your JV partner an opportunity to gain a new long term client.
The benefit for your business is not necessarily that the promotion itself will make the sale, but that you’ve created a point of difference from your competition, you are offering real value to your customers, your brand is enhanced, you have a reason to speak to and communicate with your customers and prospects,
And it costs you nothing!
With this type of promotional strategy you could find a new JV partner every month if you wanted to, creating fresh communication opportunities. All of which provide more value to your customers and enhance your brand and reputation for delivering value.
So what are you waiting for!