No matter how good your new product or service, it won't fly off the shelves unless you promote it properly. Here are ten of the best ways to promote your offer to your existing customer base and to a wider audience
1. Promote your offer on Google My Business
Google My Business helps small firms and retailers get found when people are searching on Google for products and services in their area. But this is not just a tool to give your business a pin on a Google map - you can use Google My Business to share news, promote new offers and flag up events. Just go to the dashboard in your Google My Business account and create a social post using one of the four options - Offers, Updates, Events and Products.
2. Run an event
A simple open house will allow you to promote a new product or offer in person and it does not need to cost a lot. If you want to reach out to a wider audience, virtual events are the way to go. You could organise a Facebook Live session to run a product demonstration or to host a Q&A. Don’t forget that your existing customers are the most likely to buy your new offer, so make them feel valued by telling them about your event in advance and giving them VIP access to any events you are holding.
3. Give away samples
If you are launching a new product in your shop or adding a new dish to the menu in your café, a great way to raise awareness and boost sales is to offer people the chance to try before they buy. Everyone loves the chances to pick up a free sample or try something new. Freebies can also be a great way to spread word of mouth recommendations about your business.
4. Run a sales promotion
Special offers, vouchers, Buy One Get One Free (BOGOF) - promotions like these can be incredibly popular and they needn’t cost the earth. Vouchers or coupons can be a great way to reward loyal customers as well as attracting new customers. As long as you protect your margins, you can make money from strategic sales promotions when you need to shift stock. Offering discounts can also be effective for service-based businesses that may have slow periods to fill. Once you’ve introduced your service to a new audience, many of these customers will come back and they’ll also tell their friends.
5. Run a competition on social media
Running a social media competition is a great way to engage your audience, boost followers and, ultimately, sell more of your products and services. Competitions are a popular promotional technique on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You’ll need to think of a prize and devise a simple competition mechanic that will attract the most entries. Options include photo, video or caption competitions; a simple sweepstake competition is the easiest of all.
6. Reach out on email
Email is a vital part of any marketing strategy and response rates to promotional emails can be high. If you already send a regular email newsletter to your customers, make sure you flag up your new product or promotion, include a compelling image, a call to action and a link to the appropriate page on your website. To get the best response, however, it is a good idea to send a dedicated email about the offer with a specific subject line that recipients will find hard to resist.
7. Make friends with other businesses
Affiliate marketing means teaming up with another business whose products or services attract similar customers to yours. You agree to promote their new offer, while they promote yours. The best affiliate marketing works when businesses share the same customer base. If you run a wedding venue, for example, you could promote your business in conjunction with wedding photographers, cake makers and car hire services.
8. Get your staff to evangelise for you
Your people can make or break your marketing campaigns. If you’ve got a new offer to promote, brief your employees fully about the benefits of the new product or service and encourage everyone - not just salespeople - to tell customers and other contacts in their networks.
9. Get coverage in the press
A new product, a promotion or an event is often news-worthy. Write a press release that will grab the attention of local journalists and give them the information, quotes and images they need to write a great story. Journalists are often inundated with requests for publicity so always follow up with a phone call to see if they need more information. And don’t forget to invite members of the press from local publications, radio and TV to any event you’re holding.
10. Run an ad on Facebook
If you think that your business is too small to advertise on social media sites, think again. Of the ten million businesses that have advertised on Facebook, the majority are SMEs. The beauty of advertising on sites like Facebook and Instagram is that you can target very specific audiences with your promotion, including by gender, age, location and interests. You can control your advertising costs by setting a budget and you can start, stop and pause your ads at any time.