Does the economic crunch mean that we cut our promotion budget short? That’s the absolute mistake that some businesses make while their competitors increase their promotions and take the market share away. But the nagging question is, how can you continue or increase promotions when our promotional budget is plunging?
Promote your Brand – Everything, Everywhere all the Time
This is as brilliant an idea as overboard it might sound in the beginning. Remember studying IBC in business school? Yes, Integrated Brand Communication is what has to be implemented as much as possible. Brand everything that is exposed to current and potential customers and business partners. Emails, letters, faxes, stationary items, visiting cards, parcel even the vehicles driven by the company’s employees! Communicate through them the things that you want other to know about your business’s brand(s).
People have grown wary of advertising. And publicity, which comes at a lesser cost, is much more effective. Try doing something that makes media cover your business in a positive light. For example, once IKEA set up a small ‘home’ in a field and had announced that everything in that home including the sofas, beds, décor, etc. could be taken away by the public. This drew both a very huge crowd’s and media’s attention too. Also, try to do something that gets you invited to TV and Radio shows or mentioned in a newspaper article.
What does your business’s presence on the web cost? Not much really.
The era of outbound marketing is gone and you’ve entered the age of inbound marketing. In 2011 81% of businesses in the US said that Facebook was ‘important’ or ‘crucial’ for their business promotion. Hence, try to penetrate the web as much as possible because that’s where most of the people on the planet spend their time. Here are a few avenues on the web you absolutely have to have your presence at:
- Your own website – regulary updated along with a blog if appropriate
- Facebook page/group
iii. Youtube channel
- Connection with industry related bloggers
- Presence on websites of industry specific communities/associations
Remember, keeping your presence updated is absolutely essential. It is better to be totally absent from a platform than be there and be irresponsive.
Word of Mouth
‘Free goodies’ attracts people like no other – once the genuineness of the offer is established. If you are launching a brand, nothing works better than free samples. But remember to engage the receiver of the free stuff in some way so that he/she has some fun tale to tell his/her friends, peers, family, etc.
Ever had Oreo McFlurry? Yes, you’ve gotten the point. In this age of cut throat competition, interdependence is what businesses are opting for. Even corporate giants today are collaborating with competitors! You at least can collaborate with a business that compliments yours. E.g. if you sell staplers, you can have an arrangement with a stapler pin brand!
Eva has been helping small and medium businesses with their promotional activities. Andrew works for Custom Gear, a branding agency that helps businesses reach more customers using cheap and high quality promotional materials.