How to stand on a chair and wave a flag: 7 ways to promote your business
On the Independent Oxford blog today, Chris Baldwin from 7Kites Promotional Marketing, explores 7 ways to help indie businesses not only weather the pandemic, but reach new audiences and customers too.
7Kites is all about giving your business an advantage by helping you grab your customer’s attention. Chris works with indies to help them connect with customers through interactive promotional marketing techniques such as competitions, coupons, cash backs, guarantees. >>
It’s difficult to get your voice heard. There’s often someone else trying to get heard too, and while their message may be very similar to yours, it seems it’s you who has to put the extra effort in to get a share of the attention. One solution to this is to use visual signals too – wave a flag or stand on a chair (health and safety permitting!). Now you’re getting noticed. You’ve promoted yourself and people are engaging with you.
This is what promotional marketing does for your business. It creates engagement by earning you a bigger share of the attention. It means your business or product stands above your competitors, so we begin to influence your next customer’s footfall, mouse click or basket spend – it all depends on your objectives. And there are as many objectives as there are businesses.
I created 7Kites to help independent businesses make sense of it all, so it makes sense to look at the top 7 ways by which you can approach this:
- Encourage trial. You have a new product or perhaps you’re breaking into a new market with an existing one. Your biggest challenge is to get the customer to give it a try – but looking at it from their point of view, why should they? We need to remove as many risks for the customer as possible, and one of the primary ones has to be the purchase itself – or more specifically the “buy before I try”. In some circumstances you’ll be able to run free samples of what you do, but this isn’t always practical. But what we can do is show confidence in our product and offer a full refund if the consumer doesn’t like it. This offer works because it gets the product off the shelf and into the basket (virtual or otherwise), but very few people request a refund because, guess what, your product is as awesome as you say!
- Encourage repeat visits. Many promotional techniques are there to encourage customers to come back to you or your product multiple times over a period of time. Such offers might be where you are offering them gifts or special offer items in exchange for proof of multiple purchases over time (say 4 purchases over a 3-month period). Equally, we use instant win and prize draws to give customers a chance to win exciting prizes – the more they purchase, the greater their chance of winning. This is a great way to create an eye-catching headline offer, which often builds on your own brand values.
- Reward higher spend. Sometimes you might want to ask the customer to spend more each visit, or to buy more in your range of products and services. The bluntest instrument we have in this toolbox is the BOGOF (buy one get one free) but this devalues what you do and sales have been shown to fall below their pre-offer levels once the promotion ends. Instead, we can add value by offering gifts or rewards that enhance your brand. This might include vouchers for future purchase, storage boxes or membership to your own exclusive club.
- Increase awareness. Promotions can be put to good effect in conjunction with local PR, or by working with a well-known local brand or attraction. Using a relevant ‘win’ offer you can give someone the chance to be a coffee taster for the day, or a distiller, or chef. Or we could partner up with local cinemas, museums, transport providers to ensure the message reached a wider audience. Working with other brands really does create endless possibilities.
- Increase usage. Food and drink brands in particular have an opportunity to link up and create new and exciting recipes that expand the usage of each product beyond the everyday. Increased uses means increased usage and that means more sales, and new customers.
- Keep Social Media social. “Like, follow, share to win a bundle”. It’s a commonly used, and quite effective, method of spreading awareness of your brand. But too many accounts I see are using this simply to add followers. It’s so important to remember that Facebook and Instagram are about engagement, so you can have a two way conversation with your customer, or even better, your next customer.
- Keep it fun and fair. Promotional marketing is about engaging with your target market. That means you’re helping them to get to know you and trust you. So, it’s really important to make sure the offers you run are both fun and fair. There are many rules and laws within which promotional marketing operates; it’s worth taking the time to familiarise yourself with them. Or work with someone who already knows!
I set up 7Kites in 2019, after 15 years of running promotional marketing campaigns for global brands such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Carlsberg and Cineworld. I decided that I wanted to work more locally and challenged myself to apply the big brand experience to independent businesses where budgets have to work so much harder.
I love hearing the different stories direct from business owners, and together we find their sales and growth challenges and agree targets for measuring the success of what we do next. I build a range of solutions designed to address their specific business and the habits of their customers. Once these are agreed we plan realistic timescales to implement the activities and to evaluate their success.
For Indie Oxford members I’m offering a 45 minute review of their sales challenges with a written outline of promotional concepts to consider – all free of charge and without obligation. Just contact me on chris.baldwin@7Kites.co.uk