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10 Promotional Marketing Ideas For Small Businesses
So you are a small businesses or work for one and you feel you're being marginalised by the big boys in the field. They have massive budgets to do fancy ads on social media and in search, the produced content regularly, they offer promotions and free delivery and have a strong brand that you feel consumers would prefer over yours. You're doing a bit of marketing and receive a slow and steady pace of traffic but they don't seem to be converting as fast as you would like. Then it's time to step it up and do some smart promotional marketing.
Promotional marketing can be just the tool to drive conversions, wake up lazy traffic, provide a welcomed traffic spike and reach new eyes. It needs to be done carefully and strategically so you can ensure maximum ROI and avoid promoting saturation which is the problem many eCommerce sites face today. So how do you promote your businesses without being put too badly out of pocket? Here are a few ideas on how to promote your businesses when budgets are tight.
1. Make alternative versions of your content
Requires: No budget
When you're creating content, try to create variations of the format and to maximise reach and amplify the effectiveness of your content. For example, once you've created a blog post, create additional image assets for your social media posts, email template ready to send, video content for Youtube, an audio file for a podcast, a short or live video for Periscope and Snapchat and finally infographics for Pinterest. Get used to briefing a full set of marketing collateral across all mediums and channels when applicable and make the most out of every topic you create content for.
2. Host a challenge
Requires: Limited budget budget
Hosting a challenge, like getting users to visit your site and find a hidden item, share content, comment on a post, review a product, create a short video and hashtag it can all be great ways to get attention. Especially with the use of social media, you can use challenges to not only host challenges but amplify their reach. Engage your user base in a constructive way and get them to visit your site and engage with your content in a unique or different way. While the mechanism itself may not require a budget, offering up incentives or sponsoring content via social media to get eyes on your site may require a bit of budget.
3. Create bundled versions
Requires: No budget
Look at products that can be used together, frequently used together, wanting to up-sell or a slow seller with a product that turns volumes and combine them into bundles. Bundles offer an additional level of exclusivity and personalisation. Being able to promote a product bundle exclusive to your customers, or to say it's exclusive to your store is a great draw card to push via promotional messaging.
4. Host a flash sale
Cutting into your margins or completely removing your margins completely for short period of time, from a few hours to a day can prove a great way to drive a massive surge in traffic, sales, gain new eyes and new customers you can market and remarket to later. When using the flash sale mechanism you should ensure to maximise your gains and try to drive ROI. Look to recover lost margin with either new lead generation or repeat purchases. Since flash sales are time sensitive, it's always worthwhile putting some budget behind paid ads to drive as many users to your site as possible within this short window.
5. Have promotional material or businesses cards made
Creating physical promotional material like business cards, business flyers, USB drives, pens, books, or t-shirts are a great way to keep long lasting brand reminders with users and drive direct traffic from offline efforts. The great thing about physical promotional material is that you can create them in bulk at lower costs and slowly distribute them to staff, clients, referral leads and for cold leads. Make sure your promotional material has your websites logo and URL present in plain site, so users can associate your logo, products and services with the URL, reminding them that you are first service provider they think about when in need of those products or services.
6. Host a giveaway
Giving away prizes is always a hit with your fan base. You could use it to revitalise your current social media fan base and email subscriber base or as a driver to recruit new users to these platforms.
Protip! Hosting a giveaway and using vouchers for your site as a prize encourages the winner to return to the site, spend their money with you. Earn a loyal customer and hopefully a future brand ambassador.
7. Give out exclusives to your email list
Requires: No budget
Email marketing has the potential to drive one of the best ROI's of any other channel, well apart from organic search. Showcasing the value of subscribing to your email database and encouraging users from your more expensive channels to subscribe will help build a healthier and stronger database. Migrating users to email also aid paid channels by allowing you to exclude these people from future paid advertising so you can spend those advertising Rands correctly by targeting new leads.
8. Encourage amplification
Requires: Limited budget
Amplifying your content can be done in several ways, paid amplification via social channels or via PR initiatives and while this can be used to effectively broaden reach it may not carry the ROI you're aiming for. Users realise this type of amplification is a brand message, however, subtle you may be, however when a fellow user amplifies content that is when people take not.
Taking advantage of users social circles and leveraging them as a referral point can give your exposure with purpose. This can be done by offering products to unbox, asking users to review your site and services, provide testimonials, produce content pieces for your site and having them share it to their network, using their voice to reach new customers is a smart way of pushing your brand at little or no cost.
9. Create a hashtag trend
Requires: No budget
Hashtags have been made popular by various social media channels over the past few years and are a gateway for many users to find and categorise relevant content. Creating or owning a hashtag that you use constantly can help peak interests on social media. It could be your brand term or a play on a popular hashtag. As your posts reach the outer limits of social media and users see the hashtag more often they are more inclined to explore further, lead them down this rabbit hole and back to your brand.
Protip! Hashtags are becoming increasingly popular in search, with the rise in queries such as what does #WCW mean? If you own your own hashtag make sure you have a page or blog post about the hashtag where it originated from and why you use it, to capture any search traffic around the topic.
10. Create a rewards or merit system
Requires: Limited Budget
Creating a rewards system can seem a bit out of ones reach especially for small businesses with a database of a few 100 to 1000 people, but it doesn't mean it won't hold any merit. Being the innovater and offering things users wouldn't get anywhere else is what will set you apart and keep customers coming back and staying loyal. For example setting up a crude rewards system for users who have made 2 or more purchases, thanking them and providing a discount on their next purchase.
They may not use their 3rd purchase for themselves since and may even use it for a friend and you may even earn referral customers. You could encourage users who are on the fringes, for example make your second purchase this month and get a discount on your 3rd purchase valid for 2 or 3 months. Ramping up the frequncy of returning users and repeat purchases over a short period of time.
Now that you have some idea of how to promote your products and services on a small budget. Which one of these strategies do you think would work for your business? Let us know in the comments below
If you want to know more about promotional marketing don’t be shy we’re happy to assist. Simply contact us here