Raising awareness and generating demand for your company's offerings is key to both its success and survival, and should be a top priority for any entrepreneur. After all, you could have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows that it exists, then you will never make any sales.
Therefore, knowing how to promote your business is vital. A successful marketing strategy enables potential customers to learn about your mission and your products, influencing their buying decision and allowing you to build a consumer base.
Fortunately, in today's world, there is an array of online, offline, traditional and innovative methods with which to advertise your small business; in this article, we will take a look at some of the most effective ones.
Digital - or online - marketing has exploded in the last decade, with larger numbers of consumers spending an ever-increasing amount of time in the digital realm. Therefore, your online marketing strategy is arguably your most important. Here are some of the ways that you can reach potential customers online:
A dedicated business website can act as the first point of reference and contact for your potential customers. In addition to detailing the basic information about your business, your site can also feature dedicated landing pages for periodical promotions, product releases and company news.
Of course, if you have the correct website infrastructure, you can also market and sell your products directly. Perhaps the best use of a business website, though, is that you can utilise a company blog to target keywords and build your domain authority (DA). This will help you to develop a significant presence in Google's search results and allow you to gain access to a much wider audience.
Social media is a powerful promotional tool that can be utilised to reach specific consumer groups relevant to your business. Company social media profile pages can share product information and updates frequently, and feature static images as well as video content to capture attention.
Facebook, in particular, allows you to launch adverts, promote sales, and list any upcoming company events for users to interact with. You can even utilise Facebook Live to live stream video content to your Facebook audience – an especially engaging promotional tactic that gives your customers an intimate insight into product production, events behind the scenes, company interviews and more.
Another valuable social media platform for business, LinkedIn is particularly useful for B2B promotion. With a corporate approach to professional networking and recruitment, this platform offers companies the opportunity to foster discussions around their organisational beliefs and approach, and attract the attention of potential new hires.
LinkedIn Ads also allow business owners to tailor who sees their paid ads, using factors such as location, industry, job title or interests. This makes it straightforward to ensure that customised advertising and marketing content will reach the appropriate corporate decision-makers, as required by targeted promo campaigns.
Social media powerhouse Instagram relies heavily on attractive imagery to capture the attention of its users, which is particularly useful for businesses that offer products, services or experiences that are visually stimulating and exciting.
Using high-quality images to build your profile feed is a foolproof way to promote your business via this platform. In addition, companies can launch promoted ads with targeted calls to action, leverage engaging Instagram stories, and interact with users and other brands to squeeze the most out of this hugely popular app.
Video content has the power to attract substantial engagement from online audiences across multiple consumer groups and age categories. For this reason, curating and publishing video material is an essential step in promoting and marketing your company to today's audiences.
Conveniently, videos published on YouTube can also be embedded into posts shared on your company website or other social media platforms, making it a time-worthy and effective promotion method.
Google advertising can be leveraged to reach targeted audiences online, either by showing prospective consumers customised ads on platforms and sites that they are most likely to view (Display Ads), or by offering them sponsored suggestions in the results of their Google searches (AdWords).
A more specific method of digital promotion, Google's advertising platform offers business owners the opportunity to reach unprecedented audience sizes. Indeed, Google facilitates over two trillion searches per year, many of which include questions or requests that could be solved by your company's product or service.
If, through your business, you have identified some interesting insights about your customers' behaviour, or your industry in general, then it might be worth sharing your findings with other media outlets.
Companies can circulate news or statements to online media outlets by releasing press releases, which are then republished or referenced. Such attention and discussion around research, company updates, new initiatives, promotions and product releases can significantly elevate your brand's PR status with online audiences.
Although online marketing is growing massively, this doesn't mean that the offline space is dead. Indeed, the most successful organisations pursue marketing campaigns across both mediums, with offline marketing still proving a hugely valuable promotion strategy. Here are some of the ways you can leverage the non-digital space:
Newspaper and Magazine Ads
Depending on the targeted consumer groups relevant to your business, print advertising can be hugely beneficial to your promotion strategy. As with online media, print outlets can offer detailed statistics on the demographics of their readers, helping companies reach the right audience, consumers and prospects with print ads.
By using a combination of captivating text and design, these ads can help to drive awareness and generate demand among readers. Perceived to be highly credible compared to other advertising options, particularly when placed within reputable publications that are familiar to readers, this more traditional form of promotion can work to complement additional digital marketing activities.
Sometimes simple brand exposure is more important than targeted marketing, and advertising on billboards is a fantastic way to achieve this goal. By their definition, billboards are hard to miss, especially if they are located next to busy roads or in large public spaces, such as train stations. Also, unlike radio, TV, print or digital ads, they cannot be skipped, closed or dismissed by viewers.
Television Adverts and Placements
Another form of mass-advertising, companies can purchase slots on television networks in order to promote and market themselves. Spanning from as little as seven seconds to over a minute long, advertising spots can target particular demographics when aired during programmes that are viewed by these consumers. For example, if your target audience is males aged 18-25, then purchasing an advertising spot during a football match might be a wise investment.
Businesses can also pay for placements incorporated into the television programmes themselves (a practice known as product placement). Differing from traditional adverts, these placements can remind viewers of your brand's products or services, and encourage a positive or exciting association with them depending on the scenario chosen. Strong – and high-profile – examples of this include Manolo Blahnik shoes in the HBO series Sex and the City, Twinkies in the 2009 horror-comedy Zombieland, and Aston Martin's ongoing association with the James Bond franchise.
An often undervalued form of offline promotion, radio advertising relies on the attention of commuters, families and individuals, predominantly during scheduled and repeated trips in the car or on public transport.
Because of their audio-only nature, business owners can focus on developing direct, engaging, easy-to-understand audio ads, without having to consider complex additional design or video elements.
Flyers & Traditional Mail
Traditional mail should not be readily dismissed when formulating your promotion strategy. Tangible, printed marketing materials delivered to consumers' homes are almost guaranteed to be viewed directly by those individuals if only to discern the origin of the flyer and its primary messaging.
In the few seconds that people will devote to skimming over such mail, brands have the opportunity to capture customer attention and drive action. Adding a unique coupon or discount offer, utilising exciting design, and adding direct messaging, for example, make readers more likely to take action based on the content of the printed material.
Effectively promoting your business can be the difference between its success and failure, both in the short term and long term. Therefore, you should evaluate the marketing and advertising needs of your business and create a strategy to meet these requirements. By utilising a combination of online and offline methods, you can reach targeted consumer audiences, develop brand reputation, publicise your product portfolios and company offerings, and – ultimately – see a positive impact on sales as a result.
What other ways can you promote your business in 2020 and beyond? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!